The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LF Reading Group 9/5 - Tanya Bondarenko (MIT)

Speaker: Tatiana Bondarenko (MIT)
Title: Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten 2016, 2017: Building attitudes in Navajo and beyond
Date and time: Wednesday, September 05, 1-2 pm
Location: 32-D461
In this talk, I will present Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten’s work on attitude reports of belief and desire in Navajo. Navajo presents an interesting case of expressing several attitudes – think, want, and wish – with one verb: nízin. Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten shows that there is a correlation between the shape of the complement clause and the attitude expressed. She argues against an analysis where nízin is lexically ambiguous, and also against an analysis where nízin has underspecified meaning that is dependent on the context. In her work she argues that this verb denotes situations of general mental attitude, and that this attitude is constrained by the embedded (modal) material. This analysis suggests that sentences with nízin present a limiting case within the landscape predicted by Kratzer’s (2006,2013) and Moulton’s (2009) analysis of English and German attitude reports and verbs of saying. In the end of the talk, I will show some data from Barguzin Buryat, which also has a verb (hanaxa) that can express several attitudes, including think and want, and I will briefly compare it to Navajo’s nízin.