The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LingLunch 11/7 - Patrick Elliott (MIT) and Uli Sauerland (Harvard/ZAS)

Speaker: Patrick Elliott (MIT) and Uli Sauerland (Harvard/ZAS)
Title: Nuclear intervention: towards a unified account of weak islands and Beck-effects
Time: Thursday, November 7th, 12:30pm – 2pm
Location: 32-D461

Abstract: Cross-linguistically, negation gives rise to intervention effects with scope-marking and wh-in-situ. Prominent analyses attempt to explain this phenomenon in terms of alternative/inquisitive semantics (see, e.g., Beck 2006, Kotek 2017). This approach works well for intervenors which are clearly focus-sensitive, such as “only”, but for negation, it is stipulative (see, e.g., Mayr 2014 for critical discussion). In this talk we develop an alternative account which aims to unify intervention by negation with weak island effects. The analysis relies on the following assumptions: (i) scope-marking and wh-in-situ compose via the cyclic scope mechanisms proposed by, e.g., Dayal (1996) and Charlow (2017), (ii) Dayal’s Maximal Informativity presupposition (MaxInf) is checked locally at the question nucleus – crucially, it is blind to the wh-restrictor.