The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LF Reading Group 4/28 - Tanya Bondarenko (MIT)

Speaker: Tanya Bondarenko (MIT)
Title: The dual life of embedded CPs: evidence from Russian čto-clauses
Time: Wednesday, April 28th, 1pm – 2pm

Abstract: With data from Russian, I argue that some embedded CPs are predicates whose meaning depends on the argument that they modify: they specify propositional Content if their argument has it (Kratzer 2006, Moulton 2015, a.o.), but if their argument is a situation without Content, they indicate that this situation exemplifies the embedded proposition (Kratzer 2007). The evidence comes from čto-clauses, which can combine with both content nouns (Cont-DPs) like mysl’ ‘thought’, and with situation nouns (Sit-DPs) like slučaj ‘event’:

Lene prišla v golovu mysl’ [čto belki sjeli vse orexi]
to.Lena arrived in head thought COMP squirrels ate all nuts
‘Lena had a thought that squirrels ate all the nuts.’

Na prošloj nedele byl slučaj [čto belki sjeli vse orexi]
on last week was event COMP squirrels ate all nuts
‘Last week there was an event of squirrels eating all the nuts.’

I provide arguments that the CPs are modifiers of the nouns in (1) and (2), but that despite being morphosyntactically identical, they do not receive the same interpretation. One implication of this proposal is that embedded finite CP clauses do not always create intensional contexts.