The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Colloquium 10/15 - Emily Clem (UCSD)

Speaker: Emily Clem (UCSD)
Title: Switch-reference in Amahuaca: Syntactic and semantic implications
Time: Friday, October 15th, 3:30pm – 5pm
Location: Zoom (but those on campus can gather in 32-155 to attend the talk together)

Abstract: In this talk, I explore switch-reference constructions in Amahuaca (Panoan; Peru). I argue that the high attachment site of adjunct switch-reference clauses has interesting consequences for modeling both the syntax and semantics of these constructions. In terms of syntax, the challenge that arises is how to model a dependency between a head in the switch-reference clause and a matrix pivot argument in the absence of c-command. On the semantic front, I demonstrate that adjunct switch-reference clauses are used to form propositional attitude reports. The fact that attitude reports involve adjunction rather than complementation raises issues for analyses that assume that attitude verbs compose with complements that denote propositions. I propose an analysis that is able to overcome these challenges by leveraging the predictions of existing models and I discuss the theoretical implications.