The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LFRG 10/7 - Rick Nouwen

WHO: Rick Nouwen
WHAT: The projection of appositives
WHEN: Friday 7 October, 1:00PM-2:30PM
WHERE: 32-D831

Nominal appositives (NAs) have non-trivial projection behaviour. For instance, Wang et al. 2005 observed that while NAs are normally interpreted with widest scope, the nominal appositive in (1) restricts the if-clause. This reading is unavailable with an appositive relative in that same position.

(1) If a professor, a famous one, writes a book, he will earn a lot of money.

I discuss a potential approach to the projection behaviour of NAs that on a syntactic and semantic level is identical to Schlenker’s 2010 proposal for non-restrictive relative clauses, but which differs with respect to pragmatic conditions. In a nutshell, what accounts for the complex projection behaviour is that nominal appositives have flexible syntactic attachment, are interpreted as conjuncts with an e-type subject pronoun and prefer wide-scope interpretations.