The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Minicourse 5/8, 5/10: Yoad Winter (Utrecht University)

Speaker: Yoad Winter, Utrecht University
Title: The Semantics of Reciprocity
Time: Monday, May 8, 1-2:30pm and Wednesday, May 10, 1-2.30pm
Location: 32-D461
This mini-course overviews the cross-linguistic semantics of reciprocity. We start from the semantics of reciprocal operators (‘each other’), and concentrate on the adaptive approach to their meaning emanating from (Dalrymple et al. 1998). After that introduction, we focus on reciprocal predicates (‘meet’, ‘hug’, ‘friend’), their effects on logical symmetry (Rxy=Ryx), and interactions with theories of concepts. We will introduce an experimentally-based typicality model that accounts for the lexical semantic generalizations about reciprocal predicates and their different theta roles. Further, we characterize lexical and grammatical in Romance languages, showing that Romance exhibits reciprocity phenomena similar to English, despite their silent expression under SE clitics that also serve other arity reduction processes besides reciprocity (reflexivity, anti-causativity). The role of SE as a marker rather than a reciprocal operator is uncovered through this analysis.