Linguistics Colloquium: Todd Snider

25/12/2018 - 14:00 - 15:30

Todd Snider, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Title: Introducing Propositional Discourse referents

Abstract: Karttunen 1969 investigated what things introduce (individual) discourse referents---things that can be referred to anaphorically, for example by pronouns. He noted, for instance, that the NP a car is available for anaphoric reference by a pronoun in a sentence like (1), but not under sentential negation in a sentence like (2).

(1)    Lucy has a car. It is blue.
(2) # Lucy doesn't have a car. It is blue.

In this talk, I do the same for propositional discourse referents, to see when a proposition conveyed by a sentence is available for anaphoric reference. We already know that the same generalization made in Karttunen 1969 for the introduction of individual discourse referents can't be right for propositions, because of sentences like (3) (cf. Krifka 2013). Even though the proposition 'Lucy has a car' is under sentential negation, it is still available for anaphoric reference by the pronoun that in the following sentence.

(3) Lucy doesn't have a car. She tells people that, though.

In this talk, I introduce two existing approaches to the issue of propositional discourse referent introduction---one syntactic, one discursive---, and then present English data which challenges both accounts. I then propose a novel generalization---a semantic one---, and briefly sketch one way to formally model this generalization.


Place: Building 507 room 106


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