Archive | December 2012

January 16: Two LUSH talks

14:00 – 15:30 Ileana Paul (University of Western Ontario):
                      Number neutrality and telicity in Malagasy
15:30 – 15:45 break
15:45 – 17:15 Floris Roelofsen (University of Amsterdam):
                      Assertions and polar questions: default and non-default cases


Location:  LEIDEN, Lipsius, room 235B

ABSTRACTS:


Ileana Paul (University of Western Ontario): Number neutrality and telicity in Malagasy
It has long been acknowledged that direct objects play a role in aspectual interpretation (Verkuyl 1972, Dowty 1979) and that this interaction varies across languages. In languages such as English, bare plurals and mass noun direct objects give rise to atelic interpretations of verb phrases and are incompatible with inherently telic predicates (e.g. eat up). In languages such as Chinese and Japanese, where nouns are unmarked for number (number neutral), bare noun objects are interpreted as singular in telic contexts, but remain number neutral in atelic contexts. This article presents data from Malagasy that show that bare nouns retain their number neutral interpretation, even in telic contexts. It is argued that the availability of the number neutral reading is due to the fact that all telic verbs are achievements in Malagasy (see Travis 2010). Achievements (unlike accomplishments) allow bare plural and mass noun objects in English (see Rothstein 2004). The implications for the different aspectual classes in Malagasy will also be examined.


Floris Roelofsen (University of Amsterdam): Assertions and polar questions: default and non-default cases
We first characterize default assertions and default polar questions within an inquisitive discourse model which allows us to capture both what is common and what is different across these two basic discourse moves. We then extend the account to the special cases of tag questions, rising declaratives and incredulous questions. Time-permitting we will also talk about polarity particle responses to assertions and polar questions.