Special announcement: Talk by Anastasia Giannakidou in Leiden, April 12

Lisa Cheng (Leiden University) is organizing a talk by Anastasia Giannakidou (University of Chicago) entitled Evaluative subjunctive in Greek and Romance: epistemic weakening, expressive content, and nonveridicality. The talk will be in Leiden on Friday, April 12. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Date: Friday, April 12, 2013
Time: 15:15
Location: Leiden, Van Wijkplaats 2, room 002


In this talk, I discuss instances of optional subjunctive, i.e.  non-selected subjunctive that appears to be either triggered by noneveridicality in the sentence, or itself creates a nonveridical effect when chosen. This subjunctive appears in main clauses (alone, or triggered by modal adverbs),  relative clauses in the scope of nonveridical verbs,  in embedded clauses triggered by negation (‘polarity’ subjunctive), and with emotive factives in some Romance languages. I will argue that this optional subjunctive is ‘evaluative’ i.e. it conveys evaluation of a proposition p. An evaluation can be of two kinds: (a)  Epistemic weakening of an individual’s commitment to the truth of p. When there is a choice, and the speaker choses to use the subjunctive,  she intends to remove epistemic commitment. This is consistent with the nonveridicality dependency (Giannakidou 1998, 2011) of the subjunctive in selection. The second kind of evaluation is expressive attitude towards the proposition (in the sense of Potts 2007, Giannakidou and Yoon 2011). I suggest that this is the use of subjunctive in complements of factive verbs. The talk draws on data from Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. The big picture generalization will be that although the selected subjunctive does not have a semantic contribution (selection is a kind of nonveridical agreement), non-selected subjunctive has both a semantic (epistemic weakening) and a pragmatic effect (expressive content).


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