Archive | January 2016

January 29th: Jeremy Kuhn (Institut Jean Nicod) – Utrecht

We are happy to announce that on Friday, January 29th, Jeremy Kuhn (Institut Jean Nicod) will give a LUSH talk in Utrecht. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Friday, January 29th, 2016

Time: 15:30-17:00

Location: Utrecht, Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)

Speaker: Jeremy Kuhn (Institut Jean Nicod)

Title: Dependent indefinites in American Sign Language


In many languages, an indefinite determiner or numeral may be inflected to indicate that the value of the indefinite DP varies with respect to another DP in the sentence or in context. In American Sign Language, inflecting the numeral ONE with an ‘arc’ movement creates such a dependent indefinite: (1) means that the books vary with respect to the boys.

(1) BOYS IX-arc-a READ ONE-arc-a BOOK.
‘The boys read one book each.’

Most semantic analyses of dependent indefinites formalize a similar insight: dependent indefinites contribute a variation condition: the value of the variable introduced by the indefinite must vary with respect to the value of another variable in the sentence or in context. The specific implementation of this insight varies in significant ways, notably on the following two fundamental architectural questions:

1. Are dependent indefinites anaphoric to their licensor, or is the relation indirect?

2. Are dependent indefinites themselves quantificational or does distribution come from a (possibly covert) distributive operator elsewhere in the sentence?

Here I argue the following: (1) dependent indefinites have an anaphoric component; (2) they are themselves quantificational. I argue that new data involving spatial agreement in ASL gives insight into these questions. An analysis will be presented within the framework of Dynamic Plural Logic (van den Berg 1996, Nouwen 2003, Brasoveanu 2008), which will be introduced during the talk.