This coming Wednesday, October 13, we'll welcome Dr.Amir Anvari (Linguistics department at MIT) as our second LILA speaker of the fall.

Here are the title and abstract. The talk will be over zoom. 

Title: On the proper treatment of intensionality

Abstract: In some languages indexicals can shift, i.e., can refer to objects other than those that make up the actual speech event. Schlenker (1999) took this observation to be pointing to a view of language in which attitudinal predicates quantify over contexts, and indexicals involve variables that, when bound by attitudes, shift. On this view, indexical and anaphoric expressions are both governed by the same quantificational logic with explicit variables. However, subsequent work (in particular, Anand 2006 and Deal 2017/2020) uncovered a host of cross-linguistic generalizations that suggest a tight typology of shifty indexicals, one that does not seem to justify the massive expressive power of Schlenker's variable-based proposal. Therefore a parameter-based analysis of the facts was proposed, one in which context-shifting operators, chained by an array of syntactic stipulations, may overwrite the context parameter relative to which expressions are interpreted and shift indexicals in the process, but in a manner restricted enough to handle the typology. Indexical shift, then, provides the strongest case available against the variable-based treatment of intensionality. In this talk, I will explore two problems for the parameter-based approach, one specific to indexical shift and one general. The specific challenge comes from the temporal adverbials "do ruz dige" in Farsi (roughly, "in two days" in English). I will argue that the parameter-based approach does not have the resources needed for an adequate analysis of this expression. The general challenge will come from the copy theory of movement (Chomsky 1996, and much subsequent work). I will argue that copy theory, regardless of details of implementation, both over- and under-generates readings unless it is paired with a variable-based account of intensionality. 

Wednesday |October 13, 2021

8:00 – 9:00 (Arizona) 

18:30 - 19:30 (Tehran)