Henk van Riemsdijk
Doubling trouble: some remarks on wh-concord in Swiss German
Abstract: The notion “doubling” is widespread in linguistics. But it is mostly used as a pre-theoretical notion that potentially covers an enormous range of phenomena. If the notion is to be of some use, we must, gradually, work our way towards a definition (or a set of definitions) of “doubling”. In order to do so, specific cases that might be subsumed under the term doubling must be studied in detail and analyzed and be made amenable to an account in terms of current theorizing. After a general overview of what might conceivably be called doubling in linguistics, the article zooms in on one specific construction, viz. wh-concord in Swiss German.
Keywords: AGREE, Swiss German, doubling, multiple copy spell-out, sluicing, wh-concord, wh-scope marking
Ion Giurgea and Eva-Maria Remberger
Verum focus and polar questions
Abstract: We argue that some word order phenomena in Romanian and Sardinian are the result of a checking operation in the left periphery involving verum focus (i.e. focus on the polarity component of the sentence). In particular, this operation accounts for some word order patterns found in polar questions. In Romanian, polarity fronting is realized as head-movement of (V+)T to a higher peripheral head which bears a Focus-probe. This licenses VS orders for predications in which VS is not allowed as a neutral order (i-level predicates, iteratives, generics). In Sardinian, an entire phrase headed by the lexical predicate (verbal non-finite form or non-verbal predicate) is fronted before the auxiliary. We argue that this order is obtained by two movement operations, head-raising of Aux to Foc and movement of the predicate phrase to SpecFoc. We also present the semantics of polarity focus, distinguishing several types of focus (informational, emphatic, contrastive).
Keywords: verum focus, polar questions, focalization, Romanian, Sardinian
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Imperatives are modal
Abstract: It has been noted repeatedly in the literature (Huntley 1982, Huntley 1984, Davies 1986, Wilson and Sperber 1988, Ninan 2005, Han 1998, etc.) that imperatives have a modal dimension, given that they present a proposition as a possible and desirable state of affairs. However, the opinion that imperatives are modal is not shared by all researchers. For example, Portner (2007) claims that imperatives are not modal, in spite of the fact that they share a range of interpretations with modals. In this article I argue that imperatives are in fact modal and that the differences that Portner (2007) identifies are relevant for distinguishing not only between priority modals and imperatives, but between two larger classes of verbal forms, that include priority modals and imperatives, respectively. Crucially, the larger class of verbal forms that includes imperatives and that contrasts with priority modals are undisputedly modal. Thus, differing from priority modals does not necessarily imply lack of modality, but simply a different type of modality.
Keywords: modal base, imperatives, actuality entailments, temporal anchoring, true deontics/epistemics
The Accusative morpheme -(Y)I in Turkish and differential object marking in Romanian
Abstract: Romanian differentially marked object DPs and object DPs carrying the accusative morphological marker –(y)i in Turkish pattern alike in that they acquire a specific (D-linked / covert partitive) meaning. The semantic contribution of specificity as D-linking is to link the denotation of the (specific) DP in question to previously established referents. The referent of the specific DP is thus a subset of (or stands in some recoverable relation to) a familiar object. The anaphoric interpretation seems to find a justification if one considers that the doubled / dislocated DP moves out of VP and into SpecVP (the VP phase edge), which is a position where, according to Lopez (2009) pragmatic rules apply. The feature [+a] is assigned to SpecvP, triggering the anaphoric interpretation of DOM-ed DPs. The doubled / dislocated DP does move out of the VP, as pointed out by the existence of inverse binding effects (Cornilescu 2006). Lastly, we formalize the semantic contribution of differentially marked DPs with the aid of DRT. The underlying idea of this formalization was that the denotation of the direct object DP is related to the denotation of the clitic pronoun by means of a subset-set relation.
Keywords: Differential Object Marking, D-linking, covert partitivity
How do adjectival modifiers contribute to the temporal interpretation of nominals?
Abstract: Starting from the assumption that nominals contain (at least) one internal temporal variable which may be located in time by various cross-linguistic means (see Pustejovsky 1995, 1998 a.o.), the aim of the present paper is to examine the way in which adjectival modifiers influence the temporal interpretation of head nominals. We will analyze examples which contain relational adjectives (e.g. ‘antique’, ‘modern’) and intensional adjectives (e.g. ‘former’, ‘future’, ‘present’).
Keywords: nominal temporal semantics, Lexical Conceptual Structure, relational adjectives, intensional adjectives
Andrei A. Avram
Some phonological changes in Maltese reflected in onomastics
Abstract: The present paper evaluates the onomastic evidence for some of the changes affecting consonants in the history of Maltese. The analysis is based on a rich corpus of surnames, nicknames and place-names recorded between early 15th century and late 18th century. Onomastics is shown to offer valuable insights into the gradual emergence of the system of consonantal phonemes of Modern Maltese and of some of its specific phonological rules. It is also shown that evidence from onomastics disconfirms previous claims regarding the chronology of some of the changes affecting the consonants of Maltese.
Keywords: Maltese, surnames, nicknames, place-names, historical phonology
The use of analogy in pro-life argumentation
Abstract: The paper is concerned with how analogy is strategically used in pro-life argumentation on abortion. Pragma-dialectics (van Eemeren and Grootendorst 1992) offers a set of critical questions by means of which I will evaluate the use of the argumentation based on a relation of analogy in terms of dialectical soundness. Examining various pro-life texts, I have noticed that the analogies employed remain unexplained. Therefore, despite the apparent similarities between abortion and the German holocaust or slavery, for instance, there are essential differences which are not mentioned. I claim that these analogies mainly have a rhetorical function, to operate what has been called by Micheli (2007: 960) “a transfer of emotional consensus”.
Keywords: abortion, analogy, pro-life argumentation, dialectical soundness, persuasion
The language of the hybrid: verbal manifestations of identity and alterity in G.B. Shaw’s John Bull’s Other Island
Abstract: This paper presents the discursive construction of ethnic identities in the verbal behaviour of the three major characters of G. B. Shaw’s John Bull’s Other Island (1904): the English protagonist Thomas Broadbent, and two ethnic Irish characters, Larry Doyle and Father Keegan. The play is approached with the help of micro-sociolinguistic methods, focusing on face-to-face conversational interactions between characters, as ethnic stereotypes. The main linguistic means of expressing ethnic sameness and difference (deictic ‘we’ vs. ‘they’, politeness strategies, markers of power and solidarity, etc.) are analysed as conversational strategies that foreground the relationship among these characters and their attitude towards their own and the other’s ethnicity and home country. The analysis of these strategies reveal an unusual result: the reversal of ethnic roles which – as a technique of character treatment – proves Shaw to be well-ahead his age, at the same time constructing and subverting ethnic stereotypes.
Keywords: discursive, ethnic identity, ethnic stereotypes, micro-sociolinguistic, Shaw
Pingali Sailaja. Indian English. (Reviewed by Gabriela Anidora Brozbă)
Ruxandra Drăgan. Aspects of Lexical Structure: Verbs in Locative Constructions in English and Romanian.(Reviewed by Imola-Ágnes Farkas)
Marcin Walczyński. A Living Language. Selected Aspects of Tok Pisin in the Press (on the Basis of Wantok Newspaper). (Reviewed by Andrei A. Avram)