We are happy to announce a talk by Amir Anvari (Paris) next thursday at the Semantics Colloquium. Please find an abstract below.
Amir Anvari pre-recorded his talk for our meeting. Please send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link. By this, you also register for the discussion session at our usual time. You will receive a reply with the access data (to zoom) on thursday at 4pm (= immediately before the colloquium starts).
Title: The variable-based account of indexical shift redux
Date: June 25th
Time: 4pm – 6pm
The observation that in some languages indexicals can shift, i.e., can refer to objects other than those that make up the actual speech event, was something of a bombshell thrown by Philippe Schlenker in his 1999 dissertation, with quite far reaching consequences both for philosophy of language and linguistic analysis proper. Schlenker took the data to be pointing to a view of language on which attitudinal predicates quantify over contexts and indexicals involve context variables that, when bound by attitudes, shift. Subsequent work, particularly by Anand 2006 and Deal 2017, however, 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 extensional proposal. Anand and Deal, therefore, proposed an intensional analysis of the facts in which context-shifting operators, chained by an array of syntactic stipulations, may overwrite the context parameter and shift indexicals in the process, but in a manner restricted enough to handle the typology. In this talk, I will sketch the core typological generalizations and the operator-based analysis, basing the discussion on Deal 2017. Then, building on ongoing work with Janek Guierrini and David Blunier, I will discuss some novel generalizations pertaining to the Farsi temporal adverb “do duz dige” (lit. two days other, similar to “in two days” in English) which pose a significant challenge to the operator-based approach. On this basis, I propose a return to the variable-based analysis. In a very loose sense, my proposal will be seen to be a translation of the intensional analysis into a multi-sorted extensional type theory. A key role will be played by what I will refer to as Zimmermann’s technique (p.c. to Philippe Schlenker, as reported in Schlenker 2009 pg. 28). Unlike its predecessors (Schlenker 1999, 2003, von Stechow 2002), this proposal matches the predictions of the operator-based approach (and therefore is not susceptible to the over-generation criticism) while at the same leaving enough for a simple analysis of “do ruz dige”.