We are happy to announce a talk by Julien Foglietti (GU Frankfurt) at the Semantics Colloquium.

Please register beforehand (s.walter@em.uni-frankfurt.de) to receive the access data to zoom on Thursday shortly before the talk starts.

Title: Some consequences of proper names as predicates

Date: April 22

Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct


The literature on proper names is divided between two main analyses: referentialism and predicativism. The first analysis considers that proper names should be treated differently from other referring expressions as they have the property to refer rigidly (Kripke 1980) (i.e. they pick out the same individual across possible worlds). The second analysis takes proper names to be no different from other NPs. It assumes that proper names enter the syntax as property denoting expressions (Geurts 1997, Fara 2015, Matushansky 2008) (e.g. ⟦NPJohn⟧ = λxe. x is called John) and that they get their referential interpretation by combining with covert elements. In my research, I side with the predicative analysis as I believe that it can provide potential insight into the way in which proper names interact with determiners in some languages, and into the structure of proper names below the word level.

In this presentation I expose the existing analyses predicativist have proposed to account for the rigid behavior of proper names. I also discuss the nature of the determiner that combines with proper names (i.e. the proprial determiner) showing that it should be further defined based on the cross-linguistic description this element has received. Finally, I will present my analysis of nicknames which takes into account both the morphological and the semantic aspects of this category of names.