Archive for the ‘talks’ Category
Join us today at 3:30 in Harper 130 for the fifth and final talk of the Language Variation and Change Workshop. Kelly Maynard (Center for East European Russian/Eurasian Studies) will be giving her talk on “Balkan Sprachbund Features in Samsun Albanian” (abstract). Stick around afterwards for snacks, drinks, and hobnobbing.
- Context and ellipsis. Invited colloquium talk. University College London. 11 November 2009.
- What price ellipsis? Invited talk. Workshop on ellipsis. Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussels, Belgium. 9-10 November 2009.
- Context and types of ambiguity. Invited talk. Interdisciplinary symposium “Dimensions of ambiguity”. Eberhard-Karls-University, Tübingen, Germany. 5-7 November 2009.
- Inaudible syntax. With Lyn Frazier. Invited talk. Context and communication network; Leverhulme Foundation workshop series. San Francisco, 15 September 2009.
Follow the links above for more information on these events and on Jason’s presentations.
Attributive Adjectives and the Semantics of Inappropriateness
May 14, 3:30-5pm, Cobb 201
Nick Fleisher, Wayne State University
In this talk I discuss the syntax and semantics of a previously unexamined English attributive adjective construction and its implications for the study of gradable adjectives in the positive degree. The construction, which I call the nominal attributive-with-infinitive construction (nominal AIC), is exemplified by sentences likeMiddlemarch is a long book to assign. I argue that the major semantic characteristic of the nominal AIC—the interpretation of inappropriateness associated with it—arises compositionally from the interaction between the positive degree comparison operator and the modality of the infinitival relative clause, which contributes to the computation of the standard of comparison. Nominal AICs are compared and contrasted with a surface-identical construction I call the clausal AIC (Middlemarch is a bad book to assign), with attributive too (Middlemarch is too long (of) a book to assign), and with attributive comparatives (Middlemarch is a longer book than that); they are shown to exhibit major syntactic and semantic differences from all of these. Finally, I consider what light nominal AICs can shed on recent approaches to the determination of standards of comparison for positives. The standard provided by the infinitival relative can override the default for minimum standard absolute adjectives, but typically not for maximum standard absolutes, suggesting that there may be a difference in the linguistic status of these two types of default standard.