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Linguistics Colloquium: Ashwini Deo
October 6, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Stevenson Fireside Lounge
Ashwini Deo, “Alternative circumstances of evaluation and the ser/estar distinction in Spanish”
Abstract: The Spanish copulas ser and estar have distributional and interpretational patterns that have resisted an adequate analysis. In this talk, I work towards a unified analysis that treats the two copulas as being presuppositional variants that are differentially sensitive to properties of the circumstances at which the truth of the copular sentence is evaluated. On the proposed analysis, estar presupposes that the prejacent is boundedly true at the evaluation circumstance. The prejacent’s bounded truth at a circumstance i at a given context of use c depends on two conditions:
(a) there are no-weaker alternative circumstances i′ accessible at c where the prejacent is false, and
(b) i is a maximal verifying circumstance at c.
Central to the analysis is the notion of a strength ordering over alternative circumstances of evaluation — a circumstantial counterpart to the more familiar ordering over alternative propositions. Assuming that this content is conventionally associated with estar allows for an account of its distinct flavors and readings with a range of predicates. ser is shown to be associated with its own inferences that derive from its status as the presuppositionally weaker, neutral member of the pair.
Ashwini Deo is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Ohio State University.
About eight times each year, the department hosts colloquia by distinguished faculty from around the world. Unless otherwise stated, talks take place on Fridays in Humanities 1, Room 210 at 4 p.m. during the fall quarter 2017 and at 2:30 p.m. during winter and spring quarters 2018.