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Linguistic Colloquium: Ivano Caponigro

October 30, 2015 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm  |  Stevenson Fireside Lounge


Linguistic Colloquium: Free-Choice Free Relative Clauses in Italian and Romanian


English, Italian, and Romanian (and many other languages) allow for standard free relative clauses, i.e., non-interrogative wh-clauses with the same distribution and interpretation as definite DPs or PPs (e.g. Elena goes [where Bianca goes]). The same three languages (and many others) also allow for a kind of free relative in which the wh-word has been modified by an affix (e.g., Elena goes [wher-everBianca goes]). The semantic behavior of these free relatives, though, is not the same across the three languages, despite their morpho-syntactic identity.

The semantic properties of –ever free relatives in English have received significant attention and insightful proposals have been made (cf. Jacobson 1995, Dayal 1997, von Fintel 2000, Heller and Wolter 2011, Condoravdi 2015, a.o.). In this talk, we present the first semantic investigation of the morpho-syntactic equivalent of -everfree relatives in Italian and Romanian, which we call Free Choice Free Relatives (FC-FRs). We show that semantic properties of FC-FRs differ from -ever free relatives, while closely resembling headed relative clauses introduced by the free choice determiner any in English. Interestingly, neither Italian nor Romanian has a free choice item with the same morpho-syntactic shape (i.e., non-wh determiner) and the same semantic properties as any in English. We sketch a preliminary compositional analysis of FC-FRs that aims to capture these facts, based on recent proposal for any and other free choice items by Chierchia (2013) and Dayal (2013).

We conclude by touching on the open issue of the difference in meaning between -ever free relatives in English and free choice any and the broader issue of how languages may differ in the way the available free choice items and constructions are mapped onto free choice meanings.


The Linguistic department hosts colloquium talks by distinguished faculty from around the world.

Fall 2015
October 9th: Keith Johnson, UC Berkeley
October 16th: Heidi Harley, University of Arizona
October 30th: Ivano Caponigro, UC San Diego
November 20th: Elliott Moreton, University of North Carolina

Winter 2016
January 15th: Sharon Inkelas, UC Berkeley
February 5th: Colin Phillips, University of Maryland
February 6th: N. Goodman, Stanford University and A. Kehler, UC San Diego
March 5th: Linguistics Conference at Santa Cruz Conference

Spring 2016
April 15th: Sabine Iatridou, MIT
April 29th: Paul Kiparsky, Stanford University
May 6, 7, 8: Semantics of Under-Represented Languages in the Americas 9
May 20th: Kyle Johnson, University of Massachusetts
May 27th/June 3rd (TBA): Linguistics Undergraduate Research Conference




October 30, 2015
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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Stevenson Fireside Lounge
Humanites 1 University of California, Santa Cruz Cowell College
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
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Linguistics Department
(831) 459-2386
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