Nominal Modification

The Research Training Group on Nominal Modification at the Goethe University Frankfurt

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Colloquium: Martina Wiltschko

On Tuesday, January 21th GK Colloquium will be hosting a talk by Martina Wiltschko entitled ‘Let’s interact with high end nominals’. See below for the abstract. 

When: 4:15 pm-6:00 pm
Where: SH 0.107

Let’s interact with high end nominals!

In recent years there has been increasing interest in the syntax of speech acts to the effect that there is now considerable evidence that speech act structure is part of the syntactic spine. Taking seriously the well-established parallelism between the clausal spine and the nominal spine, we expect that nominal structure, too, is embedded in a higher structure dedicated to encoding “speech acts”. This theory-internal prediction raises the question as to what a nominal speech act might be.
In this talk I introduce my current project on the syntax of nominal speech acts. I adopt my view on clausal speech act structure according to which it is better viewed as “interactional structure” consisting of two layers of structure: GroundP and ResponseP, respectively. GroundP is dedicated to encoding the speaker’s attitude towards the embedded propositional structure and it comes in two layers: a speaker oriented one and an addressee oriented one. RespP is dedicated to managing the interaction itself: for example it can encode whether or not the speaker wants the addressee to respond.
I argue that the same layers of structure are found in the nominal domain: here GroundP serves to encode the speaker and addressee roles as well as their attitudes towards the referent. RespP serves to encode forms of address (such as vocatives). I present evidence based on three distinct empirical domains: pronouns, demonstratives, and names. I show how the nominal interactional structure allows us to understand the form, function, and distribution of nominals in different ways as well as providing the basis for a novel typology.



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