Proceedings of the 19th Amsterdam Colloquium
This paper discusses new facts on comparative constructions in Circassian languages that contribute to a theoretical debate about the semantics of comparatives. We argue that Circassian comparatives provide the direct evidence for the combination of two recent insights into comparative semantics: the theory of two loci of degree quantication in such constructions and theories postulating exhaustivity or maximisation at the edge of the standard clause.
NELS has always been and remains the most prestigious conference in theoretical linguistics hosted in its geographical area and is among the most highly respected in the field at large. (Conferences in theoretical linguistics of comparable quality, hosted in different geographical areas, include the Chicago Linguistic Society, the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL), and the Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW).) The papers presented at NELS are of a consistently high calibre, not only because of the large number of abstracts received, but also because of the anonymous reviewing process, conducted by leading figures in the field. The papers presented at NELS have appeared in published form since NELS 5, and are frequently cited in refereed journals of the field. Since NELS 11, the proceedings have been published by the Graduate Linguistics Student Association at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
This paper focuses on the meaning of degree modifiers such as slightly and completely, when they are either more prosodically prominent than the scalar adjective they modify or less so. Thus, one challenge is to explain the meaning, function and distribution of these modifiers. A second challenge is to explain the way accentuation (prosodic prominence vs. non-prominence) affects their meanings. The paper argues that the sensitivity of weak modifiers such as slightly to the type of membership norm of the modified adjective poses a challenge to semantic analyses of these modifiers in terms of quantification, scale-structure or norm-shifting (section 1.1), and suggests, instead, that these modifiers trigger granularity shifting (section 1.2). Two analyses of the role of accentuation in modifiers are then discussed (sections 1.3-1.4). Lastly, the paper presents an experiment that appears to support the granularity shifting account and a compatible treatment of prosodic prominence as generating local intensification of the meaning of the accented word (sections 2-3).
Uncontroversially, the meaning of first and second person pronouns and “imposters”, i.e. expressions like yours truly, (Collins and Postal 2012), should be indexical (Kaplan 1977/1989, Stalnaker 1970), but how exactly this indexicality is achieved has been a matter of some debate. While not settling the debate, this paper aims to show that there is no single way to become a person indexical. Natural language allows for at least three different represen- tations leading to person indexicality. Evidence for this comes from sentences involving imposters and pronouns coreferent with or bound by them. Partic- ularly telling are cases of variation between third and non-third pronouns in sentences with imposters, first discussed by Collins and Postal. Constraints on this variation support the view that it is not adequate from either an empirical or an explanatory perspective to treat all person indexicals uniformly.
The present article continues the investigation of the Soqotri verbal system undertaken by the Russian-Soqotri fieldwork team. The article focuses on the so-called “weak” and “geminated” roots in the basic stem. The investigation is based on the analysis of full paradigms (perfect, imperfect and jussive) of more than 170 “weak” and “geminated” Soqotri verbs.