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Colloquium: Gillian Ramchand
October 30, 2020 @ 11:15 am - 1:00 pm
Verbal Symbols and Generalized Demonstrations
In this talk I develop a new theory of the ingredients of semantic composition for the verb phrase, building on recent work (Ramchand 2018). I show that the central properties of the approach proposed there make possible a new rapprochement between the theoretical analyses of verbal meaning across the visual and auditory modalities. The innovation of the new theory is that it partitions the verbal extended projection into a lower symbolic zone and a higher instantiational (situational) zone mediated by the demonstrative act (cf. Davidson 2015, Henderson 2017). First I will lay out the system, and then I will give examples of how it can be used in a formal account of the role of iconicity across modalities. The main feature of the new approach is that it de-exoticizes the ideophone and the iconic symbol, making it the clue and model for all verbal symbolizing. Finally, I show how the reification of the demonstration event gives a new perspective on indexical content and indexical shift and its typology across languages.