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Nadine Theiler Seminar

January 31, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Ungrammaticality from triviality: deriving selectional restrictions of attitude verbs

It’s commonly assumed that ungrammaticality is a syntactic notion and should receive a purely syntactic explanation. Yet there are many proposals appealing to squarely semantic considerations in order to account for certain cases of ungrammaticality.

In this seminar meeting, we will first discuss one particular strategy that has been proposed for relating the semantic notion of triviality to ungrammaticality, namely the use of L-analyticity (Gajewski 2002, 2009).

We will then zoom in on accounts that use L-analyticity for deriving the selectional properties of certain attitude verbs. The verb believe, for example, can embed only declarative but not interrogative complements:

(1) a.  Finn believes that Tara called.
b. *Finn believes whether Tara called
c. *Finn believes who called.

Building on an observation by Zuber (1982), we will derive these data from the fact that believe is neg-raising.


January 31, 2020
10:00 am - 12:00 pm


18 Seminary Place, Room 108