Week of September 19

Linguistics Circle Workshop

Rajesh Bhatt (UMass Amherst)

Title: Negation of disagreement in Hindi-Urdu (Joint work with Vincent Homer)

Abstract: Hindi-Urdu has a negative marker thori:, which, compared to the ‘default’ nahı:, (i) has a limited distribution and (ii) is subject to discourse felicity constraints. First, it is ruled out in questions, if-clauses, when-clauses, because-clauses, relative clauses and infinitival complements, and it needs a constituent to its left, on which it puts focus. It is not a constituent negation since it takes sentential scope (i.e., it can license subject NPIs); in fact it takes obligatory wide scope over most scope-taking elements. It  takes wide scope regardless of its surface position, which suggests that it is associated with a covert negation, which sits high in the clause (the position of this high negation is not available in all clauses). Second, it cannot be used felicitously unless the proposition that is being negated has been entertained—not necessarily expressed or articulated—in the preceding discourse (like Italian mica, Cinque 1976, Frana & Rawlins 2015, 2019):

Like Italian mica, thori: is elsewhere in the language a nominal modifier that denotes a small quantity with meaning ‘a few/little’. We compare thori: with mica and another minimizer used as a ‘common ground management operator’, namely English "at all" (Mayer 2021). Like "at all" and possibly mica—which is a neg-word— thori: is not in itself negative. Thori: requires a covert negation which is only merged when thori: is present. Unlike mica, thori: cannot be used in questions. Unlike "at all", thori: is never used as a degree quantifier. Unlike both mica and "at all", thori: is focus-sensitive.

We will show that focus alone is not enough to derive the `disagreement' requirement of thorii. Then we will compare two current models for disagreement (Repp's FALSUM and Goodhue's Polarity Focus) and see how they apply to thori:.

Friday, September 23 | 12:00-1:30 pm | Sever Hall 102


Harvard at SuB 27

Hayley Ross presented her work titled Quantifying weak and strong crossover for wh-crossover and proper names (joint work with Gennaro Chierchia and Kathryn Davidson) at the 27th Sinn und Bedeutung conference hosted at Charles University in Prague, September 14-16 2022.