Rajesh Bhatt (UMass, Amherst) & Maria Esipova (University of Konstanz)

Ling F: Puzzles in Semantics I (advanced)

Masha Esipova (Bar-Ilan University) Rajesh Bhatt ()
Puzzle A. (Maria Esipova, University of Konstanz) (Jan 16/18/20)

This "puzzle" focuses on two types of readings that emerge in a range of environments (e.g., in negated imperatives, under 'not want', under 'fear', etc.): (i) ABSTAIN readings, implying willingness to prevent someone from intentionally engaging in an activity, and (ii) AVOID readings, implying willingness to prevent a potentially unintended outcome. The ABSTAIN vs. AVOID distinction has a variety of grammatical reflexes cross-linguistically, e.g., (anti-)licensing of 'some'-indefinites in English: 'Don't call anyone!' (which asks the addressee to abstain from intentionally engaging in the activity of calling someone) vs. 'Don't call someone!' (which cautions the addressee against accidentally calling someone). We will primarily focus on perfective vs. imperfective aspect and distribution of indefinites in Russian. We will see that to capture the relevant facts we need to carefully consider the complex interplay of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of situation descriptions.
Puzzle B (Rajesh Bhatt, UMass Amherst) (Jan 23/25)
This puzzle concerns the relationship between honorificity and plurality in Hindi. It lies on the borderlands of semantics, syntax and morphology.