Speaker: Gillian Ramchand (University of Tromsø)
Title: Verbal Symbols and Demonstrations Across Modalities
The evidence from syntax and morphology suggests that the extended projection of the verb is divided into typologically robustly attested zones (see Ramchand and Svenonius 2014). The lowest part of each extended projection (whether nominal or verbal) is associated with open class lexical items, and the meanings of those items are notoriously hard to define and integrate into a compositional treatment of meaning without rampant allosemy. In this talk I will argue that the truth conditional, or denotational view of lexical contents is misguided and that we should move to a more mentalistic view of the semantic content of open class lexical items. This will involve reifying the symbol and the demonstrative act of reference as a way of mediating between mentalistic contents and assertions which have worldly truthmakers. I show that the neo-quotational view of compositional semantics (as I will call it),allows for a more satisfying account of iconic and gestural meaning, and gives a new perspective on indexical shift.