The next talk of the 2021-2022 McGill Linguistics Colloquium Series will be held on Friday, January 21st at 3:30pm. The talk will be given by Maribel Romero (University of Konstanz).
The title of the talk is “A unified semantic analysis of the Q-Particle in Sinhala across interrogative types“. The abstract is below.
    In a wide variety of languages, Q(uestion)-particles are –optionally or mandatorily– used in the formation of some interrogative clause types(see e.g. Kamali 2015 for Turkish mI; Rudin et al. 1999 for Macedonian li; Hagstrom 1998 for Japanese ka; Kishimoto 2005, Cable 2010 and Slade 2011 for Sinhala də). The present talk concentrates on Sinhala, in which the Qparticle də appears in wh-questions (WhQs), alternative questions (AltQs) and polar questions (PolQs), as illustrated in (1)-(3):
                    (1)  Chitra monəwa gatte                                          WhQ
                           Chitra what        bought.E
                         `What did Chitra buy?’                                             [Slade 2011: (2) p. 19]
                   (2) oyaa maalu. mas. kanne?                                 AltQ
                          you fish.       meat. eat.E
                        `Did you eat meat or fish?’                                       [Weerasooriya 2019: (36) p. 12]
                    (3) Chitra [ee potə]F kieuwe?                                  PolQ- narrow
                          Chitra that book    read.E
                         `Was it that book that Chitra read?’                      [Kishimoto 2005: (21a) p. 11]
    A prominent line of analysis, developed by Cable (2010) for WhQs and by Slade (2011) for AltQs and PolQs, posits that the Q-particle də introduces a choice function variable coindexed with the question operator in all three interrogative clause types.
    Against this background, the goal of our talk is two-fold. First, we present novel data on the distribution of the Q-particle də in interrogatives containing islands which challenge the Cable-Slade choice function analysis. We will see that, while də in AltQs patterns like də in WhQs in being sensitive to islands, də is PolQs is island-insensitive. Second, we develop a first unified semantic analysis of the Q-particle də that accounts for its distribution in all three question types and for the disparity in island-(in)sensitivity between WhQs/AltQs and PolQs.
If you have not yet registered for the colloquium series, please do so here (you only need to register once for the 2021-2022 year).
If you would like to meet with Maribel before the talk on Friday, please email Jing with your availability so that we can schedule accordingly. Thank you!