The Syntax-Semantics reading group will be meeting on Thursday, February 8th at 1pm in Rm. 117 of the McGill Linguistics department, with a Zoom room open for those unable to join in person.
This week, Mathieu Paillé (in person) and Nina Haslinger (remotely) will be presenting a talk entitled: ‘Contrastive reduplication, degree predication, and the case of numeral imprecision ‘. The abstract is below:
Contrastive reduplication (CR; e.g. Dray 1987, Ghomeshi et al. 2004, Huang 2015, Horn 2018) is the repetition of an expression leading to a particular set of related meanings, including prototypicality (‘This is a SALAD salad’) and intensity (‘He isn’t TALL tall’). We analyze CR as the spell-out of a high-degree operator, with CR’s syntax falling out from semantic scope. From there, we show CR provides a diagnostic for where in the structure degree arguments are introduced. It also teaches us about scales, in particular what meaning is associated with the high or low ends of a scale. We apply this to numeral imprecision as a case study; we show that CR can teach us about both the scale of imprecision and the locus of its degree argument.
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