The Syntax-Semantics reading group and MULL-lab will be meeting on Wednesday, November 22nd at 4pm in Rm. 117 of the McGill Linguistics department, with a Zoom room open for those unable to join in person.
Obviation is a system that is usually defined as managing topicality and reference across 3rd person nominals. It relies on a morphological contrast between proximate nominals which are topics, and obviative nominals which are backgrounded (Aissen, 1997). Obviative marking in Ktunaxa is found on nominals and on verbs. The latter case has been analyzed as agreement with an obviative subject (Morgan, 1991; Dryer, 1998). Taking as our starting point constructions where the verb and its subject do not match in obviation status, we propose that obviation in Ktunaxa tracks relations between topic situations (cf. Kratzer, 2008; McKenzie, 2012). We propose a syntactic analysis where verbal obviation parallels nominal obviation. This analysis provides new evidence for the availability of situation variables in the syntax (cf. Percus, 2000).
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