The Syntax-Semantics reading group and MULL-lab will be meeting on Thursday, March 28th at 1pm in Rm. 117 of the McGill Linguistics department, with a Zoom room open for those unable to join in person.

This week, Willie will be presenting a MULL-themed talk entitled: ‘The Repetitive Prefix and Presupposition in Kanien’kéha’. The abstract is below:

In this talk, I present ongoing work on the repetitive prefix in Kanien’kéha and the scope of the presupposition it introduces. In grammars of the language, the repetitive is equated with English ‘again’. Like ‘again’, it modifies a proposition and introduces a presupposition that a similar event occurred previously. Drawing on fieldwork, I argue that this comparison is ultimately misleading; the repetitive differs crucially from ‘again’ in the scope of the presupposition it introduces. While the presupposition of triggered by ‘again’ must include the object for transitives and the subject for intransitives, the repetitive’s presupposition need not include any arguments of the verb. The only element that the repetitive scopes over is the verb, driving the weak presupposition that some action happened before and resulting in a wider distribution and distinct semantic effect for the Kanien’kéha repetitive. This finding is significant for both our linguistic understanding of propositional complexity and presupposition as well as the support of second-language pedagogy efforts within the context of Kanien’kéha language revitalization work.

Please register in advance HERE to receive the Zoom link. You can also share this link with others who may want to join