February 16: Eva Csipak

The Semantics and Philosophy of Language Workshop is pleased to welcome Eva Csipak (Göttingen, grad student) for our fourth meeting of the term.

DATE: Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012
TIME: 3:30-5pm
PLACE: Cobb 107

`Pizza subjunctives, plans and alternatives

While many analyses of the subjunctive (e.g. Giannakidou 2009 for Greek, Schlenker 2005 for French) focus on its non-factive uses, I discuss factive uses of the subjunctive in German, such as in (1):

(1) Ich hätte noch Pizza im Kühlschrank.
‘I have.SUBJ PART pizza in-the fridge’

The sentence is odd if the speaker knows that there is no pizza, or even if she is uncertain – in fact, it is very close to its indicative counterpart. I argue that an analysis of (1) requires three crucial components: factivity, “plans”, and Villalta’s (2008) notion of alternatives: for (1) to be felicitous, it needs to be uttered in a context where there is pizza in the fridge, where a salient individual can make use of this information (because he is hungry and can eat the pizza), and where there are alternatives (such as ordering other food).

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