Cool Logic

Angelica Hill (ILLC)

Not-so-picky predicates: An analysis of Spanish's que+wh-phrase construction and the puzzle of question-embedding predicates

February 28th at 18:30, in ILLC Seminar Room F1.15, Science Park 107, Amsterdam

The semantic literature on question-embedding predicates has generally focused on the restrictions of certain predicates and the complements they can take as argument. However, the discussion becomes even more convoluted when we take the analysis cross-linguistic. My presentation explores the `que+ indirect question' construction that exists in Spanish, but not in English. The construction allows for a Spanish speaker to use a larger set of verbs to unambiguously report a question than the English speaker, and proves that a more detailed analysis of question-embedding predicates is needed. I will introduce this construction, explore some possible explanations for why certain verbs allow the construction while other prohibit it, and show why this puzzle is not merely a semantic one, but a syntactic one. It's going to be very verby!