University of Oxford     2014 Annual Meeting of the
Linguistics Association of Great Britain

The Queen's College, University of Oxford, 1-5 September 2014

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Workshop on Semantics | Workshop on Learning Biases | Summer School

Workshop on the Semantics of Embedding and the Syntax of the Left Periphery

Tuesday 2nd September 2014

This workshop, organised by Angelika Kratzer (UMass Amherst) and David Adger (QMUL), will be held in conjunction with Angelika Kratzer's Henry Sweet Lecture at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain 2014.

Plenary speaker

  • Angelika Kratzer (UMass Amherst) - 'The semantics of embedding and the syntax of the left periphery'

Invited speakers

  • Enoch Aboh (Amsterdam) - 'Relatives, eventives and clausal complements in Kwa'
  • Adriana Belletti (Sienna) - 'Syntactic structures and the functional ingredients of (some) clausal complements'
  • Martina Faller (Manchester) - 'Do speech act evidentials embed after all?'
  • Daniel Rothschild (UCL) - 'Embedding epistemic modals'


Syntactic work on the structure of the left periphery of the clause has, since Rizzi's seminal 1997 paper, provided a great deal of descriptive evidence for the idea that there is a rich and fine-grained series of elements arrayed at clausal edges, often covert, but also often overt as complementizers or verbal inflections. An important subset of these elements encode different aspects of the semantic `force' of the embedding (Saito 2012, Belletti 2013, Aboh 2010, Haegeman and Hill 2013). At the same time, semantic work on clausal embedding has begun to converge on the notion, due originally to Stowell (1982), that at least some clausal complements are not semantically embedded as an argument by their matrix selector (e.g Moulton 2009) and that clausal complementation may involve modal or reportative operators (e.g. Bhatt 1999, and much recent work on the syntax and semantics of evidentiality, e.g. Faller 2007). Putting these ideas together, one potentially fertile perspective is to take embedded clauses as being combined with their matrix predicate through conjunction (following the general model of Pietroski 2005) of the situation described by the matrix clause and a modally nuanced version of that described by the embedded clause (Kratzer's 2009 Context and Content Jean Nicod lectures).

This workshop seeks to explore some of the issues surrounding the connections between clausal complements their embedding predicates focussing on the semantics of that relationship and the syntactic and morphosyntactic means by which this connection is grammatically expressed. Core questions are: is clausal complementation always mediated by a modal or evidential operator? If so, what semantic and syntactic mechanisms are exploited by such operators? If not, what other means of complementation are available? What are the relationships between syntactic categories in complementation and the semantic interpretation of that complementation? What kinds of semantic concepts enter into embedding in general (Rothschild 2013)? How are these semantic concepts of knowledge, fact, belief and supposition recruited by and restricted by the grammatical systems?

Further information

Details on how to register for this event and other sessions taking place as part of LAGB 2014 will be available in May 2014. To submit a paper, themed session or poster for the Workshop on Learning Biases Poster Session please see the call for papers.
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