BRaCeLeT talk series, #9

Svitlana Antonyuk-Yudina (University of Vienna)

Information structure can tell us something about what Scope Freezing is, but mostly about what it isn’t

In this talk I will discuss the effects of various information-structural phenomena, such as Contrastive Focus and Specificity-related Object Shift on the interpretation of scopally ambiguous and scopally frozen ditransitive sentences in Russian and Ukrainian, arguing that studying such relations can help us better understand what scope freezing is as well as what it is not. I will present data on Scope Freezing and Specificity-Related Object Shift in Ukrainian Spray-Load verbs as well as on Scope Freezing and (Contrastive) Focus in Russian ditransitives and will argue that the complex data patterns observed suggest the following general conclusions:
  1. Scope freezing effects (Larson 1990) cannot be due to the Superiority-observing feature-driven QR of the kind argued for in Bruening (2001).
  2. While Specificity and (wide) QP Scope converge to a point, they are nevertheless independent phenomena that should not be conflated (supporting Enç 1991).
  3. The unexpected scope freezing effects discussed in Bruening (2010) are not due to rightward movement (R-Dative Shift) but instead are best characterized as Focus effects in scopally ambiguous ditransitive sentences, in a parallel fashion to what we observe in Russian (contra Neeleman and Titov 2009).
  4. To the extent that Object Shift (as Short Scrambling) can be considered an Information-Structural phenomenon, the combined conclusion from our data on Ukrainian and Russian is that Scope Freezing found in ditransitives and in the with-variant of the Spray-Load alternation is an independent syntactic phenomenon that can be neither derived through nor affected by Information-Structural means.
22 May 2018, Tuesday 2:15pm
1088 Budapest, Rákóczi út 5, R327