Grammar And Context 2013


Casper de Groot

Depictives and Focus in Uralic Languages

Casper de Groot

Amsterdam Centre for Language and Communication – ACLC

University of Amsterdam

Depictive secondary predicates such as raw in Mary ate the fish raw pose interesting challenges in the fields of syntax and semantics as for instance main versus secondary predications, predicates and adjuncts, the role of the controller of the depictive, the stage-level versus the individual-level distinction, and depictives versus oriented adverbs. Also in the field of pragmatics, depictive secondary predicates provide a challenge in that they are claimed to be part of the focus domain of the clause.

In my talk I will discuss a number of syntactic and semantic aspects of depictive secondary predicates in Uralic languages in relation to focus theory, such as:

Contexts in which depictives can be found/used

  • The marking of focus
  • Depictive markers being focus markers
  • Copulas in secondary predications
  • Depictives and focus constructions
  • Ambiguity between depictive and manner with certain oriented adverbs

While discussing these issues, I will take three different perspectives, that of language description, typology and linguistic theory. I will focus on data from as many Uralic languages as possible. The talk relates to the Theme session “Uralic Essive” as part of the conference.