Séminaire invité Maria Polinsky

Morphosyntax of exceptive constructions

Site Pouchet salle 221

Morphosyntax of exceptive constructions


Maria Polinsky

polinsky [at] umd.edu




Natural language allows us to express universal statements, and languages also have means of expressing exceptions to such generalizations, via exceptive constructions. English examples include “Everybody but Joe laughed” and “Everybody laughed except Joe”. Linguistic means of expressing exclusion have received modest attention from philosophers of language and semanticists, whose focus has been primarily on English. Beyond that small body of work, little is known about exceptive constructions across the world’s languages: how they are built, what their distribution is within and across languages, and how they compare to other constructions expressing comparison or contrast. In this talk, I make a small step toward filling the gaps in the morphosyntactic analysis of exceptives. In particular, I present and analyze the landscape of exceptive constructions in several natural languages focusing on the structural contrast between free/connected exceptives and phrasal/clausal exceptives. This exploration is then connected to more general issues of ellipsis and case marking in exceptive phrases. I also present the questionnaire on exceptive constructions developed in an ongoing project and invite comments and feedback on this questionnaire.


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