Formalizing linguistic perspective: insights from spatial anaphora
Sandhya Sundaresan, Hazel Pearson
November 2014

Perspectival predicates along the mental dimension (psych/attitude/“taste” predicates) and along the spatial one (locational and path predicates) systematically resemble one another syntactically, semantically, and morphologically. The ways they differ from one another (categorially and crosslinguistically) are also suggestive and set them apart from non-perspectival predicates. But for all their telling similarities/differences, spatial and mental predicates are seldom discussed in the same breath, and the syntactico-semantic conditions regulating the representation of different types of perspective remain poorly understood. Here, we take a first step toward filling this gap. Our empirical starting point, which we exploit to derive the parallels between mental and spatial predication, is the observation that the antecedents of all perspectival anaphors, including spatial-perspective-driven anaphors, must denote sentient individuals. On the strength of such data, we propose that all perspective is ultimately mental in nature. In particular, we argue that all perspectival predicates quantify over elements of a set that are designated by a sentient entity as candidates for the actual time/location/world of that entity. The difference between spatial, temporal, and attitudinal/psych predicates, lies merely in the choice of this coordinate – a choice that may in turn be parametrized with respect to the nature and category of predication involved.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002270
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: A fleshed out paper version of our talk at LAGB 2014. Comments welcome!
keywords: linguistic perspective, spatial anaphora, snake sentences, predication, selection, sentience, syntax, semantic, categories, parameters
previous versions: v1 [November 2014]
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