Locative Shift
Philippe Schlenker
May 2018

In sign language, one may sometimes re-use a locus that originally referred to a spatial location in order to denote an individual found at that location ('Locative Shift'). We suggest that Locative Shift arises when a covert individual-denoting variable a is merged with a location-denoting locus b to form a complex expression a_b, which denotes a situation stage of an individual. We investigate basic properties of Locative Shift in ASL: the phenomenon extends to temporal and modal shift; indexical loci are not usually locative-shifted; Locative Shift may have interpretive consequences, some of which appear to be at-issue; and Locative Shift can occur in highly iconic cases, possibly even without prior establishment of a situation-denoting locus. We further investigate the behavior of the co-opted loci under predicate ellipsis. The individual component of a locative-shifted locus can be bound, and in some cases its locative specification can be disregarded in the elided clause, under conditions that are reminiscent of the behavior of phi-features. In other cases, locative specifications are preserved under ellipsis, possibly even with elided indexical pronouns, whose overt counterparts resist Locative Shift. Some of our main findings can be replicated in LSF, although our data leave many questions open. Finally, we argue that some pointing gestures in English can undergo something like Locative Shift.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003482
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Glossa.
keywords: sign language semantics, anaphora, loci, locative shift, agreement, ellipsis, semantics, morphology, syntax
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