Factivity from pre-existence: evidence from Barguzin Buryat
Tanya Bondarenko
September 2020

This paper examines a factivity alternation in Barguzin Buryat (Mongolic) with the verb hanaxa, whose meaning depends on its complement. When hanaxa combines with CPs, it behaves like a non-factive verb meaning ‘think’. However, when it takes nominalized clauses as its complement, it exhibits a factive inference and is naturally translated as ‘remember’. I assume the decompositional approach to the semantics of attitude reports (Kratzer 2016; Bogal-Allbritten 2017; Elliott 2017) and argue that the factivity alternation arises because CPs and nominalized expressions combine in different ways: while CPs modify the verb’s event argument and provide the content of thoughts, nominalized clauses saturate the internal argument, which for the verb meaning ‘think’ denotes the topic of thoughts — what the thinking is about. I propose that there is a pre-existence presupposition associated with this about-argument: an entity that is the topic of thoughts is presupposed to have started existing before the time of the thinking eventuality. I argue that this presupposition is what gives rise to the factive inference with nominalized expressions and what the ‘remember’ translation is trying to convey.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005006
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: accepted at Glossa
keywords: factivity alternation, pre-existence presupposition, trivalence, nominalized clauses, semantics of attitude verbs, buryat, mongolic, semantics
previous versions: v2 [July 2020]
v1 [January 2020]
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