Now out: Dozing eyes and drunken faces

 In many languages of the world, emotions and medical conditions are not attributed to an individual, but to a certain body part. For example, instead of saying “I am sad”, you may have to say something along the lines of “my heart is heavy” in many languages. In these cases, the meaning of “being sad” does not reside in a single word. “Heart” alone does not express sadness, and neither does “heavy”. Only the combination of the two can express this concept. The question is then how such languages form expressions that refer to an abstract emotion such as “sadness” . And the answer is that there are different strategies. One strategy is to say something like “the heaviness of the heart”. The Oceanic language Daakaka, however, uses a different strategy. Here, an emotion concept is expressed by a structure such as “the heavy heart”. This paper investigates these differences and their implications. Get it here or ask me for the preprint.

The future is what the universe wants

There was a remarkable small workshop on imperatives at ZAS last week that I was happy to be part of. It was a welcome opportunity to take up my work on potential mood directives in Daakaka and their relations to future assertions and embedded clauses. You can see my slides here.

Towards an ontology of modal flavours

modal flavours wordleI’m still feeling warm and fuzzy from the wonderful workshop we had last week at the DGfS conference about modal flavours. The idea for this workshop had formed last year during the SIAS summer institute on the investigation of linguistic meaning, together with Ryan Bochnak and Anne Mucha. We were very happy to win Aynat Rubinstein as our invited speaker and get some excellent submissions from various subfields of linguistics. We gave an overview of background motivations and common themes of the talks in our introduction.


Out now: Indefinites in Daakaka (Vanuatu)

There are two indefinite articles in the Oceanic language Daakaka, TUSWA and SWA. Like weak NPIs or unspecific indefinites in many other languages, TUSWA is excluded from positive assertions about the episodic past or present. In this paper, I try to locate them within the cross-linguistic space of indefinites and NPIs and sketch out an approach to account for their differences.

Read the full paper here.

Alienability as control — now out in print

I was fortunate to be invited as a contributor to a special edition of Lingua (in pre-Glossa times) on possession. My article  on “Alienability as control” is now out in print at long last and, alas, behind a paywall. You can contact me to get the manuscript.