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Lecturer: Valentina Bianchi

Seminar in linguistics (a.a. 2019/20)


In this seminar, I review some conceptual and empirical motivations for adopting situations, rather than possible worlds, as the basis of the intensional apparatus for natural language semantics; I then focus on the mereology of situations outlined in Kratzer (1989), and on the notion of (Austinian) topic situation. With this background, I discuss the distinction between stage-level predicates (like e.g. tired) and individual-level predicates (like e.g. handsome), and I explore the hypothesis that basic lexical predicates denote sets of pairs of individuals and situations: e.g., the noun doctor would denote a set of pairs of an individual and a situation that the individual partakes in as a doctor. Time permitting, I will also discuss a possible connection with symmetric predicative structures, in the sense of Moro (2000, 2017).


November 11th 2019, 14 - 16.30


  • Klein, W. 2008. The topic situation. In B. Ahrenholz, U. Bredel, W. Klein, M. Rost-Roth & R. Skiba (eds.), Empirische forschungen und theoriebildung, 287-305. Geburstag.
  • Kratzer, A. 1989. An investigation into the lumps of thought. Linguistics and Philosophy 12, 607-653.
  • Kratzer, A. 2017. Situations in natural language semantics. Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/situations-semantics/
  • Moro, A. 2000. Dynamic antisymmetry. Cambridge, Mass., The MIT Press.
  • Moro, A. 2017. Copular sentences. In Everaert, M. & van Riemsdijk & H. (eds.), The companion to syntax, Second Edition, chap. 43. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.


Credits: 0.5


Course type : Type b

Period: Semester I

Academic year: 2019-2020

Duration : 2.5 hours