Event Detail

Thu Nov 10, 2022
Howison Library
4–6 PM
Graduate Research Colloquium
Mathias Boehm
What We Learn from Indicatives

In this paper I will take a close look at the discourse dynamics of simple indicative sentences, at how sentences such as “If Ann is on campus, she is in the library” affect the common ground of a conversation. I will look at two extant theories and argue that while both get some things right, both have their drawbacks. I then develop an alternative theory which combines their benefits (and rids us of their drawbacks). I close the paper by discussing some broader consequences of my view. As I will argue, the view presented in this paper goes against a current dynamic trend in semantics, a trend according to which providing a theory of meaning for some fragment of language just is to provide a theory of the discourse dynamics of that fragment.