Our own María Biezma will present “Life on the loose” in the Linguistics colloquium series at 3:30 Friday March 26. An abstract follows. All are welcome!
Insubordinated clauses (see Evans 2007) across languages are often associated with a wide range of meanings not present in their subordinated counterparts. A given insubordinated clause is often said to be able to convey surprise, commands, reports etc., depending on the context of utterance. The disparity between the associated meanings has often led to proposals arguing that the original complementizer has acquired different meanings in insubordinated contexts and the speaker is then facing an ambiguity that is resolved in the context of utterance.
In this talk I will investigate a case of insubordination in Spanish that has been discussed in the literature in the terms described above. Instead of defending an ambiguity analysis, I will argue that a unified analysis is possible once we look beyond the sentence level and revisit the data from this perspective. At the theoretical level, the claim is that we can explain how potentially unrelated meanings are brought about by considering that utterances are proposals to update the context and taking into account the relation between utterances and the proposed update.