Raffaella Zanuttini presents talk at Penn

April 7, 2015
On March 26th, Professor Raffaella Zanuttini gave a talk as part of the Linguistics Department’s Speaker Series at the University of Pennsylvania. Her talk, titled “Presentatives in Italian and English” focused on the syntactic structure of presentatives as well as their connection to the notion of speaker and hearer.
Here is the abstract for the talk:
Many languages exhibit “presentatives”, sentences with a unique sentential form associated with the function of bringing an entity (or set of entities, or an event) to the attention of an interlocutor (or “presentee”):
(1)    a. Here’s a slice of pizza (all speakers of American English)
        b. Ecco una fetta di pizza. (Italian)
The “presentee” may be overtly realized as a weak pronoun, as in (2), and is typically restricted to 2nd person:
(2)    a. Here’s you a slice of pizza. (some speakers of Southern American English)
        b. Eccoti una fetta di pizza.
            ecco-you a slice of pizza (Italian)
         ‘Here’s a slice of pizza for you.’
These sentences have received relatively little scrutiny and yet are particularly interesting for a variety of reasons, especially in light of recent discussions on the nature of datives pronouns and the representation of speaker and addressee in the syntax.
In this talk, I will discuss presentatives focusing on Italian and English, and offer the beginning of an analysis of their syntactic structure, highlighting their similarities with locative and existential sentences and the need to better understand their connection to the notion of speaker and hearer.


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