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The Syntax of Meteorology

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Most contemporary theorists agree that aspects of the context of an utterance systematically contribute to the uptake of the truth-conditional content of the utterance. Disagreement arises over what extra-linguistic factors are relevant and how such factors are triggered or made salient by a given utterance for the speaker-hearer to exploit. The use of meteorological predicates in so-called ‘weather reports’ has been the focus of much of the debate and will be my focus, too. The paper argues, following Recanati, that meteorological verbs do not thematically (syntactically) feature a locative position, either as part of their syntactic projection or as part of their lexical content. This conclusion will be reached, however, not by way of Recanati’s arguments (some of which will be rejected), but by way of general considerations on the syntax-semantics interface.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Linguistic Society series.

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