Prof. Jacek Witkoś


Prof. Jacek Witkoś

How to quarrel over silence: on the subject of infinitives


This presentation concerns a current and ongoing debate concerning empty categories in syntax, of which one has particularly interesting properties and has been known as PRO(noun, but a silent one). The protagonists in this debate differ as to whether (1) PRO and the relations it is involved in results from a local movement of its antecedent or not, and whether (2) a particular interpretation PRO receives in a given example is determined chiefly by the syntactic component of the derivation and to what extent other factors play a role here (lexical semantics, pragmatics, etc.). The presentation outlines key elements of each approach and highlights particular items in the debate, with data coming from different languages.

Coffee and biscuits do not feature on the menu but a brief glimpse at the academic and linguistic horn of plenty will be a proper compensation as food for thought.