Homepage of Sandhya Sundaresan.  

Indexical Shift

Monstrous agreement

Coming soon!

This paper will investigate the phenomenon of "monstrous agreement" -- namely the agreement that is triggered on a verb in the immediate scope of a nominative anaphor in the clausal complement of a speech predicate -- in detail. I will argue that this agreement manifests a form of indexical shift for 1st-person. The primary language of investigation will be the Dravidian language Tamil, but  parallels  will be drawn with other languages like the related Dravidian language Telugu, as well as typologically unrelated languages like Donna So and potentially also Amharic and Uyghur. The paper will also focus on aspects of micro variation in the nature of monstrous agreement in Tamil based on the results of fieldwork conducted among native Tamil speakers in South India. 

May 2014. Talk Handout. ZAS Semantikzirkel. ZAS, Berlin. 

The talk examines a puzzling construction in the Dravidian language Tamil where the presence of a nominative anaphor in the complement of a speech predicate feeds 1st-person agreement on its clausemate verb. Based on independent tests involving NPI-licensing and wh-movement, I show that the complement clause is not quoted but is an indirect speech report. The 1st-person agreement is an instance of indexical shift for 1st-person -- a phenomenon I term "monstrous agreement". The paper focusses on how to derive the person features on the agreement. Furthermore, the fact that indexical shift is able to feed agreement, a prototypically morphosyntactic phenomenon, at all --- is taken to indicate that whatever is responsible for causing indexical shift must be encoded already at the level of syntax (so that it can influence both LF and PF interpretation).  

2012. Context and (Co)reference in the syntax and its interfaces. Part III: 207-291. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Tromsø/Stuttgart

May 2016. Keynote talk at the STuTs student conference, Universtität Leipzig

The talk looks at two different phenomena involving person mismatch in language, where we have a form that is normally interpreted as being of person x, instead being used to refer to person y, namely: (i) indexical shift involving so-called "monsters" and (ii) imposters. I'll introduce both phenomena from scratch and argue that, despite their similarities, monsters and imposters are actually very different. In particular, only imposters involve a genuine case of form-meaning mismatch. Monsters seem to involve a mismatch (e.g. for person) on the surface, but in fact, if we look deeper, the mismatch is not one of form and meaning, but a different kind of mismatch, specifically one of the context against which the meaning of person is evaluated. 

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