Relinquishing Control: What Romanian De Se Attitude Reports Teach Us About Immunity To Error Through Misidentification

In Alessandro Capone, Una Stojnic, Ernie Lepore, Denis Delfitto, Anne Reboul, Gaetano Fiorin, Kenneth A. Taylor, Jonathan Berg, Herbert L. Colston, Sanford C. Goldberg, Edoardo Lombardi Vallauri, Cliff Goddard, Anna Wierzbicka, Magdalena Sztencel, Sarah E. Duffy, Alessandra Falzone, Paola Pennisi, Péter Furkó, András Kertész, Ágnes Abuczki, Alessandra Giorgi, Sona Haroutyunian, Marina Folescu, Hiroko Itakura, John C. Wakefield, Hung Yuk Lee, Sumiyo Nishiguchi, Brian E. Butler, Douglas Robinson, Kobie van Krieken, José Sanders, Grazia Basile, Antonino Bucca, Edoardo Lombardi Vallauri & Kobie van Krieken (eds.), Indirect Reports and Pragmatics in the World Languages. Springer. pp. 299-313 (2019)
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Abstract
Higginbotham argued that certain linguistic items of English, when used in indirect discourse, necessarily trigger first-personal interpretations. They are: the emphatic reflexive pronoun and the controlled understood subject, represented as PRO. PRO is special, in this respect, due to its imposing obligatory control effects between the main clause and its subordinates ). Folescu & Higginbotham, in addition, argued that in Romanian, a language whose grammar doesn’t assign a prominent role to PRO, de se triggers are correlated with the subjunctive mood of certain verbs. That paper, however, didn’t account for the grammatical diversity of the reports that display immunity to error through misidentification in Romanian: some of these reports are expressed by using de se triggers; others are not. Their IEM, moreover, is not systematically lexically controlled by the verbs, via their theta-roles; it is, rather, determined by the meaning of the verbs in question. Given the data from Romanian, I will argue, the phenomenon of IEM cannot be fully explained starting either from the syntactical or the lexical structure of a language.
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