Events

The goal of this talk is to provide a principled account of the factors determining whether a given control verb permits partial control, in terms of semantic properties of the predicate in question.

The ability of certain control predicates to participate in configurations where the controller is a proper subset of the plurality given by the understood subject constitutes a puzzle in the study of control. Such predicates include intend, remember and be glad:

1a. John intended to assemble in the hall.

1b. John remembered assembling in the hall.

1c. John was glad to assemble in the hall.

Matters are complicated further by the existence of a class of predicates that do not permit partial control:

2a. *John tried to assemble in the hall.

2b. *John managed to assemble in the hall.

2c. *John deserved to assemble in the hall.

2d. *John claimed to assemble in the hall.

2e. *John pretended to assemble in the hall.

We identify two semantic properties that are jointly necessary and sufficient to diagnose membership of a given control predicate in the partial control class: (I) the predicate must be a ‘canonical’ attitude predicate (it must be well-behaved with respect to intensional properties, unlike say try (Grano, 2011; Sharvit, 2003); (II) the verb may not be a simultaneous predicate (where the term is understood in a modified sense from that familiar from (Abusch, 2004; Wurmbrand, 2011)).

After elaborating on (I) and (II) we provide a semantics that sheds light on their respective roles in determining the availability of partial control. The proposal crucially depends on the view that attitude predicates – and by extensions those control predicates that describe attitudes – are quantifiers over centred worlds. To the extent that our account is correct, it therefore vindicates the proposal in (Chierchia, 1990) that a control complement expresses a property. This is the opposite conclusion from that drawn by Landau, who argues that the existence of partial control implies that control complements must be of propositional type (Landau, 2000).