Bernat Castro – Insubordinate Attitudes
Seminari del CLT
BERNAT CASTRO (UAB)
Divendres, 29 de maig de 2020
In Spanish (and in other languages), the interrogative element used for asking for a manner, “cómo” ‘how’, can also be used for asking for an explanation. In fact, it is (almost) impossible to interpret a sentence like (1) as a question for a manner (i.e. it could not be answered with “By train”, but only with, e.g., “She was really tired”).
(1) ¿Cómo María no ha venido?
how Mary not has come
These (broadly speaking) causal questions are very generally associated with the expression of the speaker’s attitude towards the proposition under interrogation (‘Mary has not come’, in (1)). Different nuances are possible, but, generally speaking, the attitude expressed is one of surprise.
This appears to be related to sentences like (1) being very difficult to embed, as shown in (2). This is the line of analysis that will be pursued.
(2) *Juan nos dijo cómo María no había venido.
John to.us said3S how Mary not had3S come
However, this causal “cómo” can appear under some predicates, as shown in (3). In addition, a structure with a similar meaning, “cómo es que” ‘how is it that’, presented in (4), is also typically associated with the expression of a surprise attitude and, in spite of this, it can be embedded much more easily, as shown in (5).
(3) No sé cómo María no vino.
not know1S how Mary not came3S
(4) ¿Cómo es que María no ha venido?
how is that Mary not has come?
(5) Juan nos dirá cómo es que María no vino.
John to.us will.say3S how is that Mary not came3S
This presentation will offer a syntactic account of these facts by adopting a cartographic approach over the Complementizer Phrase (i.e. the left periphery of the sentence). More specifically, it will be proposed that the attitude typically conveyed with these questions can be analyzed as being made up of different components.