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Aaron in NLLT on Control

January 21, 2021 Linguistics

PhD students Sigwan Thivierge and Aaron Dolina, sitting outside on a bright but cool Spring day, wearing light jackets and drinking iced coffees

An analysis of "proxy control" in German and Italian, where 'Maria asked Bill to leave" is used to mean that Maria sought permission for people she represents.

Congratulations to Aaron Doliana, whose paper with Sandhya Sundaresan, "Proxy Control: A new species of control in grammar," is now out in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. The provides a description and analysis of cases in German and Italian where the understood referent of PRO is not the referent of the subject, but of a group for which that referent stands proxy. It argues that "proxy control can be instantiated both as a species of obligatory control (OC) and non-obligatory control (NOC)," and "investigate[s] the factors that condition [the choice between] exhaustive vs. partial vs. proxy [...] control, which then sheds light on why proxy control obtains in some languages, but not others and, within a language, is possible for some speakers but not others."