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Fusco (2022), Trovo vs. considero: Expressing subjective attitudes in Italian

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conference contribution
posted on 28.07.2022, 13:08 authored by Achille Fusco

Proceedings of the ESSLLI 2022 Student Session

Trovo vs. considero: Expressing subjective attitudes in Italian

Achille Fusco

Subjective Attitude Verbs (SAVs), like find and consider, are propositional attitude verbs which only embed subjective clauses (Sæbø 2009), including, crucially, clauses having a predicate of personal taste (PPTs, see Lasersohn 2005) as the main predicate. Since PPTs are often said to require a relativization to some ‘judge’ (Lasersohn 2005, Stephenson 2007a, 2007b), SAVs are conceived as being sensitive to such relativity. Although several formal accounts have been put forward, some fundamental aspects remain controversial. On one hand, some authors have denied that SAV-judgements imply a belief of the matrix subject (Bouchard 2012, Sæbø 2009). On the other hand, the nature of their selectivity is still unclear, given that ordinary gradable adjectives are also acceptable under SAVs: this fact has been accounted for in terms of a semantic ambiguity between purely dimensional and evaluative senses (Kennedy 2013, 2016). In order to address these issues, it is here proposed to frame subjective judgements in contexts of potential doxastic conflict, i.e., situations where a speaker holds a belief that p but, for some reasons, her perceptual experience (temporarily) suggests that ¬p. Results from an experimental study conducted in Italian, testing native speakers’ acceptability intuitions on such constructions, suggest that trovo (‘find’) differs from considero (‘consider’) in that it lacks a doxastic component. Furthermore, the supposed polysemy of gradable adjectives proposed by Kennedy (2013) was not sufficient to explain the results obtained.


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