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Slavic Grammar from a Formal Perspective

The 10th Anniversary FDSL Conference, Leipzig 2013


Edited By Gerhild Zybatow, Petr Biskup, Marcel Guhl, Claudia Hurtig, Olav Mueller-Reichau and Maria Yastrebova

The proceedings of the 10 th European Conference on Formal Description of Slavic Languages in Leipzig 2013 offer current formal investigations into Slavic morphology, phonology, semantics, syntax and information structure. In addition to papers of the main conference, the volume presents those of two special workshops: «Formal Perspectives and Diachronic Change in Slavic Languages» and «Various Aspects of Heritage Language». The following languages are addressed: Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS), Bulgarian, Czech, Macedonian, Old Church Slavonic, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Resian, Slovak and Slovene.
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Epistemic indefinites under epistemic modals in Czech


← 424 | 425 →Radek Šimík

University of Potsdam/SFB632

Epistemic indefinites (EIs) – formed in Czech by the postfix -si attached to wh-words – express, beyond standard indefinite semantics1, ignorance about the precise identity of the referent. In (1), for instance, the speaker does not know the identity of the student that called2.


Hledal tě jakýsi student.

looked.for you.acc some.EI student

‘Some student was looking for you (but I don’t know who it was).’

The ignorance implication introduced by the EI is conventional (though not “at issue”; see Potts 2005 or Simons et al. 2011) and cannot be easily cancelled, e.g. by saying ‘Guess who (it was)’, which would signal that the speaker knows the identity of the referent (the guess-who test is used, e.g., in Aloni & Port 2013); see (2a). Other indefinites only conversationally implicate ignorance, (2b), or even suggest the knowledge of the referent’s identity, (2c).

← 425 | 426 →(2)


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