A closer look at the perceptual source in copy raising constructions


  • Rachel Etta Rudolph




Simple claims with the verb ‘seem’, as well as the specific sensory verbs, ‘look’, ‘sound’, etc., require the speaker to have some relevant kind of perceptual acquaintance (Pearson, 2013; Ninan, 2014). But different forms of these reports differ in their perceptual requirements. For example, the copy raising (CR) report, ‘Tom seems like he’s cooking’ requires the speaker to have seen Tom, while its expletive subject (ES) variant, ‘It seems like Tom is cooking’, does not (Rogers, 1972; Asudeh and Toivonen, 2012). This contrast has led some theorists to hold that the matrix subject in CR constructions is uniformly interpreted as the perceptual source (p-source) (Asudeh and Toivonen, 2012; Rett and Hyams, 2014). Others, based on examples of CR reports that seem not to require perception of the referent of the matrix subject, have taken the p-source interpretation instead to be non-uniform across CR reports (Landau, 2011; Doran, 2015). We reconsider these theoretical approaches to copy raising in light of new experimental work probing the sensitivity of these requirements to the matrix verb, the embedded ‘like’-clause, and the context. While we find some motivation for a non-uniform p-source analysis, it comes from importantly different cases than those others have relied on. Furthermore, our findings cast doubt on the prevalent assumption that the perceptual requirements of CR reports are to be captured solely by the presence or absence of the p-source interpretation. We suggest that the data motivating a non-uniform p-source view are better captured by an alternative approach, which makes use of a more minimal evidential source role, in place of the perceptual source role. We close by considering the relationship between English copy raising and evidential constructions cross-linguistically.




How to Cite

Rudolph, R. E. (2019). A closer look at the perceptual source in copy raising constructions. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 23(2), 287–304. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2019.v23i2.612