We develop a new theory of the cognitive changes around 4 years of age by trying to explain why understanding of false belief and of alternative naming emerge at this age. We make use of the notion of discourse referents as it is used in FileChangeSemantics, one of the early forms of the more widely known Discourse Representation Theory. The assumed cognitive change exists in how children can link DRs in their mind to external (...) referents. The younger children check whether the conditions for a DR match the conditions of an external entity. The older children, in addition, have an explicit understanding of reference in virtue of making explicit identity assertions. This involves the metarepresentational ability of representing that different DRs represent the same external referent, which — we argue — is required for alternative naming and for the false belief task. (shrink)
We show that vector space semantics and functional semantics in two-sorted first order logic are equivalent for pregroup grammars. We present an algorithm that translates functional expressions to vector expressions and vice-versa. The semantics is compositional, variable free and invariant under change of order or multiplicity. It includes the semantic vector models of Information Retrieval Systems and has an interior logic admitting a comprehension schema. A sentence is true in the interior logic if and only if (...) the ‘usual’ first order formula translating the sentence holds. The examples include negation, universal quantifiers and relative pronouns. (shrink)
In the history of formal semantics, the successful joining of linguistic and philosophical work brought with it some difficult foundational questions concerning the nature of meaning and the nature of knowledge of language in the domain of semantics: questions in part about “what’s in the head” of a competent language-user. This paper, part of a project on the history of formal semantics, revisits the central issues of (Partee, 1979) in a historical context, as a clash between two (...) traditions, Fregean and Chomskyan, a clash that accompanied early work combining Montague’s semantics with Chomskyan syntax. Recent advances in philosophy of mind (from, e.g., Stalnaker and Burge) go a long way towards changing the framework of arguments about “psychological reality” and “competence”, challenging the suppositions on which the original dichotomy rested, thus largely defusing the tension. (shrink)
This new and important study of semantic change examines how new meanings arise through language use, especially the various ways in which speakers and writers experiment with uses of words and constructions in the flow of strategic interaction with addressees. In the last few decades there has been growing interest in exploring systemicities in semantic change from a number of perspectives including theories of metaphor, pragmatic inferencing, and grammaticalization. Like earlier studies, these have for the most part been (...) based on data taken out of context. This book is the first detailed examination of semantic change from the perspective of historical pragmatics and discourse analysis. Drawing on extensive corpus data from over a thousand years of English and Japanese textual history, Traugott and Dasher show that most changes in meaning originate in and are motivated by the associative flow of speech and conceptual metonymy. (shrink)
Linguists have debated whether complex prepositions deserve a constituent status, but none have proposed a dynamic model that can both predict what construal a given pattern imposes and account for the emergence of non-spatial readings. This paper reframes the debate on constituency as a justification of the constructional status of complex prepositional patterns from a historical perspective. It focuses on the Prep NP IL of NP lm construction, which denotes a relation of internal location between a located entity and a (...) reference entity. Four subschemas of the Internal Location construction are examined: middle cxn, center cxn, heart cxn, and midst cxn. All occurrences are extracted from the COHA, along with their co-occurring landmark NPs. Using vocabulary growth curves, all patterns are shown to be productive over the whole period covered by the corpus, although at different levels. Using word2vec, a semantic vector space with the landmark collocates of each pattern is made. Curves indexed on association scores are plotted to see how densely semantic areas have been populated across four consecutive periods: 1810s–1860s, 1870s–1910s, 1920s–1970s, and 1980s–2000s. Two divisions of labor have emerged. midst cxn and heart cxn are in complementary distribution and operate mostly at the level of abstract locations whereas middle cxn and center cxn are in parallel distribution and operate at the level of concrete locations. (shrink)
Three long papers are collected here which constitute Chomsky’s major theoretical work on syntax and semantics subsequent to the "standard theory" of Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Since 1965, transformational-generative linguists have suggested various changes in "standard theory," centering on the relationship between the syntactic and semantic components in natural language grammars. In these papers Chomsky explains several specific problems that require the extension of standard theory and he criticizes the proposals and arguments of the generative semanticists, attempting (...) to show that many of the specific features of language that are claimed to support the generativist position are as well or better explained by extended standard theory, and emphasizing that most of the generativist’s proposals turn out to be mere "notational variants," evidentially indistinguishable from extended standard theory. Aside from appealing to particular data favoring his "lexicalist" defense of syntactic deep structure, Chomsky makes a Popperean appeal that his position is preferable because it is more constraining and more falsifiable. (shrink)
Prototype theory makes a crucial distinction between central and peripheral sense of words. Geeraerts explores the implications of this model for a theory of semantic change, in the first full-scale treatment of the impact of the most recent developments in lexicological theory on the study of meaning change. He identifies structural features of the development of word meanings which follow from a prototype-theoretical model of semantic structure, and incorporates these diachronic prototypicality effects into a theory of meaning (...) class='Hi'>change. (shrink)
Relational Grammar (RG) was introduced in the 1970s as a theory of grammatical relations and relation change, for example, passivization, dative shift, and raising. Furthermore, the idea behind RG was that transformations as originally designed in generative grammar were unable to capture the common kernel of, e.g., passivization across languages. The researchconducted within RG has uncovered a wealth of phenomena for which it could produce a satisfactory analysis. Although the theory of Government and Binding has answered some (...) of the complaints, still it left many phenomena unaccounted for. Referent Systems (RSs) have been introduced by Vermeulen (1995) to overcome certain weaknesses of Dynamic Semantics. Their usefulness has not yet been realized in semantical theory. We shall show here that their significance cannot be overestimated. Namely, we will show in this paper that there exists a fundamental affinity to RG. Both handle the relation between an argument and a functor by means of a shared relational sign, which is unique for each argument. This assignment can be changed. What is interesting is that the notion of a chômeur, which is central to RG, finds a natural treatment in RSs. This coincidence is in our view not accidental but reveals some fundamental properties of the human language faculty. (shrink)
In this interpretive analysis, Ravin argues that thematic roles are not valid semantic entities, and that syntax and semantics are indeed autonomous and independent of one another. Suggesting a decompositional approach to lexical semantics in the spirit of Katz's semantic theory, the book considers such theoretical issues as indeterminacy and ambiguity, lexical configuration rules, and lexical projection, and analyzes the semantic content of event concepts such as causation, action, and change.
Within the framework of cognitive linguistics and construction grammar, it is claimed in this paper that the semantics of psuche is motivated by cognitive, cultural, and constructional parameters of meaning. More specifically, it is argued that psyche, as the immaterial nature of a human being, and the seat of emotions and feelings in particular, is understood in terms of image-based metaphors, a cultural model of the self, and a cultural narrative of existence. It is also argued that the (...) frequent occurrence of psyche in a number of collocations and idioms motivates and constrains constructional meaning. At the same time, constructions motivate extended senses of this word, thereby contributing to its polysemy and ultimately to semantic change. The evidence presented within this framework argues against a fixed borderline between lexical and constructional meaning. This view, long and tacitly adopted in lexicographic practice by necessity, is gaining further support within current research in the framework of lexicography, corpus linguistics, lexical semantics, language change, and construction grammar. (shrink)
One of the central issues in modern linguistics has been the relationship between syntax and semantics. Within the framework of generative grammar, established by Chomsky in the early 1960s, it has been assumed that syntax is distinct from, and independent of, semantics. This premise has been challenged recently by Chomsky himself; he now proposes semantics, and in particular thematic roles, as the basis for generating syntactic structures. Yael Ravin argues that thematic roles are not valid semantic (...) entities, and that syntax and semantics are indeed autonomous and independent of one another. She advocates a Decompositional approach to lexical semantics, in the spirit of Katz's semantic theory. In the course of her argument she discusses theoretical issues such as indeterminacy and ambiguity, lexical configuration rules, and lexical projection, and analyses the semantic content of event concepts such as causation, action, and change. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the hypothesis that constructions — here understood primarily as the dependencies of Word Grammar — can undergo systematic change, sometimes partly due to the effects of the grammaticalization of a lexical item or class of lexical items. I argue that the development of will as a future tense marker in English involves the development of a new construction where two separate syntactic items are associated with a single event in the semantics. I (...) also look at the loss of the impersonal construction in English, where it has been argued that the change is driven by an increase in the schematicity of the Transitive Construction, as well as having been argued that dative experiencers have been reclassified as subjects. I observe that it has also been noted that dative experiencers could function as subjects in earlier varieties of English, and suggest that this is an example of category strengthening. (shrink)
This book offers a new approach to the analysis of the multiple meanings of English modals, conjunctions, conditionals, and perception verbs. Although such ambiguities cannot easily be accounted for by feature-analyses of word meaning, Eve Sweetser's argument shows that they can be analyzed both readily and systematically. Meaning relationships in general cannot be understood independently of human cognitive structure, including the metaphorical and cultural aspects of that structure. Sweetser shows that both lexical polysemy and pragmatic ambiguity are shaped by our (...) metaphorical folk understanding of epistemic processes and of speech interaction. Similar regularities can be shown to structure the contrast among root, epistemic and speech act uses of modal verbs, multiple uses of conjunctions and conditionals, and certain processes of historical change observed in Indo-European languages. Since polysemy is typically the intermediate step in semantic change, the same regularities observable in polysemy can be extended to an analysis of semantic change. (shrink)
Una Stojnić's Context and Coherence: The Logic and Grammar of Prominence offers a series of interesting criticisms of the classical dynamic paradigm in natural language semantics and offers a sophisticated alternative outlook, one that does recognize a dynamic, context change inducing dimension of meaning but at the same preserves the idea that (declarative) utterances express propositions in context. The purpose of this note is to set the record straight: existing dynamic analyses of modals and conditionals compare favorably (...) with Stojnić's dynamic propositionalism. (shrink)
Although there is a broad consensus that both the procedural and declarative memory systems play a crucial role in language learning, use, and knowledge, the mapping between linguistic types and memory structures remains underspecified: by default, a dual-route mapping of language systems to memory systems is assumed, with declarative memory handling idiosyncratic lexical knowledge and procedural memory handling rule-governed knowledge of grammar.We experimentally contrast the processing of morphology (case and aspect), syntax (subordination), and lexical semantics (collocations) in a (...) healthy L1 population of Polish, a language rich in form distinctions. We study the processing of these four types under two conditions: a single task condition in which the grammaticality of stimuli was judged and a concurrent task condition in which grammaticality judgments were combined with a digit span task. Dividing attention impedes access to declarative memory while leaving procedural memory unaffected and hence constitutes a test that dissociates which types of linguistic information each long-term memory construct subserves.Our findings confirm the existence of a distinction between lexicon and grammar as a generative, dual-route model would predict, but the distinction is graded, as usage-based models assume: the hypothesized grammar–lexicon opposition appears as a continuum on which grammatical phenomena can be placed as being more or less “ruly” or “idiosyncratic.” However, usage-based models, too, need adjusting as not all types of linguistic knowledge are proceduralized to the same extent. This move away from a simple dichotomy fundamentally changes how we think about memory for language, and hence how we design and interpret behavioral and neuroimaging studies that probe into the nature of language cognition. (shrink)
Early in the resurgence of feminist philosophy that accompanied the “second wave” of the feminist movement in the 1960s and 1970s, language was recognized as a key issue. Because personal relations, politics, economics, religions, and academic disciplines are defined and carried on in language, practical reform or transformation in these areas is often blocked by insistence on logics, rules of grammar, systems of meaning, and uses of words that carry sexist implications. The question immediately presented itself as to whether (...) these barriers are changeable uses of words and reformable conventions of grammar, or constitutive of rationality and so not removable without risking unintelligibility. Is language a variable and flexible tool that can be used to describe independently existing differences between men and women, or are those differences projected in language? Even more important for feminists is the question of the relation between language and thought. Is language constitutive of thought so that any intelligible communicable thought is framed within established perimeters of possibly sexist meaning? Or can feminist beliefs and aspirations achieve independence from established meanings and lay groundwork for radical changes in human relations? Even more important: is the self constituted in language, or can freely thinking feminist selves hope to create more adequate means of communication and more truthful ways of naming reality? (shrink)
This paper explores the diachronic development of the English adverb again. A compositional semantic analysis of its grammar at various stages is provided. It is argued that this analysis must consist of a staging of first a lexical and then a structural change, in order to adequately model the sequence of individual developmental steps observed in the historical corpus data, and that it provides an insight into pathways of semantic change in general.
The mobile game “Immortal Conquest,” created by NetEase Games, caused a dramatic user dissatisfaction event after an introduction of a sudden and uninvited “pay-to-win” update. As a result, many players filed grievances against NetEase in a court. The official game website issued three apologies, with mix results, to mitigate the crisis. The goal of the present study is to understand user feedback content from the perspective of Situational Crisis Communication Theory through semantic network analysis and sentiment analysis to explore how (...) an enterprise’s crisis communication strategy affects users’ attitudes. First, our results demonstrate that the diminishing crisis communication strategies do not change players’ negative attitudes. It was not a failure because it successfully alleviated the players’ legal complaints and refocused their attention on the game itself. Second, the rebuild strategy was effective because it significantly increased the percentage of positive emotions and regenerated expectations for the game. The litigation crisis was identified within gamer communications with respect to Chinese gaming companies for the first time. Nevertheless, this does not indicate an increase in overall legal awareness among the larger Chinese population. It may only reflect greater legal awareness among Chinese online gamers. Fourth, gamers emphasized that they and enterprises should be equally involved when communicating with each other. Finally, in-game paid items should be reasonably priced, otherwise, they will drive users to competitors. (shrink)
Dynamic and proof-conditional approaches to discourse (exemplified by Discourse Representation Theory and Type-Theoretical Grammar, respectively) are related through translations and transitions labeled by first-order formulas with anaphoric twists. Type-theoretic contexts are defined relative to a signature and instantiated modeltheoretically, subject to change.
There are two kinds of semantic theories of anaphora. Some, such as Heim’s FileChangeSemantics, Groenendijk and Stokhof’s Dynamic Predicate Logic, or Muskens’ Compositional DRT (CDRT), seem to require full coindexing of anaphora and their antecedents prior to interpretation. Others, such as Kamp’s Discourse Representation Theory (DRT), do not require this coindexing and seem to have an important advantage here. In this squib I will sketch a procedure that the first group of theories may help themselves (...) to so that they can interleave interpretation and coindexing in DRT’s way. (shrink)
In traditional formal semantics the notions of reference, truth and satisfaction are basic and that of representation is derivative and dispensable. If a level of representation is included in the formal presentation of the theory, it is included as a heuristic. Semantics in the traditional sense has no bearing on any form of mental processing. When reference is understood within this framework, cognitive neuroscience cannot possibly provide any insights into the nature of reference. Traditional semantics, however, has (...) numerous shortcomings that render it inadequate as an account of natural language. Dynamic semantic theories, such as discourse representation theory (DRT), treat evergrowing, revisable mental representations as the basic semantic entities. Within this framework, there are two central notions of reference. New information may refer back to previously introduced discourse referents and discourse referents may refer to worldly entities. Because DRT treats mental representations as indispensable elements of the theory, evidence from neuroscience, particularly the recording of electroencephalograms (EEG) and its derivative event-related potentials (ERPs), can reasonably be thought to shed light on meaning and reference within this framework. In this chapter I first review the advantages of DRT in accommodating linguistic data and then review data from neuroscience that seem to support it. Finally, I consider some methodological concerns that have been raised about the neuroscientific approach to semantics. (shrink)
The subject matter of the paper is an analysis of the semantic relations between sentence negation, performative negation, and declarations in reference to utterances which speech acts theory gives the label of representatives. Apart from linguistic-semantic analyses, empirical studies have been conducted on the manner in which sentence negation and performative negation are processed. The results of Study I demonstrate that the semantic relation between sentence negation and performative negation changes depend on the type of comment (positive vs. negative), and (...) contextual factors (type of expectations towards events being commented on). As it turned out, when the situational context suggests a negative comment by the sender, participants offer similar interpretations of utterances with sentence negation and performative negation. In Study II the participants assessed the likelihood of the occurrence of the facts spoken of by a sender who uses sentence negation or performative negation. In a context suggesting positive utterances by the sender, a clear difference emerged between sentence negation and performative negation. This difference was not present in respect of negative expectations. The results achieved confirm the assumptions of the model of conversational inference regarding the influence of context on interpretation of a message. The recorded results indicate the semantic relations between declarations, sentence negation, and performative negation, which change depending on the affective significance of the message and contextual factors. (shrink)
The use of an elaborate system of co-verbial constructions is the hallmark of the Hungarian language and one of the biggest challenges a translator or a learner of this language has to face. Co-verbial constructions consist of verbs, or their derivates, accompanied by a limited number of prefixes or particles that modify their meanings. They not only perform numerous syntactic and lexical functions, which is important in terms of language production, but also are able to change the meaning of (...) the verb completely. The aim of this study is to trace the cognitive motivation behind the use of Hungarian co-verbial constructions with össze/szét and to show that the meanings developed by these constructions can be organized with reference to prototypical scenes structured in the form of a radial category. (shrink)
The standard way to represent anaphoric dependencies is to co-index the anaphor with its antecedent in the syntactic input to semantic rules, which then interpret such indices as variables. Dynamic theories (e.g. Kamp’s DRT, Heim’s FileChangeSemantics, Muskens’s Compositional DRT, etc) combine syntactic co-indexation with semantic left-to-right asymmetry. This captures the fact that the anaphor gets its referent from the antecedent and not vice versa. Formally, a text updates the input state of information to the output (...) state. In particular, an indexed antecedent updates the entity assigned to its index, and the output entity is then picked up as the referent by any subsequent co-indexed anaphor. (shrink)
So-called 'dynamic' semantic theories such as Kamp's discourse representation theory and Heim's filechangesemantics account for such phenomena as cross-sentential anaphora, donkey anaphora, and the novelty condition on indefinites, but compare unfavorably with Montague semantics in some important respects (clarity and simplicity of mathematical foundations, compositionality, handling of quantification and coordination). Preliminary efforts have been made by Muskens and by de Groote to revise and extend Montague semantics to cover dynamic phenomena. We present a (...) new higher-order theory of discourse semantics which improves on their accounts by incorporating a more articulated notion of context inspired by ideas due to David Lewis and to Craige Roberts. On our account, a context consists of a common ground of mutually accepted propositions together with a set of discourse referents preordered by relative salience. Employing a richer notion of contexts enables us to extend our coverage beyond pronominal anaphora to a wider range of presuppositional phenomena, such as the factivity of certain sentential-complement verbs, resolution of anaphora associated with arbitrarily complex definite descriptions, presupposition 'holes' such as negation, and the independence condition on the antecedents of conditionals. Formally, our theory is expressed within a higher-order logic with natural number type, separation-style subtyping, and dependent coproducts parameterized by the natural numbers. The system of semantic types builds on proposals due to Thomason and to Pollard in which the type of propositions (static meanings of sentential utterances) is taken as basic and worlds are constructed from propositions (rather than the other way around as in standard Montague semantics). (shrink)
In this paper I revisit the main arguments for a predicate analysis of descriptions in order to determine whether they do in fact undermine Russell's theory. I argue that while the arguments without doubt provide powerful evidence against Russell's original theory, it is far from clear that they tell against a quantificational account of descriptions.
In this paper we discuss a new perspective on the syntax-semantics interface. Semantics, in this new set-up, is not ‘read off’ from Logical Forms as in mainstream approaches to generative grammar. Nor is it assigned to syntactic proofs using a Curry-Howard correspondence as in versions of the Lambek Calculus, or read off from f-structures using Linear Logic as in Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG, Kaplan & Bresnan ). All such approaches are based on the idea that syntactic objects (...) (trees, proofs, fstructures) are somehow prior and that semantics must be parasitic on those syntactic objects. We challenge this idea and develop a grammar in which syntax and semantics are treated in a strictly parallel fashion. The grammar will have many ideas in common with the (converging) frameworks of categorial grammar and LFG, but its treatment of the syntax-semantics interface is radically different. Also, although the meaning component of the grammar is a version of Montague semantics and although there are obvious affinities between Montague’s conception of grammar and the work presented here, the grammar is not compositional, in the sense that composition of meaning need not follow surface structure. (shrink)
What is the function of concepts pertaining to meaning in socio-linguistic practice? In this study, the authors argue that we can approach a satisfactory answer by displacing the standard picture of meaning talk as a sort of description with a picture that takes seriously the similarity between meaning talk and various types of normative injunction. In their discussion of this approach, they investigate the more general question of the nature of the normative, as well as a range of important topics (...) specific to the philosophy of language. (shrink)
The paper proposes a semantics for contextual (i.e., Temporal and Locative) Prepositional Phrases (CPPs) like during every meeting, in the garden, when Harry met Sally and where I’m calling from. The semantics is embodied in a multi-modal extension of Combinatory Categoral Grammar (CCG). The grammar allows the strictly monotonic compositional derivation of multiple correct interpretations for “stacked” or multiple CPPs, including interpretations whose scope relations are not what would be expected on standard assumptions about surfacesyntactic command (...) and monotonic derivation. A type-hierarchy of functional modalities plays a crucial role in the specification of the fragment. (shrink)
During the last thirty years, most linguists and philosophers have assumed that meaning can be represented symbolically and that the mental processing of language involves the manipulation of symbols. Scholars have assembled strong evidence that there must be linguistic representations at several abstract levels--phonological, syntactic, and semantic--and that those representations are related by a describable system of rules. Because meaning is so complex, linguists often posit an equally complex relationship between semantic and other levels of grammar. The Semantics (...) of Syntax is an elegant and powerful analysis of the relationship between syntax and semantics. Noting that meaning is underdetermined by form even in simple cases, Denis Bouchard argues that it is impossible to build knowledge of the world into grammar and still have a describable grammar. He thus proposes simple semantic representations and simple rules to relate linguistic levels. Focusing on a class of French verbs, Bouchard shows how multiple senses can be accounted for by the assumption of a single abstract core meaning along with background information about how objects behave in the world. He demonstrates that this move simplifies the syntax at no cost to the descriptive power of the semantics. In two important final chapters, he examines the consequences of his approach for standard syntactic theories. (shrink)
Interesting observations and problems emerge as the author pursues a complete calculus of an adverbial logic. Author Bartsch establishes a total of 18 adverbial subcategories and proposes an equal number of logico-semantic basic constructions in a predicate logical notation to explain them. The logico-semantic basic constructions bring out certain aspects of adverbial semantics, insofar as they can be specified by predicate logical means. However, for a logical and linguistic analysis of adverbials to be complete, sentence semantic analysis - provided (...) it is carried out in a clear-cut manner with clear paraphrasing criteria, unambiguous notation and complete interpretation rules - must be supplemented by and combined with 'word semantics' and syntax in a more elaborate way. The topic of adverbial semantics is a complicated and rewarding field, and this book contains enough suggestions, challenging hypotheses and stimulating observations, so that anybody directly concerned with the study of adverbials will want to have a look. (shrink)
Dynamical Grammar explores the consequences for language acquisition, language evolution, and linguistic theory of taking the underlying architecture of the language faculty to be that of a complex adaptive dynamical system. It contains the first results of a new and complex model of language acquisition which the authors have developed to measure how far language input is reflected in language output and thereby get a better idea of just how far the human language faculty is hard-wired.
This paper gives a simple method for providing categorial brands of feature-based unification grammars with a model-theoretic semantics. The key idea is to apply the paradigm of fibred semantics (or layered logics, see Gabbay (1990)) in order to combine the two components of a feature-based grammar logic. We demonstrate the method for the augmentation of Lambek categorial grammar with Kasper/Rounds-style feature logic. These are combined by replacing (or annotating) atomic formulas of the first logic, i.e. the (...) basic syntactic types, by formulas of the second. Modelling such a combined logic is less trivial than one might expect. The direct application of the fibred semantics method where a combined atomic formula like np (num: sg & pers: 3rd) denotes those strings which have the indicated property and the categorial operators denote the usual left- and right-residuals of these string sets, does not match the intuitive, unification-based proof theory. Unification implements a global bookkeeping with respect to a proof whereas the direct fibring method restricts its view to the atoms of the grammar logic. The solution is to interpret the (embedded) feature terms as global feature constraints while maintaining the same kind of fibred structures. For this adjusted semantics, the anticipated proof system is sound and complete. (shrink)
Any semantic theory is bound to presume some structure in the messages it analyses, and the success of the theory depends on getting this structure right. But discovering this structure is the business of grammar. Therefore grammar is a necessary preliminary to semantics. Semantic theories of conditionals vividly illustrate this. All presume a provably untenable ternary structure: antecedent, operator, consequent. And all can be shown committed as a result to a thoroughly unbelievable set of connections between sentences (...) and their informational burdens. Actually, a conditional has five immediate factors, none of them an antecedent or a consequent. (shrink)
This book explores a key issue in linguistic theory, the systematic variation in form between semantic equivalents across languages. Two contrasting views of the role of lexical meaning in the analysis of such variation can be found in the literature: (i) uniformity, whereby lexical meaning is universal, and variation arises from idiosyncratic differences in the inventory and phonological shape of language-particular functional material, and (ii) transparency, whereby systematic variation in form arises from systematic variation in the meaning of basic lexical (...) items. (shrink)
This volume brings together distinguished scholars from all over the world to present an authoritative, thorough, and yet accessible state-of-the-art survey of current issues in pragmatics. Following an introduction by the editor, the volume is divided into five thematic parts. Chapters in Part I are concerned with schools of thought, foundations, and theories, while Part II deals with central topics in pragmatics, including implicature, presupposition, speech acts, deixis, reference, and context. In Part III, the focus is on cognitively-oriented pragmatics, covering (...) topics such as computational, experimental, and neuropragmatics. Part IV takes a look at socially and culturally-oriented pragmatics such as politeness/impoliteness studies, cross- and intercultural, and interlanguage pragmatics. Finally, the chapters in Part V explore the interfaces of pragmatics with semantics, grammar, morphology, the lexicon, prosody, language change, and information structure. (shrink)
Ever since Kripke’s influential arguments against descriptivism philosophers have attempted to provide solutions to Frege’s puzzle of substitution failure that adhere to Naïve Semantics—the view that names contribute their referents and referents alone to propositions expressed by sentences containing them. Recently, philosophers have also appealed to psychological objects called mental files, which are used to represent and store information on individuals, in solving the puzzle. Combining the two promises to revive a simple commonsensical theory while, at least prima facie, (...) doing away with the need to rely on Fregean senses. Though I welcome the combined approach, I argue that the only plausible version of it is a pretense-based one. (shrink)
This paper presents a preliminary and tentative formulation of a novel empirical generalization governing the relationship between grammar and cognition across a variety of independent domains. Its point of departure is an abstract distinction between two kinds of cognitive structures: symmetric and asymmetric. While in principle any feature whatsoever has the potential for introducing asymmetry, this paper focuses on one specific feature, namely thematic-role assignment. Our main empirical finding concerns the role of language, or, more specifically, grammar, in (...) effecting and maintaining the distinction between symmetric and asymmetric cognitive structures. Specifically, whereas symmetric structures devoid of thematic-role assignment more commonly occur in a non-grammatical and usually also non-verbal medium, asymmetric structures involving thematic-role assignment are more likely to be associated with a grammatical medium. Our work draws together three independent strands of empirical research associated with three diverse phenomenological domains: compositional semantics, metaphors and schematological hybrids. These three domains instantiate conceptual combinations, bringing together two or more subordinate entities into a single superordinate entity. For compositional semantics this consists of a juxtaposition of constituent signs to form a single more complex sign; for metaphors this entails the bringing together of two different concepts in order to produce a comparison; while for schematological hybrids this involves the combination of different entities to form a single new hybrid entity. Our empirical results reveal a remarkable parallelism between the above three domains. Within each domain, symmetric structures tend to be associated with a non-verbal or otherwise non-grammatical medium, while asymmetric structures are more frequently associated with a grammatical medium. Thus, within each domain, grammar introduces asymmetry. More specifically, we find that in all three domains, the asymmetry in question is one that involves the assignment of thematic roles. To capture this effect, we posit two distinct levels, or tiers, of cognition: non-grammatical cognition, more commonly associated with symmetric structures, and grammatical cognition more conducive to asymmetric structures. Within each of the three phenomenological domains, we find the distinction between non-grammatical and grammatical cognition to be manifest in three independent realms, phylogeny, ontogeny, and the architecture of human cognition. (shrink)
This self-contained introduction to natural language semantics addresses the majortheoretical questions in the field. The authors introduce the systematic study of linguistic meaningthrough a sequence of formal tools and their linguistic applications. Starting with propositionalconnectives and truth conditions, the book moves to quantification and binding, intensionality andtense, and so on. To set their approach in a broader perspective, the authors also explore theinteraction of meaning with context and use (the semantics-pragmatics interface) and address some ofthe foundational questions, especially (...) in connection with cognition in general. They also introducea few of the most accessible and interesting ideas from recent research to give the reader a bit ofthe flavor of current work in semantics. The organization of this new edition is modular; after theintroductory chapters, the remaining material can be covered in flexible order. The book presupposesno background in formal logic (an appendix introduces the basic notions of set theory) and only aminimal acquaintance with linguistics. This edition includes a substantial amount of completely newmaterial and has been not only updated but redesigned throughout to enhance itsuser-friendliness. (shrink)