The asymmetry of optimality theoretic syntax and semantics

Journal of Semantics 17 (3):243-262 (2000)
This paper argues for a combination of semantics and syntax in an optimality theoretic framework that avoids the rat/rad problem and provides simultaneously a certain amount of bidirectionality, in the spirit of Blutner, for an approach to ineffability. It can be succinctly described as taking the program of optimality theoretic syntax as basic, also as a theory of interpretation, and extending it with a bidirectional pragmatic component that is closely related to existing ideas about natural language interpretation. The paper argues for the priority of the direction from content to form, develops the pragmatic component, and argues for the bidirectionality of the pragmatic component on the basis of Grice's principle of cooperation. It applies the resulting theory to a small set of relevant examples. The asymmetry in the title is consistent with, but goes beyond, the asymmetry between syntax and semantics used in Smolensky (1996)
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DOI 10.1093/jos/17.3.243
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J. Hunter (2013). Presuppositional Indexicals. Journal of Semantics 30 (3):381-421.

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