This architecture is compatible with various different theories of locality and linearization. The typological differences between polysynthetic and isolating languages do not require the postulation of radically different combinatoric and compositional mechanisms in UG. The phonological word has no special status in semantic interpretation.
Syntactic and semantic theories of quantificational phenomena traditionally treat all noun phrases alike, thus predicting that noun phrases exhibit a uniform behavior. It is well-known that this is an idealization: in any given case, some noun phrases will support a desired reading more readily than others. Anyone who has lectured on quantifier scope ambiguities to a class of unbrainwashed undergraduates will recall the amount of preparation time that goes into coming up with two or three examples that the class will (...) judge to be ambiguous in exactly the ways the theory under discussion predicts. The same experience with ``good citizens'' and ``bad citizens'' repeats itself in connection with branching, anaphora, distributive versus collective readings, extraction, event quantification, pair-list questions, and so on. Is the assumption of uniformity a theoretically necessary idealization, then, or is it an overgeneralization based on a small body of initial data? There is no doubt that, to some extent, it is a necessary idealization. To what extent it is, though, depends on how systematic the patterns of deviation turn out to be, and how coherent and interesting theoretical accounts can be devised for those patterns. The unique contribution of this volume consists in scrutinizing large bodies of data, both well-known and novel, from a theoretical perspective and arguing that the patterns emerging are systematic and significant enough to prompt rather fundamental revisions of the standard accounts. In proposing alternatives, many of the papers follow a heuristic that may be summarized as follows: The range of quantifiers that participate in a given process is suggestive of exactly what that process consists in. Instead of devising omnivorous rules that apply to all quantifiers and then need to be constrained in various, sometimes ad hoc, ways, it is proposed that the grammar of quantification involves a variety of distinct, often semantically conditioned, processes.. (shrink)
We argue that the infinitival complements of subject-control and subject-tosubject raising verbs in Hungarian can have overt nominative subjects. The infinitival subject status of these DPs is diagnosed by constituent order, binding properties, and scope interpretation. Long-distance Agree(ment) and multiple agreement are crucial to their overtness.
The typical habitat of overt nominative subjects is in finite clauses. But infinitival complements and infinitival adjuncts are also known to have overt nominative subjects, e.g. in Italian (Rizzi 1982), European Portuguese (Raposo 1987), and Spanish (Torrego 1998, Mensching 2000). The analyses make crucial reference to the movement of Aux or Infl to Comp, and to overt or covert infinitival inflection.
An infinitival complement may have an overt nominative subject if the relevant features of a superordinate finite inflection are transmitted to that subject (say in the manner of long-distance Agree). The cross-linguistic variation in the availability of overt infinitival subjects has to do with variation in feature transmission.
Semantics plays a role in grammar in at least three guises. (A) Linguists seek to account for speakers‘ knowledge of what linguistic expressions mean. This goal is typically achieved by assigning a model theoretic interpretation2 in a compositional fashion. For example, No whale flies is true if and only if the intersection of the sets of whales and fliers is empty in the model. (B) Linguists seek to account for the ability of speakers to make various inferences based on semantic (...) knowledge. For example, No whale flies entails No blue whale flies and No whale flies high. (C) The wellformedness of a variety of syntactic constructions depends on morpho-syntactic features with a semantic flavor. For example, Under no circumstances would a whale fly is grammatical, whereas Under some circumstances would a whale fly is not, corresponding to the downward vs. upward monotonic features of the preposed phrases. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. What this book is about and how to use it; 2. Generalized quantifiers and their elements: operators and their scopes; 3. Generalized quantifiers in non-nominal domains; 4. Some empirically significant properties of quantifiers and determiners; 5. Potential challenges for generalized quantifiers; 6. Scope is not uniform and not a primitive; 7. Existential scope versus distributive scope; 8. Distributivity and scope; 9. Bare numeral indefinites; 10. Modified numerals; 11. Clause-internal scopal diversity; 12. Towards a compositional semantics (...) of quantifier words. (shrink)
This paper uses a partially ordered set of syntactic categories to accommodate optionality and licensing in natural language syntax. A complex but well-studied data set pertaining to the syntax of quantifier scope and negative polarity licensing in Hungarian is used to illustrate the proposal. The presentation is geared towards both linguists and logicians. The paper highlights that the main ideas can be implemented in different grammar formalisms, and discusses in detail an implementation where the partial ordering on categories is given (...) by the derivability relation of a calculus with residuated and Galois-connected unary operators. (shrink)
The scalar approach to negative polarity item (NPI) licensing assumes that NPIs are allowable in contexts in which the introduction of the NPI leads to proposition strengthening (e.g., Kadmon & Landman 1993, Krifka 1995, Lahiri 1997, Chierchia 2006). A straightforward processing prediction from such a theory is that NPI’s facilitate inference verification from sets to subsets. Three experiments are reported that test this proposal. In each experiment, participants evaluated whether inferences from sets to subsets were valid. Crucially, we manipulated whether (...) the premises contained an NPI. In Experiment 1, participants completed a metalinguistic reasoning task, and Experiments 2 and 3 tested reading times using a self-paced reading task. Contrary to expectations, no facilitation was observed when the NPI was present in the premise compared to when it was absent. In fact, the NPI significantly slowed down reading times in the inference region. Our results therefore favor those scalar theories that predict that the NPI is costly to process (Chierchia 2006), or other, nonscalar theories (Giannakidou 1998, Ladusaw 1992, Postal 2005, Szabolcsi 2004) that likewise predict NPI processing cost but, unlike Chierchia (2006), expect the magnitude of the processing cost to vary with the actual pragmatics of the NPI. (shrink)
Krifka (1998) argues that stressed postposed additive particles associate with a clausemate constrastive topic, which need not be overt as long as it satisfies the appropriate contextual role. English too is stressed. Of the two Hungarian particles, szintén is stressed, is is not.
The central topic of this inquiry is a cross-linguistic contrast in the interaction of conjunction and negation. In Hungarian (Russian, Serbian, Italian, Japanese), in contrast to English (German), negated definite conjunctions are naturally and exclusively interpreted as `neither’. It is proposed that Hungarian-type languages conjunctions simply replicate the behavior of plurals, their closest semantic relatives. More puzzling is why English-type languages present a different range of interpretations. By teasing out finer distinctions in focus on connectives, syntactic structure, and context, the (...) paper tracks down missing readings and argues that it is eventually not necessary to postulate a radical cross-linguistic semantic difference. In the course of making that argument it is observed that negated conjunctions on the `neither’ reading carry the expectation that the predicate hold of both conjuncts. The paper investigates several hypotheses concerning the source of this expectation. (shrink)
The focus of this paper is the syntax of inverse scope in Hungarian, a language that largely disambiguates quantifier scope at spell-out. Inverse scope is attributed to alternate orderings of potentially large chunks of structure, but with appeal to base-generation, as opposed to nonfeature-driven movement as in Kayne 1998. The proposal is developed within mirror theory and conforms to the assumption that structures are antisymmetrical. The paper also develops a matching notion of scope in terms of featural domination, as opposed (...) to c-command, and applies it to otherwise problematic cases of pied piping. Finally, the interaction of different quantifier types is examined and the patterns are explained invoking morphological considerations on one hand and A-bar reconstruction on the other. (shrink)
Combinatory logic (Curry and Feys 1958) is a “variable-free” alternative to the lambda calculus. The two have the same expressive power but build their expressions differently. “Variable-free” semantics is, more precisely, “free of variable binding”: it has no operation like abstraction that turns a free variable into a bound one; it uses combinators—operations on functions—instead. For the general linguistic motivation of this approach, see the works of Steedman, Szabolcsi, and Jacobson, among others. The standard view in linguistics is that reflexive (...) and personal pronouns are free variables that get bound by an antecedent through some coindexing mechanism. In variable free semantics the same task is performed by some combinator that identifies two arguments of the function it operates on (a duplicator). This combinator may be built into the lexical semantics of the pronoun, into that of the antecedent, or it may be a free-floating operation applicable to predicates or larger chunks of texts, i.e. a typeshifter. This note is concerned with the case of cross-sentential anaphora. It adopts Hepple’s and Jacobson’s interpretation of pronouns as identity maps and asks how this can be extended to the cross-sentential case, assuming the dynamic semantic view of anaphora. It first outlines the possibility of interpreting indefinites that antecede non-ccommanded pronouns as existential quantifiers enriched with a duplicator. Then it argues that it is preferable to use the duplicator as a type-shifter that applies “on the fly”. The proposal has consequences for two central ingredients of the classical dynamic semantic treatment: it does away with abstraction over assignments and with treating indefinites as inherently existentially quantified. However, cross-sentential anaphora remains a matter of binding, and the idea of propositions as context change potentials is retained. (shrink)
Syntactic and semantic theories of quantificational phenomena traditionally treat all noun phrases alike, thus predicting that noun phrases exhibit a uniform behavior. It is well-known that this is an idealization: in any given case, some noun phrases will support a desired reading more readily than others. Anyone who has lectured on quantifier scope ambiguities to a class of unbrainwashed undergraduates will recall the amount of preparation time that goes into coming up with two or three examples that the class will (...) judge to be ambiguous in exactly the ways the theory under discussion predicts. The same experience with ``good citizens'' and ``bad citizens'' repeats itself in connection with branching, anaphora, distributive versus collective readings, extraction, event quantification, pair-list questions, and so on. (shrink)
Ways of Scope Taking is concerned with syntactic, semantic and computational aspects of scope. Its starting point is the well-known but often neglected fact that different types of quantifiers interact differently with each other and other operators. The theoretical examination of significant bodies of data, both old and novel, leads to two central claims. (1) Scope is a by-product of a set of distinct Logical Form processes; each quantifier participates in those that suit its particular features. (2) Scope interaction is (...) further constrained by the semantics of the interacting operators. The arguments are developed using Minimalist syntax, Generalized Quantify theory, Discourse Representation Theory, and algebraic semantics. The contributors (Beghelli, Ben-Shalom, Doetjes, Farkas, Gutiérrez Rexach, Honcoop, Stabler, Stowell, Szabolcsi and Zwarts) make tightly related theoretical assumptions and focus on related empirical phenomena, which include the direct and inverse scope of quantifiers, distributivity, negation, modal and intensional contexts, weak islands, event-related readings, interrogatives, wh/quantifier interactions, and Hungarian syntax. An introduction to the formal semantics background is provided. Audience: Linguists, philosophers, computational and psycholinguists; advanced undergraduates, graduate students and researchers in these fields. (shrink)
Modifying the descriptive and theoretical generalizations of Relativized Minimality, we argue that a significant subset of weak island violations arise when an extracted phrase should scope over some intervener but is unable to. Harmless interveners seem harmless because they can support an alternative reading. This paper focuses on why certain wh-phrases are poor wide scope takers, and offers an algebraic perspective on scope interaction. Each scopal element SE is associated with certain operations (e.g., not with complements). When a wh-phrase scopes (...) over some SE, the operations associated with that SE are performed in its denotation domain. The requisite operations may or may not be available in a domain, however. We present an empirical analysis of a variety of wh-phrases. It is argued that the wh-phrases that escape all weak islands (i.e., can scope over any intervener) are those that range over individuals, the reason being that all Boolean operations are defined for their domain. Collectives, manners, amounts, numbers, etc. all denote in domains with fewer operations and are thus selectively sensitive to scopal interveners—a “semantic relativized minimality effect”. (shrink)
[...] I will only investigate [Austin's] claims as challenges to present-day model theoretic semantics. My main point will be to draw a sharp line between the semantic and pragmatic aspects of performatives and thereby discover a gap in Austin’s treatment. This will in my view naturally lead to the proposal in Section 2, that is, to treating performatives as denoting changes in intensional models. The rest of Section 2 will be concerned with the status of felicity conditions and a tentative (...) extension of Montague’s PTQ. (shrink)
I believe that the validity of (I) is beyond. doubt and thus any grammar, whether organized to reflect (I) directly or not, may ultimately be required to satisfy it. One of the systems that are precisely designed to reflect (I) is Montague Grammar, where, technical details aside, it is realized as follows: (2) a. Sentences are composed by putting their constituents together step by step, with no subsequent rearrangement; b. Not only each lexical item but also each rule of composition (...) is assigned an explicit interpretation; c. Interpretation is given in terms of model theory: the denotation conditions of expressions are defined relative to a mathematical construct which, loosely speaking, models the relevant aspects of the world talked about. (shrink)