The information conveyed by any utterance is a motley ensemble. Utterances carry content about the world as it is according to the speaker, but also about speakers’ attitudes, the way they speak, what has been said before, and so on. There are many kinds of information that are conveyed by way of language, and diﬀerences in kind correlate with diﬀerences in status. Presupposed information exhibits a distinctive projection behaviour; conversational implicatures are cancellable in a way that asserted information is not; (...) a pronoun’s gender may help to determine a referent, but is otherwise truth-conditionally inert; and so on. (shrink)
I show how, contrary to recent claims, so-called embedded imperatives are better analyzed in terms of mixed quotation. To this end I extend the presuppositional analysis of mixed quotation to include quotations of constructions.
In this paper we defend a rather traditional view of pronouns that is based on the fundamental opposition between reference and anaphora: local pronouns are referential, like names and other indexicals, while third person proouns are anaphoric. We argue against the grammatical classification based on the opposition between pronouns and R-expressions: all pronouns, but not names and other indexicals, are systematically ambiguous between a bound-variable and a referential reading. More specifically we aim to defuse Kratzer's recent argumentation aimed at establishing (...) that local pronouns indeed allow both referential and bound interpretations. We then present an alternative pragmasemantic analysis of Kratzer's and our own data that is fully in line with the traditional analysis of local pronouns and other indexicals as purely referential expressions. (shrink)
Shows that both anaphoricity and egocentric de se binding play a crucial role in the interpretation of tense in discourse. Uses the English backwards shifted reading of the past tense in a mistaken time scenario to bring out the tension between these two features. Provides a suitable representational framework for the observed clash in the form of an extension of DRT in which updates of the common ground are accompanied by updates of each relevant agent's complex attitudinal state.
English direct discourse is easily recognized by e.g. the lack of a complementizer, the quotation marks (or the intonational contour they induce), and verbatim (`shifted') pronouns. Japanese employs the same complementizer for all reports, does not have a consistent intonational quotation marking, and tends to drop pronouns where possible. Some have argued that this just shows many Japanese reports are ambiguous: despite the lack of explicit marking, the underlying distinction is just as hard. On the basis of a number of (...) `mixed' examples, I claim that the line between direct and indirect is blurred and I propose a unified analysis of speech reporting in which a general mechanism of mixed quotation replaces the classical two-fold distinction. (shrink)
This paper deals with the semantics of de dicto , de re and de se belief reports. First, I flesh out in some detail the established, classical theories that assume syntactic distinctions between all three types of reports. I then propose a new, unified analysis, based on two ideas discarded by the classical theory. These are: (i) modeling the de re/de dicto distinction as a difference in scope, and (ii) analyzing de se as merely a special case of relational de (...) re attitudes. The resurrection of these ideas takes place in a dynamic setting. My formalization of the first idea involves a modification of the presupposition-as-anaphora resolution algorithm for DRT. The second involves treating acquaintance relations as second-order presuppositions, to be bound in the context by means of higher-order unification, or accommodated if necessary. The resulting framework requires no syntactic distinctions between different modes of attitude, with the exception of a specific subclass of de se reports characterized by special ‘ de se pronouns’ (i.e. PRO and logophors). These special pronouns are handled in syntax; everything alse is passed on to the pragmatic resolution module as it appears on the surface. The more sophisticated contextual resolution process nonetheless ensures adequate output truth conditions for a variety of classical and novel puzzles. In particular, I compare the new pragmasemantic system to the classical, syntactic analysis with respect to iterated and quantified reports, and monstrously shifted indexicals. (shrink)
I provide a novel semantic analysis of proper names and indexicals, combining insights from the competing traditions of referentialism, championed by Kripke and Kaplan, and descriptivism, introduced by Frege and Russell, and more recently resurrected by Geurts and Elbourne, among others. From the referentialist tradition, I borrow the proof that names and indexicals are not synonymous to any definite description but pick their referent from the context directly. From the descriptivist tradition, I take the observation that names, and to some (...) extent indexicals, have uses that are best understood by analogy with anaphora and definite descriptions, that is, following Geurts, in terms of presupposition projection. The hybrid analysis that I propose is couched in Layered Discourse Representation Theory. Proper names and indexicals trigger presuppositions in a dedicated layer, which is semantically interpreted as providing a contextual anchor for the interpretation of the other layers. For the proper resolution of DRSs with layered presuppositions, I add two constraints to van der Sandt's algorithm. The resulting proposal accounts for both the classic philosophical examples and the new linguistic data, preserving a unified account of the preferred rigid interpretation of both names and indexicals, while leaving room for non-referential readings under contextual pressure. (shrink)
We argue that contrastive statements have the same underlying semantics and affect the context in the same way as denials. We substantiate this claim by giving a unified account of the two phenomena that treats contrast as a subtype of denial. This analysis crucially requires a dynamic semantics view of context-dependence with a multi-dimensional representation of information.
Quotation exhibits characteristics of both use and mention. I argue against the recently popular pragmatic reductions of quotation to mere language use (e.g. Recanati 2001), and in favor of a truly hybrid account synthesizing and extending Potts (2007) and Geurts & Maier (2005), using a mention logic and a dynamic semantics with presupposition to establish a context-driven meaning shift. The current paper explores a `quotebreaking' extension to solve the problems posed by non-constituent quotation, and anaphora, ellipsis and quantifier raising across (...) quotation marks. (shrink)
Argues that the first person pronoun is always directly referential, against more recent findings of Heim (1991,2008), Kratzer (1998,2008) and others. Shows how purported evidence of syntactically bound or `fake' indexical I, involving sloppy ellipsis and only, and de se attitude reporting can be reconciled with a strict Kaplanian semantics. Proposes alternative treatments of these phenomena that bypass the syntactic LF level, going straight from surface to semantics/pragmatics.
Quotation exhibits characteristics of both use and mention. I argue against the recently popular pragmatic reductions of quotation to mere language use (Recanati 2001), and in favor of a truly hybrid account synthesizing and extending Potts (2007) and Geurts and Maier (2005), using a mention logic and a dynamic semantics with presupposition to establish a context-driven meaning shift. The main advantages are an account of error neutralization and shifted indexicality under quotation. The current paper addresses the problematic data involving quoted (...) non-constituents. (shrink)
Since Kripke introduced rigid designation as an alternative to the Frege/Russell analysis of referential terms as definite descriptions, there has been an ongoing debate between 'descriptivists' and 'referentialists', mostly focusing on the semantics of proper names. Nowadays descriptivists can draw on a much richer set of linguistic data (including bound and accommodated proper names in discourse) as well as new semantic machinery (E-type syntax/semantics, DRT, presupposition-as-anaphora) to strengthen their case. After reviewing the current state of the debate, I argue for (...) a referentialist semantics that incorporates some modern insights from the side of the descriptivists in order to account for the new data in a principled fashion. (shrink)
Mixed quotation exhibits characteristics of both mention and use. Some even go so far as to claim it can be described wholly in terms of the pragmatics of language use. Thus, it may be argued that the observed shifting of indexicals under all quotation shows that a monstrous operator is involved. I will argue the opposite: a proper semantic account of quotation can be used to exorcize Schlenker's monsters from semantic theory.
This thesis deals with the phenomenon of attitude reporting. More specifically, it provides a unified semantics of de re and de se belief reports. After arguing that de se belief is best thought of as a special case of de re belief, I examine whether we can extend this unification to the realm of belief reports. I show how, despite very promising first steps, previous attempts in this direction ultimately fail with respect to some relatively recent linguistic data involving quantified (...) and infinitival reports, logophoric constructions, and monstrously shifted indexicals. Formalizing my idea of a contextual resolution of acquaintance relations in a dynamic framework, I arrive at an alternative analysis that handles all these data. (shrink)
It appears that in mixed quotations like the following, the quoted expression is used and mentioned at the same time: (1) George says Tony is his ``bestest friend''. Most theories seek to account for this observation by assuming that mixed quotations operate at two levels of content at once. In contradistinction to such two-dimensional theories, we propose that quotation involves just a single level of content. Quotation always produces a change in meaning of the quoted expression, and if the quotation (...) is mixed the shift is, to a first approximation at least, from '...' to ``what x calls '...''', where x is a variable whose value is determined by the context. We argue that quotation is generally context dependent in various ways, and that some of these ways are presuppositional in nature; we present a detailed analysis of the presuppositions in question. (shrink)
Percus & Sauerland (2003) use quantified belief reports of the form 'Only Peter thinks he's...' to argue for dedicated de se LFs. The argument is targeted against any reductionist account that sees de se as merely a particular subtype of de re, viz. a de re belief about oneself from a first person perspective, requiring nothing but an account of de re attitudes. My acquaintance resolution framework is an attempt at just such a reduction and in this paper I extend (...) that theory with a projection mechanism to allow local accommodation of acquaintance relations. With this extension we can account for their data, as well as for some related data involving quantified belief reports familiar from arguments in the de se literature. Note: the embedded video of Peter's mistaken self-identity is urlhttp://ncs.ruhosting.nl/emar/dese.mpgavailable in .mpg here. (shrink)
Chierchia (1989) and others have used the contrast between George hopes that he will win and Georges hopes to win in mistaken-self-identity scenarios, to argue for dedicated de se LFs. The argument, further strengthened by evidence of shiftable indexicals, appears applicable against any reductionist account that sees de se as merely a particular subtype of de re. My Acquaintance Resolution framework is an attempt at such a reduction, and this paper seeks to extend that theory with a logical principle of (...) introspection for belief, to account for the data within a unified treatment of de re and de se. (shrink)
This paper proposes a way of semantically representing de re belief ascriptions that involves contextual resolution of the acquaintance relation between the attitude holder and the object about which the attitude is de re. A special case is that where the belief is about the believer herself. Here, we may discern two possibilities: the acquaintance relation is equality, in which case we end up with a de se belief, or, if the first option fails, we search the context for a (...) different suitable relation of acquaintance between the believer and herself, like looking in a mirror or seeing yourself on TV. This second option leaves open the possibility that the believer herself is unaware of the fact that she's actually seeing herself, thereby accounting for the true reading (de re/non-de se) of ``Lain believes she will win'' in mistaken identity scenarios. To implement all this formally, I use a two-dimensionally modal extension of DRT, and second order binding and unification. (shrink)
We present a unified treatment of contrast and denial as slightly different instantiations of the same discourse schema. Both denial and contrast are analysed as involving a revision operation, what sets them apart is merely the type of information being retracted. The formal analysis requires a representational framework that separates different types of information and is therefore implemented in Layered DRT. One of our selling points is the account of the uses of rectification vs. contrastive particles (like German sondern/aber) we (...) get for free with our unification. (shrink)
The central characteristic of denials is that they perform a non-monotonic correction operation on discourse structure. A second characteristic is that they may be used to object to various kinds of information including presuppositions and implicatures. In this paper we first use standard DRT to capture these features, implement an earlier proposal of van der Sandt (1991) in DRT and point out a shortcoming of that approach. We then adopt Layered DRT. LDRT is an extension of standard DRT designed to (...) represent and interpret different types of information conveyed in a conversation by distributing them over separate layers of the same LDRS. We will then show how LDRT allows us to solve the problems of the classic monostratal system. The resulting system makes use of a directed reverse anaphora mechanism to locate, remove and negate the material objected to. (shrink)