This paper is devoted to the formulation and investigation of a dynamic semantic interpretation of the language of ﬁrst-order predicate logic. The resulting system, which will be referred to as ‘dynamic predicate logic’, is intended as a ﬁrst step towards a compositional, non-representational theory of discourse semantics. In the last decade, various theories of discourse semantics have emerged within the paradigm of model-theoretic semantics. A common feature of these theories is a tendency to do away with the principle of compositionality, (...) a principle which, implicitly or explicitly, has dominated semantics since the days of Frege. Therefore the question naturally arises whether non-compositionality is in any way a necessary feature of discourse semantics. Since we subscribe to the interpretation of compositionality as constituting primarily a methodological principle, we consider this to be a methodological rather than an empirical question. As a consequence, the emphasis in the present paper lies on developing an alternative compositional semantics of discourse, which is empirically equivalent to its non-compositional brethren, but which diﬀers from them in a principled methodological way. Hence, no attempts are made to improve on existing theories empirically. Nevertheless, as we indicate in section 5, the development of a compositional alternative may in the end have empirical consequences, too. First of all, it can be argued that the dynamic view on interpretation developed in this paper suggests natural and relatively easy to formulate extensions which enable one to deal with a wider range of phenomena than can be dealt with in existing theories. Moreover, the various approaches to the model-theoretic semantics of discourse that have been developed during the last decade, have constituted a ‘fresh start’ in the sense that much of what had been accomplished before was ignored, at least for a start. Of course, this is a justiﬁed strategy if one feels one is trying to develop a radically diﬀerent approach to recalcitrant problems. However, there comes a time when such new approaches have to be compared with the older one, and when an assessment of the pros and cons of each has to be made. One of the main problems in semantics today, we feel, is that a semantic theory such as Montague grammar, and an approach like Kamp’s discourse representation theory, are hard to compare, let alone that it is possible to unify their insights and results.. (shrink)
This paper is about a topic in the semantics of interrogatives.1 In what follows a number of assumptions ﬁgure at the background which, though intuitively appealing, have not gone unchallenged, and it seems therefore only fair to draw the reader’s attention to them at the outset. The ﬁrst assumption concerns a very global intuition about the kind of semantic objects that we associate with interrogatives. The intuition is that there is an intimate relationship between interrogatives and their answers: an interrogative (...) determines what counts as an answer.2 Given a certain, independently motivated, view on what constitutes the meaning of an answer, this intuition, in return, determines what constitutes the meaning of an interrogative. For example, starting from the observation that answers are true or false in situations, we may be led to the view that answers express propositions, i.e., objects which determine a truth value in a situation. Given that much, our basic intuition says that interrogatives are to be associated with objects which determine propositions. Such objects will be referred to as ‘questions’ in what follows. Notice that all this is largely framework independent: we have made no assumptions yet about what situations, propositions, and questions are, we have only related them in a certain systematic way. In fact we will use a more or less standard, but certainly not uncontroversial, speciﬁcation in what follows: situations are identiﬁed with (total) possible worlds; propositions with sets of worlds; and questions with equivalence relations on the set of worlds. The second assumption that plays a role in what follows is of a more linguistic nature. Interrogatives typically occur in two ways: as independent expressions, and as complements of certain verbs. The assumption is that these two ways of occurring are systematically related, not just syntactically but also semantically.3 Notice that the exact nature of this relationship is underdeter.. (shrink)
In the present version of these lecture notes only a number of typos and a few glaring mistakes have been corrected. Thanks to Paul Dekker for his help in this respect. No attempt has been been made to update the original text or to incorporate new insights and approaches. For a more recent overview, see our ‘Questions’ in the Handbook of Logic and Language (edited by Johan van Benthem and Alice ter Meulen, Elsevier, 1997).
There is an increasing interest in publications about the sources of meaning in life; books about the art of living are immensely popular. This article discusses whether one of the ancient predecessors of current 'art of living' theories, the Stoa and more particularly Seneca, can be of interest to educators today. Seneca's explicit writings on education are relatively few, but in his letters to his friend Lucilius we find several ideas as to how educators can assist students to become wise (...) and virtuous adults. The main characteristic of the virtuous sage is his ability to maintain tranquillity of mind. While we disagree with the radicalism of Seneca's view on the extirpation of emotions, we have discovered insights that we believe can be a valuable source for educators and students in their reflections on the meaning of education for the business of life. (shrink)
The paper sketches the place of dynamic semantics within a broader picture of developments in philosophical and linguistic theories of meaning. Some basic concepts of dynamic semantics are illustrated by means of a detailed analysis of anaphoric deﬁnite and indeﬁnite descriptions, which are treated as contextually dependent quantiﬁcational expressions. It is shown how a dynamic view sheds new light on the contextual nature of interpretation, on the diﬀerence between monologue and dialogue, and on the interplay between direct and indirect information.
In many natural languages, there are clear syntactic and/or intonational differences between declarative sentences, which are primarily used to provide information, and interrogative sentences, which are primarily used to request information. Most logical frameworks restrict their attention to the former. Those that are concerned with both usually assume a logical language that makes a clear syntactic distinction between declaratives and interrogatives, and usually assign different types of semantic values to these two types of sentences. A different approach has been taken (...) in recent work on inquisitive semantics. This approach does not take the basic syntactic distinction between declaratives and interrogatives as its starting point, but rather a new notion of meaning that captures both informative and inquisitive content in an integrated way. The standard way to treat the logical connectives in this approach is to associate them with the basic algebraic operations on these new types of meanings. For instance, conjunction and disjunction are treated as meet and join operators, just as in classical logic. This gives rise to a hybrid system, where sentences can be both informative and inquisitive at the same time, and there is no clearcut division between declaratives and interrogatives. It may seem that these two general approaches in the existing literature are quite incompatible. The main aim of this paper is to show that this is not the case. We develop an inquisitive semantics for a logical language that has a clearcut division between declaratives and interrogatives. We show that this language coincides in expressive power with the hybrid language that is standardly assumed in inquisitive semantics, we establish a sound and complete axiomatization for the associated logic, and we consider a natural enrichment of the system with presuppositional interrogatives. (shrink)
This is the text of my comments on the project of dynamic semantics for the session on that topic at the Central Division APA meeting on April 21, 2007. The other speakers were Jeroen Groenendijk, Frank Veltman and Thony Gillies. I question the philosophical basis for dynamic semantics. My doubts have to do with the nature of information states and the norms of semantics. I also question the data that inspire the project. In particular, I question the data concerning (...) presupposition and the data concerning modal operators and conditionals. (shrink)
Thinking about Martin Stokhof as a philosopher and colleague, his formal analysis (together with Jeroen Groenendijk) of questions and question answering is the first thing that comes to mind. This work is part of a fruitful tradition that has recently spawned inquisitive semantics, and the focus on question answering in dynamic epistemic logic. The theme is still very much alive at ILLC today. Next, I am reminded of the dynamic turn in natural language semantics, of the way he and (...) Jeroen Groenendijk criticized Hans Kamp’s ideas about discourse representation, and how this led to the invention of dynamic predicate logic. Later it became clear that dynamic predicate logic can be viewed as the action part of quantified dynamic logic, invented much earlier by David Harel. This led to a connection, a semantic parallel, between the analysis of programming and the analysis of natural language. Thinking about Martin as a philosopher still longer, it is impossible to further postpone the thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein. This is the connection that I am least familiar with, so this is what I will write about, in the hope that developing my thought in writing will create a somewhat better understanding. (shrink)
This paper is an informal introduction to some aspects of dynamic semantics. It is a compilation of earlier reports on joint work with Frank Veltman. The opening section can also be found in Groenendijk et al. 1996a. Section 3 is drawn from Groenendijk et al. 1995a. Some of the discussion in section 4 derives from Groenendijk et al. 1996c.
In the logical, philosophical and linguistic literature, a number of theoretical frameworks have been proposed for the meaning of questions (see Ginzburg (1995), Groenendijk & Stokhof (1997) for recent overviews). I will concentrate on two general approaches that figured prominently in linguistic semantics, which I will call the proposition set approach and the structured meaning approach (sometimes called the “propositional” and the “categorial” or “functional” approach). I will show that the proposition set approach runs into three problems: It does (...) not always predict the right focus structure in answers, it is unable to distinguish between polarity (yes/no) and a certain type of alternative questions, and it does not allow to formulate an important condition for a type of multiple constituent questions. On the other hand, I will show that the main argument brought forward against the structured meaning framework, namely that it does not give us an elegant way to account for embedded questions, does not withstand closer scrutiny. In this I will take up an issue raised in von Stechow (1990), namely, that the greater expressive power of the structured meaning approach might be necessary for the proper treatment of semantic phenomena like question formation and focusation. (shrink)
There are two kinds of semantic theories of anaphora. Some, such as Heim’s File Change Semantics, 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)
By this point, we have developed some articulated analyses of top-level temporal anaphora, including temporal quantification, in languages with grammatical tense and/or aspect systems, represented by English, Polish, and Mandarin. But it is still not clear how this approach might extend to temporal anaphora in a language such as Kalaallisut, which has neither grammatical tense nor grammatical aspect, but instead marks only grammatical mood and person. Most theories of mood and modal reference either ignore temporal reference (e.g. Hamblin 1973, Stalnaker (...) 1975, Karttunen 1977, Kratzer 1981, Groenendijk and Stokhof 1984, Roberts 1987, Farkas 1992, Portner 2004, a.m.o.) or analyze modal and temporal reference as unrelated phenomena (e.g. Muskens 1995, Stone 1997, Mastop 2005). Such theories provide no inkling how temporal reference in a tenseless mood-based language can be as precise as in English (see e.g. Bittner 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011). (shrink)
In this paper an approach to the exhaustive interpretation of answers is developed. It builds on a proposal brought forward by Groenendijk and Stokhof (1984). We will use the close connection between their approach and McCarthy’s (1980, 1986) predicate circumscription and describe exhaustive interpretation as an instance of interpretation in minimal models, well-known from work on counterfactuals (see for instance Lewis (1973)). It is shown that by combining this approach with independent developments in semantics/pragmatics one can overcome certain (...) limitations of Groenenedijk and Stokhof’s (1984) proposal. In the last part of the paper we will provide a Gricean motivation for exhaustive interpretation building on work of Schulz (to appear) and van Rooij and Schulz (2004). (shrink)
The relationships between logic and natural language are multiverse. On the one hand, logic is a theory of argumentation, proving and giving reasons, and such activities are primarily carried out in natural language. This means that logic is, in a certain loose sense, about natural language. On the other hand, logic has found it useful to develop its own linguistic means which sometimes in a sense compete with those of natural language. This has led to the situation where the systems (...) of logic can be taken as interesting "models" of various aspects of natural language. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The alliance of logic and linguistics has ﬂowered especially from the beginning of the seventies, when scholars like Montague, Lewis, Cresswell, Partee and others showed how semantics of natural language can be explicated with the help certain suitable logical calculi and the corresponding model theory. (Montague went so far as to claim that in view of this, there is no principal diﬀerence between natural and formal languages - but this is, as far as I can see, rather misguiding.) Since that time, the interdisciplinary movement of formal semantics (associating not only linguists and logicians, but also philosophers, computer scientists, cognitive psychologists and others) has yielded a rich repertoire of formal theories of natural language, some of them (like Hintikka's game-theoretical semantics or the dynamic logic of Groenendijk and Stokhof) being based directly on logic, others (like the situation semantics of Barwise and Perry or DRT of Kamp) exploiting diﬀerent formal strategies. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Moreover, although the enterprise of formal semantics (i.e. of modeling natural language semantics by means of certain formal structures) seems to be the principal point of contact between linguistics and logic, there are also other cooperative enterprises. One of the most fruitful ones seems to be the logical analysis of syntax, which has resulted from elaboration of what was originally called categorial grammar. (However, even this enterprise can be seen as importantly stimulated by Montague.) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â All in all, the region in which logic and theoretical linguistics overlap has grown both in size and fertility.. (shrink)
In Groenendijk & Stokhof  a system of dynamic predicate logic (DPL) was developed, as a compositional alternative for classical discourse representation theory (DRT ). DPL shares with DRT the restriction of being a first-order system. In the present paper, we are mainly concerned with overcoming this limitation. We shall define a dynamic semantics for a typed language with λ-abstraction which is compatible with the semantics DPL specifies for the language of first-order predicate logic. We shall propose to use (...) this new logical system as the semantic component of a Montague-style grammar (referred to as dynamic Montague grammar, DMG), which will enable us to extend the compositionality of DPL to the subsentential level. Furthermore, we shall extend this analysis also in this sense that we shall add new, dynamic interpretations for logical constants which in DPL were treated in a static fashion. This will substantially increase the descriptive coverage of DMG. (shrink)
We propose a novel interpretation of natural-language questions using a modal predicate logic of knowledge. Our approach brings standard model-theoretic and proof-theoretic techniques from modal logic to bear on questions. Using the former, we show that our interpretation preserves Groenendijk and Stokhof's answerhood relation, yet allows an extensional interpretation. Using the latter, we get a sound and complete proof procedure for the logic for free. Our approach is more expressive; for example, it easily treats complex questions with operators that (...) scope over questions. We suggest a semantic criterion that restricts what natural-language questions can express. We integrate and generalize much previous work on the semantics of questions, including Beck and Sharvit's families of subquestions, non-exhaustive questions, and multi-party conversations. (shrink)
We observe that the facts pertaining to the acceptability of negative polarity items (henceforth, NPIs) in interrogative environments complex than previously noted. Since Klima [Klima, E. (1964). In J. Fodor & J. Katz (Eds.), The structure of language. Prentice-Hall], it has been typically assumed that NPIs are grammatical in both matrix and embedded questions, however, on closer scrutiny it turns out that there are differences between root and embedded environments, and between question nucleus and wh-restrictor. While NPIs are always licensed (...) in the nucleus of root questions, their acceptability in the restrictor of wh-phrases and in the nucleus of any embedded question depends on the logical properties of the linguistic environment: its strength in terms of exhaustivity [Groenendijk, J., & Stokhof, M. (1984). Studies on the semantics of questions and the pragmatic answers. Amserdam (NL), Post-Doctoral Dissertation. Heim, I. (1994). In R. Buchalla & A. Mittwoch (Eds.), Proceedings of the 9th annual IATL conference and of the 1993 IATL workshop on discourse (pp. 128–144). Akademon, Jerusalem. Beck, S., & 16 Rullmann, H. (1999). Natural Language Semantics, 7, 249–298. Sharvit, Y (2002). Natural Language Semantics, 10, 97–123] and its monotonicity properties (in the sense of von Fintel [von Fintel, K. (1999). Journal of 19 Semantics, 16, 97-148]). (shrink)
This paper investigates a generalized version of inquisitive semantics. A complete axiomatization of the associated logic is established, the connection with intuitionistic logic and several intermediate logics is explored, and the generalized version of inquisitive semantics is argued to have certain advantages over the system that was originally proposed by Groenendijk (2009) and Mascarenhas (2009).
In this paper we reexamine the question of whether questions areinherently intensional entities. We do so by proposing a novelextensional theory of questions, based on a re-interpretation of thedomain of t as a bilattice rather than the usual booleaninterpretation. We discuss the adequacy of our theory with respect tothe adequacy criteria imposed on the semantics of questionsby (Groenendijk and Stokhof 1997). We show that the theory is able to account in astraightforward manner for some complex issues in the semantics (...) ofquestions including coordinated questions, combined indicative andinterrogative sentences, questions with quantifiers, and theimpossibility of negating questions. (shrink)
Dynamic Predicate Logic (DPL) is a variant of Predicate Logic introduced by Groenendijk and Stokhof. One rationale behind the introduction of DPL is that it is closer to Natural Language than ordinary Predicate Logic in the way it treats scope. In this paper I develop some variants of DPL that can more easily approximate Natural Language in some further aspects. Specifically I add flexibility in the treatment of polarity and and some further flexibility in the treatment of scope.
Since their introduction by Partee and Rooth (1983) into linguistic theory, type shifting principles have been extensively employed in various linguistic domains, including nominal predicates (Partee 1987), kind denoting NPs (Chierchia 1998), interrogatives (Groenendijk and Stokhof 1989), scrambled definites (De Hoop and Van der Does 1998) and plurals (Winter 2001,2002). Most of the accounts that use type shifting principles employ them as ``last resort'' mechanisms, which apply only when other compositional mechanisms fail. This failure is often sloppily referred to (...) as type mismatch . The motivation for introducing type mismatch into the compositional mechanism is twofold: on the one hand it allows lexical items to be assigned the minimal types that are needed for describing their denotation; on the other hand, it has been argued that the ``last resort'' strategy of type shifting prevents derivation of undesired meanings. The first goal of this paper is to define a simple notion of type mismatch, which will rather closely follow Partee and Rooth's original proposal but will be expressed within more familiar terms of categorial semantics. After introducing this implementation of traditional type mismatch, it will be argued that in fact, it covers only one possible kind of trigger for type shifting principles. Partee and Rooth's notion of mismatch is ``external'' in that the type of an expression is changed only when it combines with another type to which it cannot compose using the ``normal'' compositional mechanism. It will be argued that, within an appropriate type system, another notion of mismatch is also useful. This is the kind of mismatch in which the semantic type of an expression does not match its syntactic category. Two such cases will be explored: mismatch between morpho-syntactic number (singular or plural) and semantic number (a denotation ranging over atoms or sets), and mismatch between syntactic category (noun, DP, adjective etc.) and semantic role (predicate, quantifier, predicate modifier etc.).. (shrink)
The central topic to be discussed in this paper is the definiteness restriction in there-insertion contexts. Various attempts to explain this definiteness restriction using the standard algebraic framework are discussed (Barwise & Cooper 1981; Keenan 1978; Milsark 1974; Higginbortham 1987; Lappin 1988) and the shortcomings of these attempts are demonstrated. Finally, a new approach to the interpretation of existential there be-sentences is developed within the framework of Groenendijk & Stokhof's (1990) Dynamic Montague Grammar. This approach makes use of a (...) variant of Partee's (1986) ‘type-shifting’-operator BE and it overcomes the shortcomings of the rival analyses. The general conclusion is that Dynamic Montague Grammar has applications other than those which prompted it and advantages other than those Groenendijk & Stokhof claim for it. (shrink)
We consider algebras on binary relations with two main operators: relational composition and dynamic negation. Relational composition has its standard interpretation, while dynamic negation is an operator familiar to students of Dynamic Predicate Logic (DPL) (Groenendijk and Stokhof, 1991): given a relation R its dynamic negation R is a test that contains precisely those pairs (s,s) for which s is not in the domain of R. These two operators comprise precisely the propositional part of DPL.This paper contains a finite (...) equational axiomatization for these dynamic relation algebras. The completenessresult uses techniques from modal logic. We also lookat the variety generated by the class of dynamic relation algebras and note that there exist nonrepresentable algebras in this variety, ones which cannot be construedas spaces of relations. These results are also proved for an extension to a signature containing atomic tests and union. (shrink)
In terms of Groenendijk and Stokhofs (1984) formalization of exhaustive interpretation, many conversational implicatures can be accounted for. In this paper we justify and generalize this approach. Our justification proceeds by relating their account via Halpern and Moses (1984) non-monotonic theory of only knowing to the Gricean maxims of Quality and the first sub-maxim of Quantity. The approach of Groenendijk and Stokhof (1984) is generalized such that it can also account for implicatures that are triggered in subclauses not (...) entailed by the whole complex sentence. (shrink)
In this paper we present a dynamic assignment language which extends the dynamic predicate logic of Groenendijk and Stokhof [1991: 39–100] with assignment and with generalized quantifiers. The use of this dynamic assignment language for natural language analysis, along the lines of o.c. and [Barwise, 1987: 1–29], is demonstrated by examples. We show that our representation language permits us to treat a wide variety of donkey sentences: conditionals with a donkey pronoun in their consequent and quantified sentences with donkey (...) pronouns anywhere in the scope of the quantifier. It is also demonstrated that our account does not suffer from the so-called proportion problem.Discussions about the correctness or incorrectness of proposals for dynamic interpretation of language have been hampered in the past by the difficulty of seeing through the ramifications of the dynamic semantic clauses (phrased in terms of input-output behaviour) in non-trivial cases. To remedy this, we supplement the dynamic semantics of our representation language with an axiom system in the style of Hoare. While the representation languages of barwise and Groenendijk and Stokhof were not axiomatized, the rules we propose form a deduction system for the dynamic assignment language which is proved correct and complete with respect to the semantics. (shrink)
The meanings of donkey sentences cannot be captured using a procedure which, like Montague’s, uses the existential quantiﬁers of classical logic to translate indeﬁnites and the variables to translate pronouns. The treatment of these examples requires meanings which depend on the context in which sentences appear, and thus necessitates a logic which models this context to some extent. If context is represented as the information conveyed in discourse, and the meanings of pronouns are enriched to depend on this information, the (...) result is the E-Type approach (ETA) adapted by Heim (1990) from proposals in Evans (1980) and Cooper (1979). If the context is represented as a list of potential referents, and the meanings of indeﬁnites are enriched to introduce new referents into this list, the result is a compositional formulation like Groenendijk and Stokhof’s (1990) of the discourse representation theory (DRT) of Kamp (1981) and Heim (1982). Either tack sufﬁces to capture the way in which the referents of he and it systematically correspond to the alternative possibilities described by the antecedent. Disjunction offers a parallel way of introducing alternatives in the antecedent of a conditional, as shown in (2). (shrink)
In this paper we introduce a notion of context for Groenendijk & Stokhof's Dynamic Predicate Logic DPL. We use these contexts to give a characterization of the relations on assignments that can be generated by composition from tests and random resettings in the case that we are working over an infinite domain. These relations are precisely the ones expressible in DPL if we allow ourselves arbitrary tests as a starting point. We discuss some possible extensions of DPL and the (...) way these extensions interact with our notion of context. (shrink)
In a static approach to the semantics of natural language, the use of definite and indefinite descriptions encounters certain difficulties. This paper shows that these problems can to a large extent be overcome by switching to a dynamic perspective, and demonstrates how description operators acquire a new lustre and attractiveness in a dynamic set-up. The starting point of this paper is dynamic predicate logic. The paper first extends the semantics of dynamic predicate logic (Groenendijk & Stokhof 1991) with a (...) clause for definite t assignment. The constructs for indefinite and definite assignment (η and ι) allow a very straightforward analysis of indefinte and definite descriptions in natural language. It is shown how the standard semantics for ι assignment (van Eijck & de Vries 1992) leads to a Russellian treatment of definite descriptions. A Hoare/Pratt–style calculus of assertions for dynamic predicate logic is presented, and it is demonstrated how the axiom schemata of the calculus allow for the calculation of success conditions (static truth conditions) or, equivalently, for the calculation of failure conditions (static falsiry conditions) of dynamic predicate logic programs. Next, the dynamic semantics is enriched with error states, intended to monitor failure of uniqueness presuppositions for definite descriptions. The semantic clause for ι assignment can now take the presuppositions of the use of definite descriptions into account, which gets us a Strawsonian treatment of definites. It is indicated how a Hoare/Pratt–style calculus for the error state semantics can be set up. The paper ends with a demonstration of the use of this calculus for finding success conditions, failure conditions, and error conditions (conditions for presupposition failure). It is also shown that the axiom system may serve as a calculus of presupposition projection. (shrink)
A semantics for interrogatives is presented which is based on Karttunen's theory, but in a flexible manner incorporates both weak and strong exhaustivity. The paper starts out by considering degree questions, which often require an answer picking out the maximal degree from a certain set. However, in some cases, depending on the semantic properties of the question predicate, reference to the minimal degree is required, or neither specifying the maximum nor the minimum is sufficient. What is needed is an operation (...) which defines the maximally informative answer on the basis of the Karttunen question denotation. Shifting attention to non-degree questions, two notions of answerhood are adopted from work by Heim. The first of these is weakly exhaustive and the second strongly exhaustive. The second notion of answerhood is proven to be equivalent to Groenendijk and Stokhof's interrogative semantics. On the basis of a wide range of empirical data showing that questions often are not interpreted exhaustively, it is argued that a fairly rich system of semantic objects associated with questions is needed to account for the various ways in which questions contribute to the semantics and pragmatics of the utterances in which they appear. (shrink)
In this paper an approach to the exhaustive interpretation of answers is developed. It builds on a proposal brought forward by Groenendijk and Stokhof (1984). We will use the close connection between their approach and McCarthy's (1980, 1986) predicate circumscription and describe exhaustive interpretation as an instance of interpretation in minimal models, well-known from work on counterfactuals (see for instance Lewis (1973)). It is shown that by combining this approach with independent developments in semantics/pragmatics one can overcome certain limitations (...) of Groenenedijk and Stokhof's (1984) proposal. In the last part of the paper we will provide a Gricean motivation for exhaustive interpretation building on work of Schulz (to appear) and van Rooij and Schulz (2004). (shrink)
We observe that the facts pertaining to the acceptability of negative polarity items (henceforth, NPIs) in interrogative environments are more complex than previously noted. Since Klima [Klima, E. (1964). In J. Fodor & J. Katz (Eds.), The structure of language. Prentice-Hall], it has been typically assumed that NPIs are grammatical in both matrix and embedded questions, however, on closer scrutiny it turns out that there are differences between root and embedded environments, and between question nucleus and wh-restrictor. While NPIs are (...) always licensed in the nucleus of root questions, their acceptability in the restrictor of wh-phrases and in the nucleus of any embedded question depends on the logical properties of the linguistic environment: its strength in terms of exhaustivity [Groenendijk, J., & Stokhof, M. (1984). Studies on the semantics of questions and the pragmatic answers. Amserdam (NL), Post-Doctoral Dissertation. Heim, I. (1994). In R. Buchalla & A. Mittwoch (Eds.), Proceedings of the 9th annual IATL conference and of the 1993 IATL workshop on discourse (pp. 128-144). Akademon, Jerusalem. Beck, S., & Rullmann, H. (1999). Natural Language Semantics, 7, 249-298. Sharvit, Y. (2002). Natural Language Semantics, 10, 97-123] and its monotonicity properties (in the sense of von Fintel [von Fintel, K. (1999). Journal of Semantics, 16, 97-148]). (shrink)