About this topic
Summary A semantics for a particular language L is a theory that maps each sentence of L onto its meaning, usually by having theorems of the appropriate form among its deductive consequences. It is standard (although controversial) to require an adequate semantics for L to be compositional – that is, to show how the meaning of each sentence of L is determined by the meanings of its basic lexical items and its syntactic structure. A central foundational question about semantics concerns its proper object of study: what features of an expression count as its semantic ones? One standard answer is that semantics should be “outward-looking” and concern itself with the word-world relational features of expressions, especially those that determine the truth-conditions of sentences. Another influential answer is that semantics should be “inward-looking” and concern itself with relationships between expressions and mental representations. Further important questions concern how linguistic meaning interacts with features of extra-linguistic context, how semantic and pragmatic phenomena are to be distinguished, and what role (if any) an adequate semantics for L should play in explaining the capacity of competent L-speakers to use and understand utterances in L.    
Key works See Davidson 1967, Soames 2009, Jackendoff 1990 and Higginbotham 1992 for important discussions of the proper object of study for semantics. Montague 1974 and Partee 1973 are crucial texts on the application of formal methods to the semantics of natural language. Devitt 2006 is a critical discussion on the role of semantic theory (and linguistics more generally) in explaining linguistic competence. Kaplan 1989 is a landmark treatment of context-sensitivity within semantic theory. Preyer & Peter 2007 and Szabo 2005 are valuable collections that discuss some of the controversies about the role of context in semantics and about how to distinguish semantics from pragmatics, respectively.
Introductions Good introductions to natural language semantics are Heim & Kratzer 1998, Larson & Segal 1995, and Chierchia & McConnell-Ginet 2000. Portner & Partee 2002 is a collection of important primary texts.
Related categories
Subcategories:History/traditions: Semantics

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  1. Content Nouns and the Semantics of Question-Embedding.Wataru Uegaki - 2015 - Journal of Semantics:ffv009.
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  2. Genericity and Inductive Inference.Henry Ian Schiller - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    We are often justified in acting on the basis of evidential confirmation. I argue that such evidence supports belief in non-quantificational generic generalizations, rather than universally quantified generalizations. I show how this account supports, rather than undermines, a Bayesian account of confirmation. Induction from confirming instances of a generalization to belief in the corresponding generic is part of a reasoning instinct that is typically (but not always) correct, and allows us to approximate the predictions that formal epistemology would make.
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  3. Composing Local Contexts.Chris Barker - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (2):385-407.
    An expression’s presuppositions must be satisfied by its local context, that is, by the utterance context updated with the content of expressions that have already been evaluated. Traditional dynamic approaches track local context by remaking clause denotations into context update functions. This requires crafting for each semantic operator an update recipe that is not fully determined by its truth conditions, failing to capture how local contexts depend only on truth conditions and order of evaluation. In other theories, computing local contexts (...)
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  4. Non-Intrusive Questions as a Special Type of Non-Canonical Questions.Donka F. Farkas - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (2):295-337.
    This paper introduces on the scene a new type of non-canonical question, dubbed non-intrusive, exemplified by interrogatives marked by the particle oare in Romanian. It does so by providing an account of the distribution and interpretation of this particle using an updated version of the context components in Fălăuş & Laca, and an elaboration of the general assumptions in Faller. The intuition the account captures is that by marking an interrogative with oare, the speaker signals that she does not assume (...)
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  5. Intonational Commitments.Deniz Rudin - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (2):339-383.
    This paper presents an analysis of inquisitive rising declaratives within the Table model. On this account, intonational tunes are modifiers of context update functions: rising intonation removes the speaker commitment component of a context update. This delivers a compositional account of the contributions of sentence type and intonational tune to the illocutionary mood of an utterance, showing how the semantic type of declarative sentences, the rising intonational tune, and a general-purpose utterance function conspire to derive the basic discourse effect of (...)
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  6. Are Most and More Than Half Truth-Conditionally Equivalent?Milica Denić & Jakub Szymanik - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (2):261-294.
    Quantifying determiners most and more than half are standardly assumed to have the same truth-conditional meaning. Much work builds on this assumption in studying how the two quantifiers are mentally encoded and processed. There is however empirical evidence that most is sometimes interpreted as ‘significantly more than half’. Is this difference between most and more than half a pragmatic effect, or is the standard assumption that the two quantifiers are truth-conditionally equivalent wrong? We report two experiments which demonstrate that most (...)
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  7. Alternatives in Counterfactuals: What Is Right and What Is Not.Jacopo Romoli, Paolo Santorio & Eva Wittenberg - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (2):213-260.
    Classical semantics for counterfactuals is based on a notion of minimal change: If ${\textsf {A}}$, would ${\textsf {C}}$ says that the worlds that make ${\textsf {A}}$ true and that are otherwise minimally different from the actual world are ${\textsf {C}}$-worlds. This semantics suffers from a well-known difficulty with disjunctive antecedents. In a recent study, Ciardelli, Zhang, and Champollion present new, related difficulties for the classical approach having to do with unpredicted differences between counterfactuals with De Morgan-equivalent antecedents, and related pattern (...)
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  8. Time and Tense.Berit Brogaard - 2019 - In Bob Hale, Alex Miller & Crispin Wright (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 765-786.
    Two of the main debates in philosophy of language concerning time and tense are the debate about the semantics of the tenses in the English language and the debate over whether propositions can be transiently true or false as opposed to always being eternally true or false. The latter quarrel is also known as the "temporalism–eternalism debate." Given standard semantics, the two debates are not logically independent, as we will see. Those who believe propositions are eternally true or false needn’t (...)
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  9. Coping With Imaginative Resistance.Daniel Altshuler & Emar Maier - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
    We propose to characterize imaginative resistance as the failure or unwillingness of the reader to take a fictional description of a deviant reality at face value. The goal of the paper is to explore how readers deal with such a breakdown of the default Face Value interpretation strategy. We posit two distinct interpretative ‘coping’ strategies which help the reader engage with the resistance-inducing fiction by attributing the offending content to one of the fictional characters. We present novel empirical evidence that (...)
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  10. Structural Effects on Implicature Calculation.Jon Ander Mendia - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
    This paper provides an investigation of Ignorance Inferences by looking at the superlative modifier at least. The formal properties of these inferences are characterized in terms of the epistemic conditions that they impose on the speaker, thereby establishing how much can and must be inferred about what the speaker is ignorant about. The paper makes two main contributions. First, it argues that the form of these inferences depends solely on the structural properties of the expression that at least is modifying, (...)
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  11. The Mereological Structure of Distributivity: A Case Study of Binominal Each.Jess H.-K. Law - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (1):159-211.
    Binominal each is known to exhibit selectional requirements on the noun phrase that immediately precedes it. The goal of this paper is to reduce these selectional requirements to a single requirement of monotonic growth of measurement in relation to the ‘size’ of distributivity. More concretely, it is argued that binominal each imposes a constraint on the functional dependencies arising from distributive quantification, requiring that the measurement of its host grows monotonically with the number of values being distributively quantified. To make (...)
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  12. Iffy Endorsements.Magdalena Kaufmann & Stefan Kaufmann - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 38 (4):639-665.
    Theories of imperatives differ in how they aim to derive the distributional and functional properties of this clause type. One point of divergence is how to capture the fact that imperative utterances convey the speaker’s endorsement for the course of events described. Condoravdi & Lauer observe that conditionals with imperative consequents are infelicitous as motivations of advice against doing something and take this as evidence for an analysis of imperatives as encoding speaker endorsement. We investigate CIs in further contexts and (...)
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  13. Comparison Via Eher.Carla Umbach & Stephanie Solt - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (1):39-85.
    This paper is about the semantics of the German adverb eher, which has three, or perhaps four, readings: temporal, epistemic, metalinguistic and—depending on whether it is accepted as a genuine reading—preference. In its epistemic reading, eher gained prominence in semantics because it was used by Kratzer to argue that the notion of possibility is gradable. Eher has also received attention from a diachronic perspective, where it has been compared to the English adverb rather. Our analysis starts from the temporal reading (...)
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  14. Property Inheritance, Deferred Reference and Copredication.Matthew Gotham - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (1):87-116.
    There are sentences that are coherent and possibly true, but in which there is at the very least the appearance of a conflict between the requirements of two predicates that are applied to the same argument. This phenomenon, known as copredication, raises various issues for linguistic theory. In this paper I defend and develop an approach to the issues of counting and individuation in copredication put forward in previous work, in dialogue with criticisms made by Liebesman & Magidor and their (...)
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  15. Articulated Homogeneity in Cumulative Sentences.Keny Chatain - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (1):1-37.
    In this work, I use cumulative readings of every as a tool to investigate homogeneity in cumulative readings in general. Based on a new observation about the homogeneity properties of cumulative readings of every, I argue that the homogeneity properties of cumulative readings arise from the interaction of multiple operators, each operator contributing one exhaustive participation inference which disappears in negative contexts. I identify these operators with the thematic role heads in a Neo-Davidsonian semantics. The resulting theory is able to (...)
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  16. Children’s Interpretation of Sentences Containing Multiple Scalar Terms.Cory Bill, Elena Pagliarini, Jacopo Romoli, Lyn Tieu & Stephen Crain - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 38 (4):601-637.
    Sentences containing the scalar term “some”, such as “The pig carried some of his rocks”, are usually interpreted as conveying the scalar inference that the pig did not carry all of his rocks. Previous research has reported that when interpreting such sentences, children tend to derive fewer of these scalar inferences than adults ; Papafragou & Musolino ; Guasti et al., among others). One approach to explaining these results contends that children have difficulties accessing the alternative sentences involved in the (...)
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  17. All Focus is Contrastive: On Polarity (Verum) Focus, Answer Focus, Contrastive Focus and Givenness.Daniel Goodhue - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (1):117-158.
    I develop a general theory of focus and givenness that can account for truly contrastive focus, and for polarity focus, including data that are sometimes set apart under the label “verum focus”. I show that polarity focus creates challenges for classic theories of focus that can be dealt with by requiring that all focus marking is truly contrastive, and that givenness deaccenting imposes its own distinct requirement on prominence shifts. To enforce true contrast, I employ innocent exclusion, which I suggest (...)
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  18. Notes on Iterated Rationality Models of Scalar Implicatures.Danny Fox & Roni Katzir - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 38 (4):571-600.
    In the linguistics literature, the derivation of scalar implicatures has often been handled in a relatively modular way, using computations that are sensitive to logical relations among alternatives such as entailment but are blind to other notions such as the probabilities that participants in a conversation might associate with these alternatives. In recent years, a family of models that we refer to as iterated rationality models have offered an interestingly different perspective on such alternative-sensitive processes in terms of multiple iterations (...)
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  19. Evidentiality in Abductive Reasoning: Experimental Support for a Modal Analysis of Evidentials.Anastasia Smirnova - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 38 (4):531-570.
    This paper presents results from two experimental studies that address a theoretical debate in semantics about the meaning of evidentiality and its relation to epistemic modality. According to modal analyses, evidentiality, in addition to the information source, encodes that the proposition in the scope of the evidential is possibly/necessarily true. Non-modal analyses postulate that evidential sentences entail the proposition in their scope and have the same semantic strength as non-evidential sentences. The predictions of the two approaches are tested for Bulgarian. (...)
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  20. Distinguishing Homogeneity From Vagueness.Diego Feinmann - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 38 (4):667-679.
    The question of whether the gappiness associated with vague sentences is of the same kind as the gappiness associated with homogenous sentences has been raised but not settled. In this article, I set out to fill this gap. To begin with, I examine the arguments that have been given for and against assimilating homogeneity to the phenomenon of vagueness. Next, I present three linguistic tests in which homogeneous and vague sentences come apart very clearly, namely, the disagreement test, the epistemic (...)
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  21. Monotonicity Revisited: Mass Nouns and Comparisons of Purity.Alan Bale, Bernhard Schwarz & David Shanks - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 38 (4):681-708.
    Comparatives with more plus mass noun, like John has more milk than Bill, are naturally analyzed as referencing measure functions, functions like volume or weight that map individuals to degrees. Although such measure functions vary with context as well as the choice of mass noun, there are well known grammatical limitations on this variation. In particular, Schwarzschild proposes that only monotonic measure functions can enter into the interpretation of comparatives with more plus mass noun. While this Monotonicity Constraint has strong (...)
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  22. Random Choice From Likelihood: The Case of Chuj.Luis Alonso-Ovalle & Justin Royer - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 38 (4):483-529.
    Research on modality has recently broadened beyond the verbal domain, unearthing questions about the cross-categorial nature of modality, for instance: To what extent do DP and VP modals mirror each other? Chuj, an understudied Mayan language, provides an ideal vantage point to answer this question with respect to random choice modality. Random choice indefinites convey, roughly, that an agent made an indiscriminate choice. In Chuj, random choice indefinite DPs involve a morpheme that can also appear as a verbal modifier, inviting (...)
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  23. Entrevista a la doctora María José Rincón González sobre la preservación y la difusión literaria y lingüística de República Dominicana.Jesús Miguel Delgado Del Aguila - 2022 - Semas. Revista de Lingüística Teórica y Aplicada 3 (5):187-195.
    María José Rincón González nació en Sevilla (España) y reside en República Dominicana desde 1992. Es miembro de número de la Academia Dominicana de la Lengua (ADL) desde el 2011 y directora del Instituto Guzmán Ariza de Lexicografía. Asimismo, es miembro correspondiente de la Real Academia Española (RAE) y miembro del consejo asesor de Fundéu Guzmán Ariza. Con respecto a su formación superior, es doctora en Filología por la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) y máster en Lexicografía por (...)
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  24. Extending the Lambek Calculus with Classical Negation.Michael Kaminski - 2022 - Studia Logica 110 (2):295-317.
    We present an axiomatization of the non-associative Lambek calculus extended with classical negation for which the frame semantics with the classical interpretation of negation is sound and complete.
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  25. Overlooked Evidence for Semantic Compositionality and Signal Reduction in Wild Chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes).Petar Gabrić - forthcoming - Animal Cognition.
    Recent discoveries of semantic compositionality in Japanese tits have enlivened the discussions on the presence of this phenomenon in wild animal communication. Data on semantic compositionality in wild apes are lacking, even though language experiments with captive apes have demonstrated they are capable of semantic compositionality. In this paper, I revisit the study by Boesch (Hum. Evol. 6:81–89, 1991) who investigated drumming sequences by an alpha male in a chimpanzee (_Pan troglodytes_) community in the Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire. A (...)
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  26. The Dynamics of Argumentative Discourse.Carlotta Pavese & Alexander W. Kocurek - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (2):413-456.
    Arguments have always played a central role within logic and philosophy. But little attention has been paid to arguments as a distinctive kind of discourse, with its own semantics and pragmatics. The goal of this essay is to study the mechanisms by means of which we make arguments in discourse, starting from the semantics of argument connectives such as `therefore'. While some proposals have been made in the literature, they fail to account for the distinctive anaphoric behavior of `therefore', as (...)
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  27. World and Logic.Jens Lemanski - 2021 - London, Vereinigtes Königreich: College Publications.
    What is the relationship between the world and logic, between intuition and language, between objects and their quantitative determinations? Rationalists, on the one hand, hold that the world is structured in a rational way. Representationalists, on the other hand, assume that language, logic, and mathematics are only the means to order and describe the intuitively given world. In World and Logic, Jens Lemanski takes up three surprising arguments from Arthur Schopenhauer’s hitherto undiscovered Berlin Lectures, which concern the philosophy of language, (...)
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  28. Acquaintance and Evidence in Appearance Language.Rachel Etta Rudolph - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-29.
    Assertions about appearances license inferences about the speaker's perceptual experience. For instance, if I assert, 'Tom looks like he's cooking', you will infer both that I am visually acquainted with Tom (what I call the "individual acquaintance inference"), and that I am visually acquainted with evidence that Tom is cooking (what I call the "evidential acquaintance inference"). By contrast, if I assert, 'It looks like Tom is cooking', only the latter inference is licensed. I develop an account of the acquaintance (...)
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  29. Lexical innovation and the periphery of language.Luca Gasparri - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (1):39-63.
    Lexical innovations (e.g., zero-derivations coined on the fly by a speaker) seem to bear semantic content. Yet, such expressions cannot bear semantic content as a function of the conventions of meaning in force in the language, since they are not part of its lexicon. This is in tension with the commonplace view that the semantic content of lexical expressions is constituted by linguistic conventions. The conventionalist has two immediate ways out of the tension. The first is to preserve the conventionalist (...)
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  30. Presupposition as Argumentative Reasoning.Fabrizio Macagno - 2015 - In Alessandro Capone & Jacob Mey (eds.), Interdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society. Cham, Switzerland: pp. 465-487.
    Presuppositions are pragmatically considered as the conditions of the felicity of a speech act, or discourse move; however, the decision of setting the conditions of a move, which the hearer needs to accept in order to continue the dialogue, can be thought of as a speech act of a kind. The act of presupposing depends on specific conditions and in particular on the possibility of the hearer to reconstruct and accept the propositional content. These pragmatic conditions lead to epistemic considerations: (...)
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  31. AI with Alien Content and Alien Metasemantics.Herman Cappelen & Joshua Dever - forthcoming - In Ernest Lepore (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Applied Philosophy of Language. OUP.
  32. Conservación de la lengua castellana a través de los ámbitos de la escritura, la investigación y la publicidad. Entrevista al Dr. Ignacio Bosque Muñoz, académico de número de la Real Academia Española.Jesús Miguel Delgado Del Aguila - 2020 - Cuadernos Literarios 14 (17):69-75.
    En esta entrevista se resolvieron las interrogantes formuladas y orientadas a la preservación de la lengua castellana en Hispanoamérica. En principio, se abordaron tres temas fundamentales derivados de esta propuesta: la escritura, la investigación y la publicidad. Con el primer tópico, se discernió la función de las normativas, los diccionarios y los manuales elaborados por la Real Academia Española. Su intervención es enjundiosa, ya que direcciona al lector y académico al perfeccionamiento de su lenguaje, con la finalidad de que no (...)
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  33. LOGISCHE UND SEMANTISCHE FUNKTION DER PRÄPOSITIONEN IN LEIBNIZ’ SPRACHPHILOSOPHIE.Lucia Oliveri - 2014 - In Wenchao Li (ed.), Studia Leibnitiana - Supplementa 38 Einheit der Vernunft und Vielfalt der Sprachen Beiträge zu Leibniz' Sprachforschung und Zeichentheorie. Stoccarda, Germania: pp. 55-82.
    Eine Untersuchung der Präpositionen bei Leibniz kann aufgrund ihrer synkatego-rematischen Natur zeigen, in welchem Sinne die Sprache - als strukturiertes, bedeutendes Zeichensystem – das logische Verhältnis unter den Notionen ausdrü-cken kann, und damit der Zusammenhang zwischen Grammatik und Semantik einerseits, und Logik anderseits, erhellen. Meiner Ansicht nach bekommt auch Leibniz' Versuch des Aufbaus einer characteristica universalis dank dieser Per-spektive ein neues Forschungsinteresse. Um das Interesse für diese Redeteile zu wecken, werde ich zuvor in einem kurzen Exkurs die vorgängige Tradition dar-stellen. (...)
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  34. In Defense of Question Diversity: Comments on Ciardelli.Manfred Krifka - 2021 - In Moritz Cordes (ed.), Asking and Answering: Rivalling Approaches to Interrogative Methods. Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto. pp. 55–62.
  35. Asking and Answering: Rivalling Approaches to Interrogative Methods.Moritz Cordes (ed.) - 2021 - Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto.
    Questions are everywhere and the ubiquitous activities of asking and answering, as most human activities, are susceptible to failure – at least from time to time. This volume offers several current approaches to the systematic study of questions and the surrounding activities and works toward supporting and improving these activities. The contributors formulate general problems for a formal treatment of questions, investigate specific kinds of questions, compare different frameworks with regard to how they regulate the activities of asking and answering (...)
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  36. Relativist 'Know': 'Wh'-Complements and Intermediate Exhaustivity.Ahmad Jabbar - 2021 - Proceedings of ESSLLI.
    We consider a puzzle in the question semantics literature. The puzzle concerns data when 'know' embeds interrogative complements. For the exhaustive strength in the literature known as intermediately exhaustive, first person ascriptions don't seem to exist, but third person do. By arguing against the only solution in the literature, we suggest that the puzzle is more interesting than previously thought. We provide a compositional semantics for 'know' where the interpretation of 'know' is relativized to an information state. The proposed semantics, (...)
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  37. Théorie des modèles, de la simulation et représentation scientifique chez Mario Bunge.Jean Robillard - 2022 - Mεtascience 2:à par. aux Éd. Matériologiques.
    On entend généralement par « théorie des modèles » autant la métamathématique (ou sémantique formelle) que la sémantique des modèles des sciences non formelles. Cet article a pour objet la théorie des modèles scientifiques que Mario Bunge a développée dans Method, Models and Matter (1973). J’y analyse l’intégration théorique qu’opère Bunge des sciences formelles et des sciences expérimentales ou observationnelles, laquelle prend appui sur sa philosophie des sciences. Je la compare sommairement à la théorie des modèles de Gilles-Gaston Granger dans (...)
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  38. The Language of Fiction.Emar Maier & Andreas Stokke (eds.) - 2021 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume brings together new research on fiction from the fields of philosophy and linguistics. Fiction has long been a topic of interest in philosophy, but recent years have also seen a surge in work on fictional discourse at the intersection between linguistics and philosophy of language. In particular, there has been a growing interest in examining long-standing issues concerning fiction from a perspective that is informed both by philosophy and linguistic theory. -/- Following a detailed introduction by the editors, (...)
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  39. Fiction and Common Ground.Merel Semeijn - 2021 - Dissertation,
    The main aim of this dissertation is to model the different ways in which we use language when we engage with fiction. This main aim subdivides itself into a number of puzzles. We all know that dragons do not exist. Yet, when I read the Harry Potter novels, I do accept the existence of dragons. How do we keep such fictional truths separate from ‘ordinary’ non-fictional truths? What is the difference between Tolkien writing down all sorts of falsities, and a (...)
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  40. Proof Theory and Semantics for a Theory of Definite Descriptions.Nils Kürbis - 2021 - In Anupam Das & Sara Negri (eds.), TABLEAUX 2021, LNAI 12842.
    This paper presents a sequent calculus and a dual domain semantics for a theory of definite descriptions in which these expressions are formalised in the context of complete sentences by a binary quantifier I. I forms a formula from two formulas. Ix[F, G] means ‘The F is G’. This approach has the advantage of incorporating scope distinctions directly into the notation. Cut elimination is proved for a system of classical positive free logic with I and it is shown to be (...)
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  41. Divertissement quasigramsciano su logica e linguaggio.Salvatore Pistoia-Reda - 2021 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio 15 (1):148-153.
    This note focuses on the interaction between logic and grammar and discusses whether logical rules are irrelevant for syntactic formation. Classical evidence for the independence of syntax from logic comes from the acceptability of analytic propositions. Based on this piece of evidence, various authors in traditional discussions pronounced that language is illogical. This note focuses instead on two ways to oppose such pronouncements. In Gramscian linguistics, one can maintain that language is not illogical by broadening the notion of language one (...)
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  42. A Note on the Cardinalities of Sets of Scalar Alternatives.Salvador Mascarenhas - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
    Formal theories of scalar implicature appeal crucially to a set of alternatives. These are the alternative statements that a speaker could have made but chose not to in pragmatic accounts, and the alternative statements that figure in the computation of exhaustivity operators in grammatical approaches. I show that the three sufficiently explicit theories of alternatives in the literature generate sets of alternatives that grow at least exponentially as a function of the input, and that these theories generate very large sets (...)
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  43. The Contribution of Gestures to the Semantics of Non-Canonical Questions.Michela Ippolito - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
    The symbolic gesture MAT used by native speakers of Italian characterizes non-canonical wh questions when used both as a co-speech and pro-speech gesture. MAT can be executed with either a fast tempo contour or a slow tempo contour. Tempo is semantically significant: descriptively, a fast tempo characterizes a biased but information-seeking non-canonical question; a slow tempo characterizes a rhetorical non-canonical question. I argue that the fast contour is the default tempo of MAT and that it brings about a biased interpretation. (...)
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  44. Sporting Propaganda: The Language of Strategic Fouling.Miroslav Imbrisevic - 2020 - Idrottsforum.
    Words don’t just describe the world; they change the world. We do things with words as John L. Austin (1975) has argued. But words can also change how we think about something. In this piece I wish to examine the everyday usage of words referring to strategic fouling, as it cuts across various languages. In some languages this rule-violation gave rise to figurative language after the practice became widespread. We find euphemisms but also dysphemisms, as well as evaluative language (whose (...)
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  45. Disjunction in Negative Contexts: A Cross-Linguistic Experimental Study.Oana Lungu, Anamaria Fălăuș & Francesca Panzeri - 2021 - Journal of Semantics 38 (2):221-247.
    This squib reports experimental findings from a study investigating the interpretation of simple disjunction in negative contexts in four languages: Italian, French, English, Romanian. We provide evidence that casts doubt on the robustness of the distinction between PPI disjunction languages and non-PPI disjunction languages. The difference turns out to be less clear-cut than assumed in the theoretical or experimental literature. The results reported here inform current accounts of positive polarity and flesh out some methodological issues raised by the various tasks (...)
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  46. Coordinating Ifs.Justin Khoo - 2021 - Journal of Semantics 38 (2):341-361.
    Accounting for the behavior of conjoined and disjoined if-clauses is not easy for standard theories of conditionals that treat if as either an operator or restrictor. In this paper, I discuss four observations about coordinated if-clauses, and motivate a semantics for conditionals that reorients the compositional structure of the restrictor theory. On my proposal, if-clauses provide restrictions on modal domains, but they do so by way of a higher type intermediary—a set of propositions—that is collapsed by the modal. I argue (...)
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  47. The Semantics of Emotive Markers and Other Illocutionary Content.Jessica Rett - 2021 - Journal of Semantics 38 (2):305-340.
    I identify a class of expressions called ‘emotive markers,’ exemplified by fortunately and alas, which encode not-at-issue information about the speaker’s emotive attitude towards the content of the utterances they occur in. I argue that there are important differences emotive markers and other encoders of not-at-issue content, in particular utterance modifiers like frankly or evidential adverbs like apparently. In contrast to these, emotive markers can result in Moore’s Paradox and always range over their local argument. I conclude that the contribution (...)
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  48. Deferred Reference of Proper Names.Katarzyna Kijania-Placek & Paweł Banaś - 2021 - Journal of Semantics 38 (2):195-219.
    In this paper, we argue that proper names have deferred uses. Following Geoffrey Nunberg, we describe the deferred reference mechanism by which a linguistic expression refers to something in the world by exploiting a contextually salient relation between an index and the referent in question. Nunberg offered a thorough analysis of deferred uses of indexicals but claimed that proper names do not permit such uses. We, however, offer a number of examples of uses of proper names which pass grammatical tests (...)
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  49. The Semantics of Comparatives: A Difference-Based Approach.Linmin Zhang & Jia Ling - 2021 - Journal of Semantics 38 (2):249-303.
    Degree semantics has been developed to study how the meanings of measurement and comparison are encoded in natural language. Within degree semantics, this paper proposes a difference-based approach to analyze the semantics of comparatives. The motivation is the measurability and comparability of differences involved in comparatives. The main claim is that comparatives encode a subtraction equation among three scalar values: two measurements along an interval scale and the difference between them. We contribute two innovations: using interval arithmetic to implement subtraction, (...)
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  50. Entrevista a Ysabel Delgado. Traducción, interpretación de textos y enseñanza de lenguas.Jesús Miguel Delgado Del Aguila - forthcoming - Cátedra.
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