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Structures for Semantics

(1991)

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  1. Comparative Concepts.Richard Dietz - 2013 - Synthese 190 (1):139-170.
    Comparative concepts such as greener than or higher than are ways of ordering objects. They are fundamental to our grasp of gradable concepts, that is, the type of meanings expressed by gradable general terms, such as "is green" or "is high", which are embeddable in comparative constructions in natural language. Some comparative concepts seem natural, whereas others seem gerrymandered. The aim of this paper is to outline a theoretical approach to comparative concepts that bears both on the account of naturalness (...)
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  • Predicting the Presuppositions of Soft Triggers.Márta Abrusán - 2011 - Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (6):491-535.
    The central idea behind this paper is that presuppositions of soft triggers arise from the way our attention structures the informational content of a sentence. Some aspects of the information conveyed are such that we pay attention to them by default, even in the absence of contextual information. On the other hand, contextual cues or conversational goals can divert attention to types of information that we would not pay attention to by default. Either way, whatever we do not pay attention (...)
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  • A Non-Uniform Semantic Analysis of the Italian Temporal Connectives Prima and Dopo.Del Prete Fabio - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (2):157-203.
    In this paper, I argue that the temporal connective prima (‘before’) is a comparative adverb. The argument is based on a number of grammatical facts from Italian, showing that there is an asymmetry between prima and dopo (‘after’). On the ground of their divergent behaviour, I suggest that dopo has a different grammatical status from prima. I propose a semantic treatment for prima that is based on an independently motivated analysis of comparatives which can be traced back to Seuren (in: (...)
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  • Plurality in Buriat and Structurally Constrained Alternatives.Lisa Bylinina & Alexander Podobryaev - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
    We offer a solution to a puzzle in the number interpretation of nominals in Buriat. Buriat has a two-way number opposition in morphology, but semantically, both forms may be number neutral. We show that even though the number neutrality of unmarked nominals is heavily restricted, it does not boil down to incorporation. Our proposal is that unmarked nominals can be either singular or numberless. In case they are singular, they are semantically strictly atomic, but when there are numberless they are (...)
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  • A Universal Scale of Comparison.Alan Clinton Bale - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (1):1-55.
    Comparative constructions form two classes, those that permit direct comparisons (comparisons of measurements as in Seymour is taller than he is wide) and those that only allow indirect comparisons (comparisons of relative positions on separate scales as in Esme is more beautiful than Einstein is intelligent). In contrast with other semantic theories, this paper proposes that the interpretation of the comparative morpheme remains the same whether it appears in sentences that compare individuals directly or indirectly. To develop a unified account, (...)
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  • Polar Opposition and the Ontology of 'Degrees'.Christopher Kennedy - 2001 - Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (1):33-70.
    This paper uses the distribution and interpretation of antonymous adjectives in comparative constructions as an empirical basis to argue that abstract representations of measurement, or ‘degrees’, must be modeled as intervals on a scale, rather than as points, as commonly assumed. I begin by demonstrating that the facts in this domain must be accounted for in terms of the interaction of the semantics of adjectival polarity and the semantics of the comparative, rather than principles governing the (overt) expression of particular (...)
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  • Any.Nirit Kadmon & Fred Landman - 1993 - Linguistics and Philosophy 16 (4):353 - 422.
  • What Is Classical Mereology?Paul Hovda - 2009 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 38 (1):55 - 82.
    Classical mereology is a formal theory of the part-whole relation, essentially involving a notion of mereological fusion, or sum. There are various different definitions of fusion in the literature, and various axiomatizations for classical mereology. Though the equivalence of the definitions of fusion is provable from axiom sets, the definitions are not logically equivalent, and, hence, are not inter-changeable when laying down the axioms. We examine the relations between the main definitions of fusion and correct some technical errors in prominent (...)
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  • Mass Nouns, Vagueness and Semantic Variation.Gennaro Chierchia - 2010 - Synthese 174 (1):99 - 149.
    The mass/count distinction attracts a lot of attention among cognitive scientists, possibly because it involves in fundamental ways the relation between language (i.e. grammar), thought (i.e. extralinguistic conceptual systems) and reality (i.e. the physical world). In the present paper, I explore the view that the mass/count distinction is a matter of vagueness. While every noun/concept may in a sense be vague, mass nouns/concepts are vague in a way that systematically impairs their use in counting. This idea has never been systematically (...)
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  • On Similarity in Counterfactuals.Ana Arregui - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (3):245-278.
    This paper investigates the interpretation of counterfactual conditionals. The main goal of the paper is to provide an account of the semantic role of similarity in the evaluation of counterfactuals. The paper proposes an analysis according to which counterfactuals are treated as predications “ de re ” over past situations in the actual world. The relevant situations enter semantic composition via the interpretation of tense. Counterfactuals are treated as law-like conditionals with de re predication over particular facts. Similarity with respect (...)
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  • Approximating the Limit: The Interaction Between Quasi 'Almost' and Some Temporal Connectives in Italian.Amaral Patrícia & Del Prete Fabio - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (2):51 - 115.
    This paper focuses on the interpretation of the Italian approximative adverb quasi 'almost' by primarily looking at cases in which it modifies temporal connectives, a domain which, to our knowledge, has been largely unexplored thus far. Consideration of this domain supports the need for a scalar account of the semantics of quasi (close in spirit to Hitzeman's semantic analysis of almost, in: Canakis et al. (eds) Papers from the 28th regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, 1992). When paired with (...)
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  • Perspectival Thought: A Plea for Relativism.François Recanati - 2010 - Critica 42 (124):77-100.
    MY NEW BOOK, TO BE PUBLISHED BY OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS IN THE FALL.
     
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  • The Progressive.Fred Landman - 1992 - Natural Language Semantics 1 (1):1-32.
  • Measurement Theory in Linguistics.Galit Weidman Sassoon - 2010 - Synthese 174 (1):151-180.
    This paper presents a novel semantic analysis of unit names (like pound and meter) and gradable adjectives (like tall, short and happy), inspired by measurement theory (Krantz et al. In Foundations of measurement: Additive and Polynomial Representations, 1971). Based on measurement theory’s four-way typology of measures, I claim that different adjectives are associated with different types of measures whose special characteristics, together with features of the relations denoted by unit names, explain the puzzling limited distribution of measure phrases, as well (...)
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  • Enciclopédia de Termos Lógico-Filosóficos.João Branquinho, Desidério Murcho & Nelson Gonçalves Gomes (eds.) - 2006 - São Paulo, SP, Brasil: Martins Fontes.
    Esta enciclopédia abrange, de uma forma introdutória mas desejavelmente rigorosa, uma diversidade de conceitos, temas, problemas, argumentos e teorias localizados numa área relativamente recente de estudos, os quais tem sido habitual qualificar como «estudos lógico-filosóficos». De uma forma apropriadamente genérica, e apesar de o território teórico abrangido ser extenso e de contornos por vezes difusos, podemos dizer que na área se investiga um conjunto de questões fundamentais acerca da natureza da linguagem, da mente, da cognição e do raciocínio humanos, bem (...)
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  • Quantifier Words and Their Multifunctional(?) Parts.Anna Szabolcsi, James Doh Whang & Vera Zu - 2014 - Language and Linguistics 15 (1).
    Formal semantic analyses often take words to be minimal building blocks for the purposes of compositionality. But various recent theories of morphology and syntax have converged on the view that there is no demarcation line corresponding to the word level. The same conclusion has emerged from the compositional semantics of superlatives. In the spirit of extending compositionality below the word level, this paper explores how a small set of particles (Japanese KA and MO, Chinese DOU, and Hungarian VALA/VAGY, MIND, and (...)
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  • Topological Foundations of Cognitive Science.Carola Eschenbach, Christopher Habel & Barry Smith - manuscript
    A collection of papers presented at the First International Summer Institute in Cognitive Science, University at Buffalo, July 1994, including the following papers: -/- ** Topological Foundations of Cognitive Science, Barry Smith -/- ** The Bounds of Axiomatisation, Graham White -/- ** Rethinking Boundaries, Wojciech Zelaniec -/- ** Sheaf Mereology and Space Cognition, Jean Petitot -/- ** A Mereotopological Definition of 'Point', Carola Eschenbach -/- ** Discreteness, Finiteness, and the Structure of Topological Spaces, Christopher Habel -/- ** Mass Reference and (...)
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  • Dynamická sémantika a dynamická logika.Jaroslav Peregrin - 1996 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 3 (4):333-348.
    The “dynamic turn” in semantic theory of natural language, which has been taking place roughly during the last decade, has resulted into seeing the meaning of a sentence as a “context-change-potential”, as a function which maps the set of possible contexts on itself. The development of theories of this kind has been stimulated especially by the effort to semantically cope with the anaphoric items of natural language . The most significant species of dynamic semantic theories are represented by Kamp´s “discourse (...)
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  • Temporal Propositions as Vague Predicates.Tim Fernando - unknown
    The idea that temporal propositions are vague predicates is examined with attention to the nature of the objects over which the predicates range. These objects should not, it is argued, be identified once and for all with points or intervals in the real line (or any fixed linear order). Context has an important role to play not only in sidestepping the Sorites paradox (Gaifman 2002) but also in shaping temporal moments/extent (Landman 1991). The Russell-Wiener construction of time from events (Kamp (...)
     
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  • Meaning and Use of Not ... Until.H. de Swart - 1996 - Journal of Semantics 13 (3):221-263.
    Time adverbials introduced by until impose restrictions on the aspectual class of the main clause they combine with: they only combine with durative sentences. In negative sentences, the situation is more complex. The question arises whether negative sentences are durative, or whether there is a separate use of until as a negative polarity item. In this paper, I discuss the three treatments of not…until that are characterized in the literature as the scope analysis, the ambiguity thesis and the lexical composition (...)
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  • What Do Quantifier Particles Do?Anna Szabolcsi - 2015 - Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (2):159-204.
    In many languages, the same particles that form quantifier words also serve as connectives, additive and scalar particles, question markers, roots of existential verbs, and so on. Do these have a unified semantics, or do they merely bear a family resemblance? Are they aided by silent operators in their varied roles―if yes, what operators? I dub the particles “quantifier particles” and refer to them generically with capitalized versions of the Japanese morphemes. I argue that both MO and KA can be (...)
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  • Events and the Ontology of Individuals: Verbs as a Source of Individuating Mass and Count Nouns.David Barner, Laura Wagner & Jesse Snedeker - 2008 - Cognition 106 (2):805-832.
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  • The Degree Functions of Negative Adjectives.Galit Weidman Sassoon - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (2):141-181.
    This paper provides a new account of positive versus negative antonyms. The data includes well-known linguistic generalizations regarding negative adjectives, such as their incompatibility with measure phrases (cf. two meters tall/ *short) and ratio phrases (twice as tall/ #short) as well as the impossibility of truly crosspolar comparisons (*Dan is taller than Sam is short). These generalizations admit a variety of exceptions, e.g., positive adjectives that do not license measure phrases (cf. #two degrees warm/cold) and rarely also negative adjectives that (...)
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  • Countability Distinctions and Semantic Variation.Amy Rose Deal - 2017 - Natural Language Semantics 25 (2):125-171.
    To what extent are countability distinctions subject to systematic semantic variation? Could there be a language with no countability distinctions—in particular, one where all nouns are count? I argue that the answer is no: even in a language where all NPs have the core morphosyntactic properties of English count NPs, such as combining with numerals directly and showing singular/plural contrasts, countability distinctions still emerge on close inspection. I divide these distinctions into those related to sums and those related to parts. (...)
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  • A Generalised Framework for Modelling Granularity.Gyarmathy Zsófia - 2017 - Journal of Semantics 34 (3):483-506.
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  • Dependent Plurals and Plural Meaning.Eytan Zweig - 2008 - Dissertation, NYU
    While writing this thesis, there were many things I wanted to get right. I wanted to get the data right. I wanted to get my analysis of the data right. I certainly wanted to get all my citations right, which can get pretty tricky when one is trying to finish a chapter at 2am. But if an error did creep in somewhere in the body of the thesis, that is not a disaster. Sooner or later, I will get a chance (...)
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  • Litotes and Downward Monotonicity.Ton Van der Wouden - 1996 - In H. Wansing (ed.), Negation: A Notion in Focus. W. De Gruyter. pp. 145.
  • Events and Event Talk: An Introduction.Fabio Pianesi & Achille C. Varzi - 2000 - In James Higginbotham, Fabio Pianesi & Achille C. Varzi (eds.), Speaking of Events. Oxford University Press. pp. 3–47.
    A critical review of the main themes arising out of recent literature on the semantics of ordinary event talk. The material is organized in four sections: (i) the nature of events, with emphasis on the opposition between events as particulars and events as universals; (ii) identity and indeterminacy, with emphasis on the unifier/multiplier controversy; (iii) events and logical form, with emphasis on Davidson’s treatment of the form of action sentences; (iv) linguistic applications, with emphasis on issues concerning aspectual phenomena, the (...)
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  • Evaluating Future-Tensed Sentences in Changing Contexts.Andrea Bonomi & Fabio Del Prete - manuscript
    According to the actualist view, what is essential in the truth conditions of a future-tensed sentence of type ‘it will be the case that ϕ’ is the reference to the unique course of events that will become actual. On the other hand, the modal view has it that the truth conditions of such a sentence require the truth of ϕ being already “settled” at the time of utterance, where “being settled” is defined by universal quantification over a domain of courses (...)
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  • The Origins of Telicity.Manfred Krifka - manuscript
    The distinction between telic and atelic predicates has been described in terms of the algebraic properties of their meaning since the early days of model-theoretic semantics. This perspective was inspired by Aristotle’s discussion of types of actions that do or do not take time to be completed1 which was taken up and turned into a linguistic discussion of action-denoting predicates by Vendler (1957). The algebraic notion that seemed to be most conducive to express the Aristotelian distinction appeared to be the (...)
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  • The Algebraic Structure of Amounts: Evidence From Comparatives.Daniel Lassiter - 2010 - In T. Icard & R. Muskens (eds.), Interfaces: Explorations in Logic, Language and Computation. Springer Berlin. pp. 38--56.
  • Quantifier Particles and Compositionality.Anna Szabolcsi - 2013 - Proceedings of the 19th Amsterdam Colloquium.
    In many languages, the same particles build quantifier words and serve as connectives, additive and scalar particles, question markers, existential verbs, and so on. Do the roles of each particle form a natural class with a stable semantics? Are the particles aided by additional elements, overt or covert, in fulfilling their varied roles? I propose a unified analysis, according to which the particles impose partial ordering requirements (glb and lub) on the interpretations of their hosts and the immediate larger contexts, (...)
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  • What Are Sets and What Are They For?Alex Oliver & Timothy Smiley - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):123–155.