Garland (1990)

Peter Nathan Lasersohn
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
This dissertation provides a model-theoretic semantics for English sentences atttributing a property or action to a group of objects, either collectively or distributively. It is shown that certain adverbial expressions select for collective predicates; therefore collective and distibutive predicates must be distinguishable. This finding is problematic for recent accounts of distributive predicates which analyze such predicates as taking group-level arguments, and hence as not distinguishable from collective predicates. ;A group-level treatment of distributives is possible, however, if predicate denotations are relativized to a set of events for which a part/whole relation is defined. An event in which a group performs an action distributively will have subevents in which each of the group's members perform the same action; an event in which the group performs the action collectively will not. ;This analysis also makes possible an account of the fact that adverbials expressing collective action commonly have an additional use expressing spatial proximity, both in English and cross-linguistically. . A spatial "trace" function on the set of events allows formal definitions for the spatial uses of such adverbials to exactly parallel the definitions for the collectivizing uses. ;The dissertation also provides arguments for a set-theoretic model for plurality, in which the group membership relation is distinct from the subgroup relation. ;Certain quantifiers are shown sensitive to distinction between different sorts of group-level event. To accommodate this fact, it is suggested that verbal denotations provide, for each event, both an "inclusion set" and an "exclusion set"--corresponding roughly to positive and negative denotations. If the inclusion and exclusion sets are allowed under certain circumstances not to complement each other, correct results obtain. ;The splitting of verbal denotations into inclusion and exclusion sets also allows the solution of certain problems in previous accounts of the semantics of subject-verb agreement for number. The dissertation closes with a defense of the hypothesis that agreement is conditioned primarily by the semantics
Keywords Semantics  Grammar, Comparative and general Number  Grammar, Comparative and general Syntax
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Reprint years 2016
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Call number P325.L3 1990
ISBN(s) 0815301537   1138691798   1138690902   9780815301530   9781138690905   9781315533933   9781138691797
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Situations in Natural Language Semantics.Angelika Kratzer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Covert Distributivity in Algebraic Event Semantics.Lucas Champollion - 2016 - Semantics and Pragmatics 9 (15):1-66.
Groups as Pluralities.John Horden & Dan López de Sa - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10237-10271.

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