An Explanation of the Veridical Uniformity Universal

Journal of Semantics (forthcoming)
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A semantic universal, which we here dub the Veridical Uniformity Universal, has recently been argued to hold of responsive verbs (those that take both declarative and interrogative complements). This paper offers a preliminary explanation of this universal: verbs satisfying it are easier to learn than those that do not. This claim is supported by a computational experiment using artificial neural networks, mirroring a recent proposal for explaining semantic universals of quantifiers. This preliminary study opens up many avenues for future work on explaining semantic universals more generally, which are discussed in the conclusion.



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Shane Steinert-Threlkeld
University of Washington

Citations of this work

Contrafactives and Learnability.Simon Wimmer & David Strohmaier - 2022 - In Marco Degano, Tom Roberts, Giorgio Sbardolini & Marieke Schouwstra (eds.), Proceedings of the 23rd Amsterdam Colloquium. pp. 298-305.

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References found in this work

Generalized quantifiers and natural language.John Barwise & Robin Cooper - 1981 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (2):159--219.
Generalized Quantifiers and Natural Language.Jon Barwise - 1980 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4:159.
Questions and Answers in Embedded Contexts.Utpal Lahiri - 2001 - Oxford University Press UK.
Question Embedding and the Semantics of Answers.Benjamin Ross George - 2011 - Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles

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