Contrafactives and Learnability: An Experiment with Propositional Constants

In Daisuke Bekki, Koji Mineshima & Eric McCready (eds.), Logic and Engineering of Natural Language Semantics. Cham: Springer. pp. 67-82 (2023)
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Holton has drawn attention to a new semantic universal, according to which no natural language has contrafactive attitude verbs. Because factives are universal across natural languages, Holton’s universal is part of a major asymmetry between factive and contrafactive attitude verbs. We previously proposed that this asymmetry arises partly because the meaning of contrafactives is significantly harder to learn than that of factives. Here we extend our work by describing an additional computational experiment that further supports our hypothesis.



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Author Profiles

David Strohmaier
Cambridge University
Simon Wimmer
TU Dortmund

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