In this paper I am concerned with the semantic analysis of sentences of the form 'It is true that p'. I will compare different proposals that have been made to analyse such sentences and will defend a view that treats this sentences as a mere sytactic variation of sentences of the form 'That p is true'.
This paper examines the role that linguistic and cognitive prominence play in the resolution of anaphor–antecedent relationships. In two experiments, we found that pronouns are immediately sensitive to the cognitive prominence of potential antecedents when other antecedent selection cues are uninformative. In experiment 1, results suggest that despite their theoretical dissimilarities, topic and contrastive focus both serve to enhance cognitive prominence. Results from experiment 2 suggest that the contrastive prosody appropriate for focus constructions may also play an important role (...) in enhancing cognitive prominence. Thus different types of linguistic prominence (topic, contrastive focus) appear to have the common effect of increasing the cognitive prominence of the discourse referent. For pronouns with two possible antecedents, the cognitive prominence of an antecedent aids in anaphor resolution, immediately biasing selection towards the more prominent (and ultimately preferred) antecedent. (shrink)
In this essay, we propose that Peirce’s Existential Graphs can derive the desired uniqueness implication (or in a weaker claim, the definite description readings) of donkey pronouns in conjunctive discourse (A man walks in the park. He whistles), without postulating a separate category of E-type pronouns.
It is common practice in formal semantics to assume that the context speciﬁes an assignment of values to variables and that the same variables that receive contextually salient values when they occur free may also be bound by quantiﬁers and λs. These assumptions are at work to provide a uniﬁed account of free and bound uses of third person pronouns, namely one by which the same lexical item is involved in both uses. One way to pursue this account is (...) to treat quantiﬁers and λs as monsters in Kaplan’s sense. We argue that this move should be avoided and explore an alternative route based on the idea that there is a variable assignment coordinate in the context and a variable assignment coordinate in the circumstance of evaluation, with the deﬁnition of truth in context identifying them. One fundamental challenge that arises in pursuing a uniﬁed account is to explain the difference in the way the gender presuppositions of bound and free pronouns project. The proposal that emerges from the attempt to meet this challenge is a non-indexical account of free third person pronouns and a new conception of the role and structure of assignment functions. (shrink)
Two central assumptions of current models of language acquisition were addressed in this study: (1) knowledge of linguistic structure is "mapped onto" earlier forms of non-linguistic knowledge; and (2) acquiring a language involves a continuous learning sequence from early gestural communication to linguistic expression. The acquisition of the first and second person pronouns ME and YOU was investigated in a longitudinal study of two deaf children of deaf parents learning American Sign Language (ASL) as a first language. Personal (...) class='Hi'>pronouns in ASL are formed by pointing directly to the addressee (YOU) or self (I or ME), rather than by arbitrary symbols. Thus, personal pronouns in ASL resemble paralinguistic gestures that commonly accompany speech and are used prelinguistically by both hearing and deaf children beginning around 9 months. This provides a means for investigating the transition from prelinguistic gestural to linguistic expression when both gesture and language reside in the same modality.\nThe results indicate that deaf children acquired knowledge of personal pronouns over a period of time, displaying errors similar to those of hearing children despite the transparency of the pointing gestures. The children initially (ages 10 and 12 months) pointed to persons, objects, and locations. Both children then exhibited a long avoidance period, during which one function of the pointing gesture (pointing to self and others) dropped out completely. During this period their language and cognitive development were otherwise entirely normal, and they continued to use other types of pointing (e.g., to objects). When pointing to self and others returned, it was marked with errors typical of hearing children; one child exhibited consistent pronoun reversal errors, thinking the YOU point referred to herself, while the other child exhibited reversal errors inconsistently. Evidence from experimental tasks conducted with the first child revealed that pronoun errors occurred in comprehension as well. Full control of the ME and YOU pronouns was not achieved until 25-27 months, around the same time when hearing children master these forms. Thus, the study provides evidence for a discontinuity in the child's transition from prelinguistic to linguistic communication. It is argued that aspects of linguistic structure and its acquisition appear to involve distinct, language-specific knowledge. (shrink)
Traditionally, pronouns are treated as ambiguous between bound and demonstrative uses. Bound uses are non-referential and function as bound variables, and demonstrative uses are referential and take as a semantic value their referent, an object picked out jointly by linguistic meaning and a further cue—an accompanying demonstration, an appropriate and adequately transparent speaker’s intention, or both. In this paper, we challenge tradition and argue that both demonstrative and bound pronouns are dependent on, and co-vary with, antecedent expressions. Moreover, (...) the semantic value of a pronoun is never determined, even partly, by extra-linguistic cues; it is fixed, invariably and unambiguously, by features of its context of use governed entirely by linguistic rules. We exploit the mechanisms of Centering and Coherence theories to develop a precise and general meta-semantics for pronouns, according to which the semantic value of a pronoun is determined by what is at the center of attention in a coherent discourse. Since the notions of attention and coherence are, we argue, governed by linguistic rules, we can give a uniform analysis of pronoun resolution that covers bound, demonstrative, and even discourse bound readings. Just as the semantic value of the first-person pronoun ‘I’ is conventionally set by a particular feature of its context of use—namely, the speaker—so too, we will argue, the semantic values of other pronouns, including ‘he’, are conventionally set by particular features of the context of use. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to investigate a case in which certain features have been argued to sometimes play a role in the interpretation of an expression and sometimes not—in particular, the case of gender and person features on pronouns.1 That these are in certain configurations only agreement features which have no semantic content has been explored in numerous places; for an especially detailed study, see Kratzer (1998, 2008); see also Heim (2008), von Stechow (2003) and others. I (...) argue here that the view that these are ‘uninterpretable’ is incorrect; they do in fact play the normal role in the semantic composition and their appearance of uninterpretability comes from the particular role they play in the interpretation of focus.2 In a nutshell, the proposal is that these features make no contribution to the focus value of an expression (i.e., they play no role in the computation of a set of alternatives in the sense of Rooth 1984), but they are always fully interpreted in the regular semantic value of an expression. The ‘punchline’ of this paper centres on the interaction of these features with paycheck pronouns—I will show that this interaction provides striking confirmation for the proposal here and presents a serious challenge to the agreement solution. But before turning to the details of the analysis and the paycheck evidence, let me step back to discuss just what is at stake in broader terms. The agreement hypothesis maintains that in certain cases these features play the expected role in the interpretation while in other cases they are only agreement features and play no role in the semantic computation. As will be documented below, this view—if correct—would pose a very real threat to the hypothesis of direct compositionality. Thus, the case of features on pronouns is not just a small and isolated piece of grammatical investigation, but one with quite striking implications for the organization of the grammar. (shrink)
Unbound anaphoric pronouns or ‘E-type pronouns’ have presented notorious problems for semantic theory, leading to the development of dynamic semantics, where the primary function of a sentence is not considered that of expressing a proposition that may act as the object of propositional attitudes, but rather that of changing the current information state. The older, ‘E-type’ account of unbound anaphora leaves the traditional notion of proposition intact and takes the unbound anaphor to be replaced by a full NP (...) whose semantics is assumed to be known (e.g. a definite description). In this paper, I argue that there are serious problems with any version of the E-type account as well as the (original form of the) dynamic account. I will explore a new account based on structured propositions, which can be considered a conservative extension of a traditional proposition-based semantics, but which at the same time incorporates some crucial insights of the dynamic account. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to explore the proper content of a formal semantic theory in two respects: first, clarifying which uses of expressions a formal theory should seek to accommodate, and, second, how much information the theory should contain. I explore these two questions with respect to occurrences of demonstratives and pronouns – the so- called ‘deferred’ uses – which are often classified as non-standard or figurative. I argue that, contrary to initial impressions, they must be treated (...) as semantically identical to ordinary, perceptual uses of these expression-types, and that this finding has important repercussions for our view of the scope and limits of a semantic theory. (shrink)
We report two experiments that investigated the widely held assumption that speakers use the addressee’s discourse model when choosing referring expressions (e.g., Ariel, 1990; Chafe, 1994; Givón, 1983; Prince, 1985), by manipulating whether the addressee could hear the immediately preceding linguistic context. Experiment 1 showed that speakers increased pronoun use (and decreased noun phrase use) when the referent was mentioned in the immediately preceding sentence compared to when it was not, even though the addressee did not hear the preceding sentence, (...) indicating that speakers used their own, privileged discourse model when choosing referring expressions. The same pattern of results was found in Experiment 2. Speakers produced more pronouns when the immediately preceding sentence mentioned the referent than when it mentioned a referential competitor, regardless of whether the sentence was shared with their addressee. Thus, we conclude that choice of referring expression is determined by the referent’s accessibility in the speaker’s own discourse model rather than the addressee’s. (shrink)
This paper argues for the hypothesis of direct compositionality (as in, e.g., Montague 1974), according to which the combinatory syntactic rules specify a set of well-formed expressions while the semantic combinatory rules work in tandem to directly supply a model-theoretic interpretation to each expression as it is "built" in the syntax. (This thus obviates the need for any level like LF and, concomitantly, for any rules mapping surface structures to such a level.) I focus here on one related group of (...) phenomena: the interaction of "paycheck" pronouns with Weak Crossover effects and i-within-i effects. These interactions were studied in Jacobson (1977) as they show up in Back-Peters sentences. There I argued that these interactions show that paycheck pronouns have a complex representation at LF; here I show that all of the observations in this earlier work are compatible with the hypothesis of direct compositionality. The key tool is the adoption of a variation-free semantics (a semantics which makes no use of variables as part of the semantic machinery). In addition to the general consequences for the syntax/semantics interface, there are two other main results. First, I provide new arguments for a variable-free semantics. For example, it will be shown that under this view the paycheck reading of a pronoun comes for free; most other theories posit additional mechanisms and/or an additional lexical meaning for pronouns, and thus paycheck and regular pronouns are only accidentally homophonous. Second, I reiterate one of the central points in Jacobson (1977): this is that the first pronoun in a Bach-Peters sentence is indeed a paycheck pronoun, and hence nothing special needs to be said about these sentences nor does any new machinery need to be invoked for them. (shrink)
It is argued that the pronouns `she' and `he' are disguised complexdemonstratives of the form `that female/male'. Three theories ofcomplex demonstratives are examined and shown to be committed to theview that `s/he' turns out to be an empty term when used to refer toa hermaphrodite. A fourth theory of complex demonstratives, one thatis hermaphrodite friendly, is proposed. It maintains that complexdemonstratives such as `that female/male' and the pronoun `s/he' can succeed in referring to someone independently of his or her (...) gender.This theory incorporates: (i) a multiple proposition view, i.e., theview that an utterance of a sentence containing a complex demonstrativeexpresses two (or more) propositions, namely the background proposition(s)and the official one; (ii) that the referent of a complex demonstrativeis a component of the official proposition expressed whether it satisfiesthe nominal part of the demonstrative expression or not; (iii) that thenominal part of a complex demonstrative only affect the background proposition(s) and (iv) that the utterance inherits its truth-value onlyfrom the official proposition. (shrink)
It is commonly argued that natural language has the expressive power of quantifying over intensional entities, such as times, worlds, or situations. A standard way of modelling this assumes that there are unpronounced but syntactically represented variables of the corresponding type. Not all that much as has been said, however, about the exact syntactic location of these variables. Meanwhile, recent work has highlighted a number of problems that arise because the interpretive options for situation pronouns seem to be subject (...) to various restrictions. This paper is primarily concerned with situation pronouns inside of determiner phrases, arguing that they are introduced as arguments of (certain) determiners. Verbal predicates, on the other hand, are assumed to not combine with a situation pronoun. The various restrictions on their interpretation are shown to fall out from the semantic system that is developed based on that view. Further support for such an account comes from situation semantic analyses of donkey sentences as well as data on the temporal interpretation of nominal predicates. Its ability to account for this full range of data in a unified manner is shown to set it apart from previous proposals. The paper closes with an outlook on further extensions, including an account of quantifier domain restriction based on situation pronouns. (shrink)
Within natural language semantics, pronouns are often thought to correspond to variables whose values are contributed by contextual assignment functions. This paper concerns the application of this idea to cases where the antecedent of a pronoun is a plural quantifiers. The paper discusses the modelling of accessibility patterns of quantifier antecedents in a dynamic theory of interpretation. The goal is to reach a semantics of quantificational dependency which yields a fully semantic notion of pronominal accessibility. I argue that certain (...) dependency phenomena that arise in quantificationally created contexts require a representation of context wherein the labelling of antecedents is not rigid but rather dynamic itself. I propose a stack-based alternative to classic assignment functions, along the lines of Vermeulen (1993) and van Eijck (2001), and give a dynamic semantics of quantification which correctly accommodates the problematic anaphoric phenomena. (shrink)
The problem discussed here is to find a basis for a uniform treatment of the relation between pronouns and their antecedents, taking into account both linguists' and philosophers' approaches. The two main candidates would appear to be the linguists' notion of coreference and the philosophers' notion of pronouns as variables. The notion of coreference can be extended to many but not all cases where the antecedent is non-referential. The pronouns-as-variables approach appears to come closer to full generality, (...) but there are some examples of pronouns of laziness which appear to resist either of the two approaches. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that anaphoric pronouns should always be interpreted exhaustively. I propose that pronouns are either used referentially and refer to the speaker's referents of their antecedent indefinites, or descriptively and go proxy for the description recoverable from its antecedent clause. I show how this view can be implemented within a dynamic semantics, and how it can account for various examples that seemed to be problematic for the view that for all unbound pronouns there (...) always should be a notion of exhaustivity/uniqueness involved. The uniqueness assumption for the use of singular pronouns is also shown to be importantto explain what the discourse referents used in dynamic semantics represent. (shrink)
Montalbetti (1984) points out certain semantic differences between phonetically full and phonetically empty pronouns (henceforth full and n u l l pronouns) that challenge the traditional interpretive parallelism between empty and full categories (see Chomsky 1981, 1982). He shows that both in subject (1) and object position (2), while null pronouns can be interpreted as bound variables (as in (1a) and (2a) ), full pronouns cannot (as in (1c) and (2c)).
Carminati (2002) shows that the existence of both phonetically full and phonetically null pronouns (pro) in Italian reflects a division of labor with respect to anaphora resolution. Pro prefers to link to prominent antecedents more than its phonetically overt counterpart does (where prominence is determined by syntactic position in intrasentential anaphora cases).
It is well known that Charles S. Peirce's first attempt to construct a theory of metaphysical categories, already displaying the triadic pattern that would later become the keystone of his philosophy, directed itself towards the three English personal pronouns: I, IT, THOU.2 As many scholars have already noted, these three spheres of the phenomenal world identified by the young Peirce prelude to the 1867 "New List" (Quality, Relation and Representation) as well as to the later categories of Firstness, Secondness (...) and Thirdness.But apart from their documentary significance as the seed of Peircean metaphysics, the writings on I, IT and THOU also have a philosophical interest in their own right, one which deserves to .. (shrink)
The main questions we have asked are 'What do these pronouns refer to?', 'What are they coreferential with (or intended to be coreferential with)?' and 'How is their reference determined?' In the case of (1 b) these questions have often been answered by noting an ambiguity. On one.
Carminati (2002) shows that the existence of both phonetically full and phonetically null pronouns (pro) in Italian reﬂects a division of labor with respect to anaphora resolution. Pro prefers to link to prominent antecedents more than its phonetically overt counterpart does (where prominence is determined by syntactic position in intrasentential anaphora cases).
This paper presents a variable-free analysis of relational nouns in Glue Semantics, within a Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG) architecture. Relational nouns and resumptive pronouns are bound using the usual binding mechanisms of LFG. Special attention is paid to the bound readings of relational nouns, how these interact with genitives and obliques, and their behaviour with respect to scope, crossover and reconstruction. I consider a puzzle that arises regarding relational nouns and resumptive pronouns, given that relational nouns can have (...) bound readings and resumptive pronouns are just a specific instance of bound pronouns. The puzzle is why is it impossible for bound implicit arguments of relational nouns to be resumptive? The puzzle is highlighted by a well-known variety of variable-free semantics, where pronouns and relational noun phrases are identical both in category and (base) type. I show that the puzzle also arises for an established variable-based theory. I present an analysis of resumptive pronouns that crucially treats resumptives in terms of the resource logic linear logic that underlies Glue Semantics: a resumptive pronoun is a perfectly ordinary pronoun that constitutes a surplus resource; this surplus resource requires the presence of a resumptive-licensing resource consumer, a manager resource. Manager resources properly distinguish between resumptive pronouns and bound relational nouns based on differences between them at the level of semantic structure. The resumptive puzzle is thus solved. The paper closes by considering the solution in light of the hypothesis of direct compositionality. It is argued that a directly compositional version of the theory is possible, although perhaps not desirable. The implications for direct compositionality are considered. (shrink)
This paper arose from an attempt to determine how the very late medieval1 supposition theorists treated anaphoric pronouns, pronouns whose significance is derivative from their antecedents. Modern researches into pronouns were stimulated in part by the problem of "donkey sentences" discussed by Geach 1962 in a section explaining what is wrong with medieval supposition theory. So there is some interest in seeing exactly what the medieval account comes to, especially if it turns out, as I suspect, to (...) work as well as contemporary ones. Besides, finding a good analysis of pronouns has proved to be very difficult, and so we might possibly find some insight in a historically different kind of approach. I discuss a version of supposition theory that aims at producing analyses of sentences containing quantified terms,2 as articulated around 1400 by Paul of Venice, and as further developed by certain logicians such as de Soto and Celaya in the 1400's and early 1500's.3 Much of what I will say also applies indirectly to earlier versions of supposition theory (before 1400). (shrink)
Yule (1982) has argued that examples from speech show that pronouns may be interpreted nonreferentially. In the present paper, it is argued that pronouns elicit procedures for the identification of referents which are in explicit focus (Sanford and Garrod, 1981). Three experiments are offered in support of this view. The discussion centres on the need for carefully assessing the knowledge-states of listeners when pronouns are used in the absence of antecedents. It is proposed that felicitous use of (...)pronouns without antecedents can occur only when listeners have particular things in mind which serve as ‘effective antecedents’. If the listeners do not have these in mind, then it is argued that such usage is infelicitous. It is also argued that speakers may have particular antecedents in mind even if listeners do not. (shrink)
Until recently it was standard to think that all demonstratives are directly referential. This assumption has played important roles in work on perception, reference, mental content, and the nature of propositions. But Jeff King claims that demonstratives with a nominal complement (like ‘that dog’) are quantifiers, largely because there are cases in which the semantic value of such a “complex demonstrative” is not simply an object (2001). Although I agree with King that such cases preclude a directly referential, Kaplanian semantics (...) for complex demonstratives, I will argue that without contentious further assumptions they do not vindicate King’s claim that they are quantifiers. This is because familiar pronouns act like King’s examples of complex demonstratives. Indeed, pronouns and complex demonstratives share behavior that even King overlooks. None of this pronoun behavior shows that pronouns are quantifiers, and similarly none of the analogous demonstrative behavior shows that complex demonstratives are quantifiers. (shrink)
This paper looks at an approach to Principle C in which the disjoint reference effect triggered by definite description arises because there is a preference for using bound pronouns in those cases. Philippe Schlenker has linked this approach to the idea that the NP part of a definite description should be the most minimal in content relative to a certain communicative goal. On a popular view about what the syntax and semantics of a personal pronoun is, that should have (...) the effect of favoring a pronoun over a definite description. This paper shows how that can be made the source of “Vehicle Change,” an effect in ellipsis contexts in which definite descriptions seem to behave like pronouns. It requires, however, a way of distinguishing bound pronouns from non-bound pronouns, and the paper makes a proposal about how these two kinds of pronouns can be distinguished in the way needed. (shrink)
In our view, the ability to impose moral values which may be, to some extent, either shared or conflictual, influences the strategy adopted when writing argumentative texts. Our hypothesis is that the greater the socio-moral distance between the writers’ representations (the writers in this case being children) and those of the recipients (here the parents), the more likely it is that writing will be successful. Three topics derived from a preliminary experiment and corresponding to significant differences in opinion between children (...) and parents were tested in a population of 11-year-old pupils. The pupils had to write a letter designed to convince their parents about one of these topics. We analyzed the texts in order to identify the different configurations in the frequencies of use of the pronouns (frequencies of Je (I), Tu (You), Il (He), On (One/We)) and adverbs. These frequencies differed depending on the topic that was being written about (the moral context that is mobilized). (shrink)
Both young children and agrammatic aphasic speakers have difficulty interpreting pronouns, but not reflexive elements. This phenomenon is known as the delay of Principle B effect in language acquisition. The interpretation of pronouns is non-adult-like for children and disturbed in agrammatic aphasia, yet there is evidence that interpretation of pronouns is not always problematic for these populations and that it seems to be governed by linguistic principles. This chapter examines the linguistic principles underlying the interpretation of (...) class='Hi'>pronouns and reflexives among children and agrammatic aphasic speakers whose native languages were Dutch, Spanish, and Italian by focusing on two types of sentences: simple transitive sentences and Exceptional Case Marking constructions. It first looks at earlier research on language acquisition and agrammatism before discussing two important linguistic theories, Government and Binding Theory and Reflexivity and Primitives of Binding. (shrink)
Certain anaphoric forms are widely supposed to give rise to ‘de se’ interpretations. Castanteda (1966a/b, 1967) argues that intensive reflexive anaphors such as ‘he himself’ and ‘she herself’ act as devices for the indirect report of essentially ‘first person’ contents when they occur with singular antecedents. In this paper, I argue that first and third person pronouns that occur as anaphors on c-commanding quantified antecedents (so-called ‘bound variable pronouns’) also give rise to de se interpretations. I draw out (...) a problem that this observation raises for a well-accepted account according to which bound pronouns occur as featureless variables. I argue that the best way to account for de se interpretations of bound first and third person pronouns is to abandon the view that pronouns lack features when bound. I offer a new account of bound pronominal anaphora which assigns the features of pronouns a crucial role in deriving bound readings. (shrink)
In this article we provide evidence for a Minimalist account of English-type resumptive pronouns. Our findings provide empirical support for syntactic theories that, like Minimalist accounts, allow for competition among derivations. According to our account, resumptive pronouns are spell-outs of traces. For reasons of economy, the resumptive pronoun surfaces only when the derivation with the trace is precluded by syntactic principles. This account predicts that resumptive pronouns should only improve violations of constraints on representation, and not violations (...) of constraints on movement. We tested this prediction by conducting an acceptability judgment task with 36 native speakers of English. The results bore out our prediction; subjects preferred the resumptive pronoun over the trace in cases where the trace itself was illicit, but not in cases where only the movement operation was illicit. (shrink)
The presence of contrastive focus on pronouns interpreted as bound variables is puzzling. Bound variables do not refer, and it is therefore unclear how two of them can be made to contrast with each other. It is argued that this is a problem for both alternative-based accounts such as Rooth’s (Nat Lang Semantics 1:75–116, 1992) and givenness-based ones such as Schwarzschild’s (Nat Lang Semantics 7:141–177, 1999). The present paper shows that previous approaches to this puzzle face an empirical problem, (...) namely the co-occurrence of additive too and focus on bound pronouns. Our account is based on the idea that the alternatives introduced by focused bound pronouns denote individuals. Putting forward the novel concept of compositional reconstruction, we show that a suitably modified Roothian analysis of focus licensing allows us to get bound pronouns to contrast with other bound pronouns. The reason for this is that the number of potential alternatives increases. We also suggest a modification of Rooth’s ~-operator: contrastiveness becomes a requirement of the operator, which is modelled as a definedness condition. It is argued that in the case of focused bound pronouns a ~-operator is necessarily inserted in the scope of the quantifier. If this is on the right track, it follows that the phenomenon of focused bound pronouns warrants both an operator interpreting focus as well as a semantic value for the contribution of focus. Any givenness-based analysis must include these two ingredients as well; we suggest a way in which this can be implemented more or less straightforwardly. (shrink)
Plural pronouns create the possibility of overlapping reference, which does not not fit naturally into the classical GB theory of anaphora, where each NP has a single integer as its referential index. Thus, one must either complicate the indexing system used in syntax or complicate the semantic interpretation of indices. This paper argues for the former approach based on the properties of a particular comitative-like construction found in Mohawk and certain other languages. This construction is analyzed as a type (...) of Left Dislocation where the dislocated NP forms a syntactic chain with a pronoun that it overlaps in reference with. Several unusual characteristics of such chains can be accounted for if plural pronouns have sets of integers as their indices—characteristics involving bound anaphora, ellipsis interpretation, and connectivity effects. Certain implications for the theory of chains are also discussed. (shrink)
We argue against the claim put forward by Lasnik (1976) that pronouns are, in all cases, pragmatically controlled, i.e. that they directly refer to objects or situations in the world. In fact, the generalization we defend is exactly the opposite: all pronouns are linguistically controlled, i.e. they have a linguistic antecedent in all cases. Even in those instances where no antecedent is present in uttered discourse, the necessity of postulating such an antecedent, and the possibility of identifying it, (...) can be demonstrated. An antecedent which is not present in uttered discourse is subject to particular recoverability conditions, both pragmatic (it must be controlled by a salient object) and linguistic (the pronoun which is controlled by such an absentee antecedent can only occur in a restrained class of discourse contexts). (shrink)
For most people, pronouns are just a matter for linguists. In linguistics, pronouns are classified according to the various linguistic functions they perform: for instance, deictic or anaphoric, definite or indefinite, personal or demonstrative, etc. But a closer look at the issue reveals that pronouns have a great deal to do with philosophy as well. This paper presents a brief sketch of some classical philosophical problems to show how dealing with pronouns has played a part in (...) the formulation and advancement of important philosophical issues including spatial orientation, dialectics, cognition, existential experiences, social relationships, the philosophy of rights, and so forth. For Elmar Holenstein on his Seventieth Birthday. (shrink)
Liliane Tasmowski and Paul Verluyten have recently expressed their misgivings about a proposal for a distinction between syntactically and referentially functioning anaphoric pronouns that was put forth in Bosch (1980, 1983) and have re-emphasized their ideas towards a uniform treatment of anaphoric pronouns, as originally published in Tasmowski and Verluyten (1982). In the following pages I shall point out some limitations of the uniform pronoun treatment Tasmowski and Verluyten have in mind and I shall propose some amendments and (...) extensions of my earlier proposals in order to take phenomena of gender and number agreement of pronouns into account which were ignored in earlier versions. (shrink)
The article is a contribution to the debate between Tasmowski & Verluyten (1982, 1985) and Bosch (1983, 1984, 1987) as to how the form as well as the interpretation of anaphoric pronouns is determined. TV rightly criticize B's tests as to whether a particular third-person pronoun is functioning semantico-syntactically or referential-anaphorically; however, their examples and arguments do not warrant the conclusion that there is no substantive distinction to be drawn between the two types of pronoun use. Many of TV's (...) examples in this connection merit further analysis, which leads to very different conclusions from the ones they arrive at. There is not a single dichotomy between two types of pronoun use, but a dine, the crucial factor differentiating each position on the cline being the degree to which the pronoun's discourse referent or its intension is presupposed by the speaker. In section 2, I argue that the traditional notion ‘antecedent’, as espoused by TV, should be abandoned, and that it is in terms of the discourse model representation by means of which each discourse referent is encoded in the discourse model that anaphoric pronouns refer. Finally, in section 3, the role of the ‘agreement’ of anaphoric pronouns in gender and number is examined, and the conclusion is drawn that this is not a necessary condition for pronominal anaphora. Referential-anaphoric pronouns are relatively independent indexical expressions, and their gender and number features may be manipulated by the speaker to achieve a variety of types of reference to a particular discourse referent. Suggestions as to fruitful areas for future research in the field of pronominal anaphora are derived from the foregoing discussion. (shrink)
The present paper discusses two interesting phenomena concerning phi-features on plural pronouns: plural pronouns that denote atomic individuals, and plural pronouns with more than one binder. A novel account of these two phenomena is proposed, according to which all occurrences of phi-features are both semantically and morphologically relevant. For such a ‘uniformly semantic account’ of phi-features, dependent plural pronouns constitute a theoretical challenge, while partial binding is more or less straightforwardly accounted for. In order to make (...) sense of the semantic effects of the phi-features on dependent plural pronouns, the following idea is pursued: the phi-features on a dependent plural pronoun reflect the range of values that the pronoun takes, rather than the particular value it denotes at a time. This idea is implemented in a compositional semantics by making use of choice functions. An appealing feature of the present account is that, unlike its predecessors, it accounts for dependent plural pronouns without c-commanding antecedents in essentially the same way as for those with c-commanding antecedents. It is also shown how this account of dependent plural pronouns can straightforwardly be augmented with set indices to account for partial binding. (shrink)
For the resolution of plural pronouns referring to singularly introduced reference persons the plural antecedent has to be built up by the cognitive system itself (installing a plural complex, e. g. ‘John wanted to have a picnic with Mary. They had…’). For singular pronouns the antecedent is usually mentioned in the text explicitly. This contribution examined which aspects of the prepronominal sentence structure determine the installation of a plural antecedent and at which point of time this process is (...) initiated. Using the German pronoun ‘sie, which is ambiguous in respect to number, it was shown in a first experiment that subjects have a preference to continue a text by referring to both singularly introduced persons, if they are combined by the conjunctions ‘and’, ‘as well as’ or neither/nor‘, or by the preposition ‘with’, if the female person is in the verb phrase. Subjects prefer to refer to the female person only after the prepositions ‘without’ and 'instead of, and after ‘with’ if the female person is in the noun phrase. The reaction time data of the second experiment indicated that at least these conjunctions and ‘with’ initiate a plural reference complex before a pronoun is read. This pre-pronominal installation of a complex serves to facilitate plural reference operations executed at a later point in processing. In our view, pronominal resolution is more than a mere recursive search-and-match procedure initiated by reading the pronoun; the cognitive system is better prepared for processing further referential relations. This view is discussed in the context of a ‘pronominal occupation’ hypothesis. (shrink)
In this article I will develop the ﬁrst steps of a wholly general theory of how indexical and reﬂexive pronouns function in propositional attitude ascriptions. This will involve a theory of ascriptions of de se beliefs and de se utterances, which can probably be also generalized so as to apply to ascriptions of other attitudes. It will also involve a theory about the ascriptions of beliefs or other attitudes a person has at a time about what happens then (attitudes (...) de praesente, as they are sometimes called) and the beliefs of a person concerning the one whom he is addressing (which I might call beliefs de recipiente) etc.. The most distinctive aspect of the theory will be that I will argue that many phenomena associated with such ascriptions that are nowadays most often viewed as pragmatic are semantic. I will use a system of symbolic logic to formalize such ascriptions. I will start from David Kaplan’s Logic of Demonstratives and generalize it into a logic I call Doxastic Logic of Demonstratives, DLD. Crucial to the semantics of the logic will be an exact deﬁnition of the adjustments of a character from one context to another. (shrink)
In this volume, Geurts takes discourse representation theory (DRT), and turns it into a unified account of anaphora and presupposition, which he applies not only to the standard problem cases but also to the interpretation of modal expressions, attitude reports, and proper names. The resulting theory, for all its simplicity, is without doubt the most comprehensive of its kind to date. The central idea underlying Geurts' 'binding theory' of presupposition is that anaphora is just a special case of presupposition projection. (...) But this is only one of the ways in which the concept of presupposition is taken beyond its traditional limits. Geurts shows, furthermore, that presupposition projection is crucially involved in several phenomena that are not usually viewed in presuppositional terms, such as modal subordination, de re readings of attitude reports, and rigid designation. While making his case for DRT and the binding theory, Geurts also presents an incisive analysis of what is probably still the most influential account of presupposition, viz. the satisfaction theory, demonstrating that there are fundamental problems not only with this theory but with the very framework in which it is couched. (shrink)