This article develops a Gricean account for the computation of scalarimplicatures in cases where one scalar term is in the scope ofanother. It shows that a cross-product of two quantitative scalesyields the appropriate scale for many such cases. One exception iscases involving disjunction. For these, I propose an analysis that makesuse of a novel, partially ordered quantitative scale for disjunction andcapitalizes on the idea that implicatures may have different epistemic status.
Acceptable analyticities, i.e. contradictions or tautologies, constitute problematic evidence for the idea that language includes a deductive system. In recent discussion, two accounts have been presented in the literature to explain the available evidence. According to one of the accounts, grammatical analyticities are accessible to the system but a pragmatic strengthening repair mechanism can apply and prevent the structures from being actually interpreted as contradictions or tautologies. The proposed data, however, leaves it open whether other versions of the meaning modulation (...) operation are required. Novel evidence we present argues that a loosening version of the repair mechanism must be available. Our observation concerns acceptable lexical contradictions that cannot be rescued if only a strengthening version of the pragmatic strategy is available. (shrink)
Grammatical theories of Scalar Implicatures make use of an exhaustivity operator exh, which asserts the conjunction of the prejacent with the negation of excludable alternatives. We present a new Grammatical theory of Scalar Implicatures according to which exh is replaced with pex, an operator that contributes its prejacent as asserted content, but the negation of scalar alternatives at a non-at-issue level of meaning. We show that by treating this non-at-issue level as a presupposition, this theory resolves a number of empirical (...) challenges faced by the old formulation of exh (as well as by standard neo-Gricean theories). The empirical challenges include projection of scalar implicatures from certain embedded environments (‘some under some’ sentences, some under negative factives), their restricted distribution under negation, and the existence of common ground-mismatching and oddness-inducing implicatures. We argue that these puzzles have a uniform solution given a pex-based Grammatical theory of implicatures and some independently motivated principles concerning presupposition projection, cancellation and accommodation. (shrink)
Winter (2000) argues that so-called co-distributive or cumulative readings do not involve polyadic quantification (contra proposals by Krifka, Schwarzschild, Sternefeld, and others). Instead, he proposes that all such readings involve a hidden anaphoric dependency or a lexical mechanism. We show that Winter's proposal is insufficient for a number of cases of cumulative readings, and that Krifka's and Sternefeld's polyadic **-operator is needed in addition to dependent definites. Our arguments come from new observations concerning dependent plurals and clause-boundedness effects with cumulative (...) readings. (shrink)
Naive speakers find some logical contradictions acceptable, specifically borderline contradictions involving vague predicates such as Joe is and isn’t tall. In a recent paper, Cobreros et al. (J Philos Logic, 2012) suggest a pragmatic account of the acceptability of borderline contradictions. We show, however, that the pragmatic account predicts the wrong truth conditions for some examples with disjunction. As a remedy, we propose a semantic analysis instead. The analysis is close to a variant of fuzzy logic, but conjunction and disjunction (...) are interpreted as intensional operators. (shrink)
Kamp and Fine presented an influential argument against the use of fuzzy logic for linguistic semantics in 1975. However, the argument assumes that contradictions of the form "A and not A" have semantic value zero. The argument has been recently criticized because sentences of this form are actually not perceived as contradictory by naive speakers. I present new experimental evidence arguing that fuzzy logic still isn't useful for linguistic semantics even if we take such naive speaker judgements at face value. (...) Specifically I show that naive speakers judge "A and not A" in the relevant cases as more true than "B and not A" even when A and B are judged to be equally true. A truth functional semantics such as fuzzy logic cannot account for these intuitions directly. (shrink)
It has been generally assumed that certain categories of numerical expressions, such as ‘more than n’, ‘at least n’, and ‘fewer than n’, systematically fail to give rise to scalar implicatures in unembedded declarative contexts. Various proposals have been developed to explain this perceived absence. In this paper, we consider the relevance of scale granularity to scalar implicature, and make two novel predictions: first, that scalar implicatures are in fact available from these numerical expressions at the appropriate granularity level, and (...) second, that these implicatures are attenuated if the numeral has been previously mentioned or is otherwise salient in the context. We present novel experimental data in support of both of these predictions, and discuss the implications of this for recent accounts of numerical quantifier usage. (shrink)
This paper argues that parts of the lexical content of an A-bar moved phrase must be interpreted in the base position of movement. The argument is based on a study of deletion of a phrase that contains the base position of movement. I show that deletion licensing is sensitive to the content of the moved phrase. In this way, I corroborate and extend conclusions based on Condition C reconstruction by N. Chomsky and D. Fox. My result provides semantic evidence for (...) the existence of traces and gives semantic content to the A/A-bar distinction. (shrink)
All humans can interpret sentences of their native language quickly and without effort. Working from the perspective of generative grammar, the contributors investigate three mental mechanisms, widely assumed to underlie this ability: compositional semantics, implicature computation and presupposition computation. This volume brings together experts from semantics and pragmatics to bring forward the study of interconnections between these three mechanisms. The contributions develop new insights into important empirical phenomena; for example, approximation, free choice, accommodation, and exhaustivity effects.
This paper investigates the structure of English restrictive relative clauses. It provides support for the view that restrictive relative clauses are structurally ambiguous between two structures: the head-internal, raising structure and the matching structure, which has both an internal and an external head. We present a new test from extraposition facts that distinguishes between the raising and matching structures for relative clauses. Furthermore, this paper presents an account of the semantics of raising relative clauses which is intended to complete the (...) picture of the semantics of relative clauses. In particular, we argue that raising relative clauses are not islands for Quantifier Raising (QR) and that in these clauses there is successive cyclic movement through a CP-adjoined position. (shrink)
It is widely believed that existential quantifiers can bring about the semantic effects of a scope which is wider than their actual syntactic scope (See Fodor & Sag (1982), Cresti (1995), Kratzer (1995), Reinhart (1995) and Winter (1995), among many others.) On the other hand, it is assumed that the syntactic scope of universal quantifiers can be determined unequivocally by the semantics. This paper shows that this second assumption is wrong; universal quantifiers can also bring about scope illusions, though in (...) a very specific environment. In particular, we argue that in the environment of generic tense, universal quantifiers can show the semantic effects of a scope which is wider than the one that is actually realized at LF. Our argument has four steps. First, we show that in generic contexts, universal quantifiers escape standard “scope-islands” (Section 1). Second, we show how the effects of wide scope in generic contexts can be achieved without syntactic wide scope (Section 2.1). Third, we show that this result is actually forced on us, once we take seriously certain independent issues concerning the interpretation of generic tense (Sections 2.2 - 2.4). Finally, the semantics of generic tense and, in particular, its interaction with focus, will yield some intricate new predictions, which, as we show, are borne out (Sections 3 - 5). (shrink)
The theory of language must predict the possible thought—signal (or meaning—sound or sign) pairings of a language. We argue for a Meaning First architecture of language where a thought structure is generated first. The thought structure is then realized using language to communicate the thought, to memorize it, or perhaps with another purpose. Our view contrasts with the T-model architecture of mainstream generative grammar, according to which distinct phrase-structural representations—Phonetic Form (PF) for articulation, Logical Form (LF) for interpretation—are generated within (...) the grammar. At the same time, our view differs from early transformational grammar and generative semantics: We view the relationship between the thought structure and the corresponding signal as one of compression. We specify a formal sketch of compression as a choice between multiple possible pronounciations balancing the desire to transmit information against the effort of pronounciation. The Meaning First architecture allows a greater degree of independence between thought structures and the linguistic signal. We present three arguments favoring this type of independence. First we argue that scopal properties can be better explained if we only compare thought structures independent of the their realization as a sentence. Secondly, we argue that Meaning First architecture allows contentful late insertion, an idea that has been argued for in Distributed Morphology already, but as we argue is also motivated by the division of the logical and socio-emotive meaning content of language. Finally, we show that only the Meaning First architecture provides a satisfying account of the mixing of multiple languages by multilingual speakers, especially for cases of simultaneous articulation across two modalities in bimodal speakers. Our view of the structure of grammar leads to a reassessment of priorities in linguistic analyses: while current mainstream work is often focused on establishing one-to-one relationships between concepts and morphemes, our view makes it plausible that primitive concepts are frequently marked indirectly or unpronounced entirely. Our view therefore assigns great value to the understanding of logical primitives and of compression. (shrink)
This volume comprises thirteen original research papers and three overview papers presenting new work using a number of experimental techniques from psycho- and neurolinguistics in the three key areas of current semantics and pragmatics: implicature, negation and presupposition.