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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Tuesday, 30 November 2004



By Laura Dominguez

This dissertation investigates the realization and interpretation of information structure in Spanish. Focused constituents may appear in the right-periphery, in the left-periphery or in situ in Spanish. Recent studies have addressed the relative weight of syntactic and phonological cues in the realization of information structure, but have not adequately accounted for these three types of focus. Syntax-based accounts, asserting that focused phrases move to the left-periphery to check features, fail to account for focus in the right-periphery. So-called prosody-based accounts, which in fact depend on the syntactic requirement that focus has to be aligned with nuclear stress, are unable to account for focus in a position other than final. Experimental data from a pilot study reported in this dissertation suggest that prominence in all three types of focus is determined by a prosodic structure without syntactic motivation.
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By Roger Schwarzschild

The association of only with focus is explained in terms of
(a) a semantics for only which makes no mention of focus and
(b) discourse appropriateness conditions on the use of focus and principles of quantifier domain selection.

This account differs from previous ones in giving sufficient conditions for association with focus but without stipulating it in the meaning of lexical items. Detractors have contended that foci have different pragmatic import depending on whether or not they are associated with a higher operator. I give evidence against this claim. Others argue that there is no deterministic connection between intonational focus and association. One argument for this is the fact that association readings are possible even when nothing in the scope of the operator is focussed. The present account predicts the absence of intonational focus in these cases and explains how the readings come about. The wide variety of associating operators provide incentive for pursuing accounts like the present one based on independent principles of grammar.

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Posted by Tony Marmo at 05:31 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 November 2004 05:32 GMT
Saturday, 27 November 2004

Topic: Syn-Sem Interface
Note: The asymmetry Panagiotidis & Tsiplakou mention is also found in Romance. Take for instance the spanish sentences (S) below:
(S) 1. La madre de Sofia{1} la{1} beso.
2. La*{1}/{2} beso la madre de Sofia{1}.

The difference is that in (S1) de Sofia is a PP and not a DP in the genetive case. As a complement of la madre, the PP de Sofia does not c-command la.

An A-binding asymmetry in Greek

and its significance for Universal Grammar

By Phoevos Panagiotidis & Stavroula Tsiplakou

Principle C of the Binding theory is set up to capture why the grammaticality of the coreferential reading between the pronominal and the R-expression is precluded in sentences such as (1) below

(1) She{i} called Sophia{i}/{j}'s mother.

on the basis that the R-expression is illicitly bound by the pronominal. By the same token, the coreferential reading in sentences such as (2) below

(2) Sophia{i}'s mother called her{i}.

is not disallowed as the R-expression is free everywhere.
In Modern Greek, a language which displays largely free constituent order, the equivalent of the English sentence in (2) can have two different realizations, shown in (3) and (4) below, and the following A-binding asymmetry obtains:

(3)i mitera tis Sofias{i}/{j} tin{i} fonakse
the mother-NOM the Sophia-GEN her-ACC called

(4) tin*{i}/{j} fonakse i mitera tis Sofias{i}
her-ACC called the mother-NOM the Sophia-GEN

Sophia's mother called her

The coreferential reading between the pronominal and the R-expression tis Sofias is obtainable in (3), where the R-expression is contained within the preverbal subject phrase [ i mitera [tis Sofias ]], but it is absolutely disallowed in (4), where the R-expression is contained in the postverbal subject. This sharp asymmetry, first noted in Tsiplakou 1998, is surprising in view of the fact that, at least at first blush, the object clitic pronoun tin should not be able to bind into the subject at the level where the Binding Principles operate. The question that naturally arises is whether this asymmetry should be ascribed to some particularity of the syntax of Greek or whether it has more far-reaching implications for Binding theory as it is currently formulated within the Minimalist framework. (...)

Bind it

Posted by Tony Marmo at 03:50 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 27 November 2004 21:17 GMT



By Hana Filip
Source: Semantics Archive

Languages differ in the variety of quantificational structures they employ (cf. Bach et al. (eds.), 1995) and in the extent to which the surface form of various quantificational structures provides us with explicit clues about semantic interpretation. The semantic structure of sentences with a single quantificational operator can be determined by the overt phrase structure or by the phrase structure together with information about topic and/or focus. If the semantic structure of quantified sentences is underdetermined (or ambiguous) by both the phrase structure and topic and/or focus structures, it may be disambiguated by the non-linguistic context (cf. Partee, 1995:541).
I propose that there is yet another factor that determines the semantic structure of quantified sentences: namely, the argument structure. A case in point are sentences in which the main quantificational operator is a lexical V-operator. Drawing mainly on the data from Czech, I propose that lexical V-operators function as quantifiers over episodic predicates and their arguments. They bind the variable introduced by the Incremental Theme argument (Hinrichs, 1985; Krifka, 1986; Dowty, 1988,1991), and possibly also the event variable (Davidson, 1967; Parsons, 1986; Kratzer, 1989). If there is no Incremental Theme argument, quantification is directed at the event variable alone; quantification is undefined, if there is neither. The hypothesis builds on Partee's (1991a, 1995) distinction between "syntactic" A-quantifiers (VP- or S-operators) and "lexical" A-quantifiers (V-operators) and presupposes that the denotations of nominal and verbal predicates have a lattice structure of the type proposed by Link (1983, 1987) and Bach (1986). It also builds on the telicity account proposed by Hinrichs (1985), Krifka (1986, 1992) and Dowty (1988, 1991) whose central part is the homomorphic mapping between the denotations of the Incremental Theme argument and the relevant episodic predicate.
Although I focus on lexical quantifiers that function as V-operators in Czech, the results of this study can be applied to other Slavic languages. It is yet to be seen how the conclusions that I reach about Czech will fare when tested against the data from typologically unrelated languages. (Preliminary investigations strongly suggest that my conclusions seem to be applicable to such languages as Hindi, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.)

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Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 November 2004 04:33 GMT
Friday, 26 November 2004

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Content, Embodiment and Objectivity

The Theory of Cognitive Trails

By Adrian Cussins

The possibility of a new kind of representational theory is demonstrated: a theory which explains concepts and thoughts in terms of the nonconceptual, embodied contents of experience. The theory is neither empiricist nor rationalist as it adopts a symmetric metaphysics in which mind and world are explained as the logical genesis of objectivity. The notion of "cognitive trails through environmental experience" is introduced, and objective content is formalised as a dynamic construction within a two-dimensional space whose axes are given by the perspective dependence of the cognitive trails, and by their degree of stabilization.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 17:58 GMT
Thursday, 25 November 2004

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology


By Alva No?

Some cognitive states -- e.g. states of thinking, calculating, navigating -- may be partially external because, at least sometimes, these states depend on the use of symbols and artifacts that are outside the body. Maps, signs, writing implements may sometimes be as inextricably bound up with the workings of cognition as neural structures or internally realized symbols (if there are any). According to what Clark and Chalmers[1998] call active externalism, the environment can drive and so partially constitute cognitive processes. Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? If active externalism is right, then the boundary cannot be drawn at the skull. The mind reaches -or at least can reach --- beyond the limits of the body out into the world. (...)

To appear in Perceptual Experience, edited by Tamar Szab-- Gendler and John Hawthorne. Oxford University Press.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 November 2004 04:30 GMT
Wednesday, 24 November 2004


By Arnon Avron

In this paper we look at negation from two dierent points of view: a syntactical one and a semantical one. Accordingly, we identify two dierent types of negation. The same connective of a given logic might be of both types, but this might not always be the case.
The syntactical point of view is an abstract one. It characterizes connectives according to the internal role they have inside a logic, regardless of any meaning they are intended to have (if any). With regard to negation our main thesis is that the availabilityof what we call below an internal negation is what makes a logic essentially multiple-conclusion.
The semantic point of view, in contrast, is based on the intuitive meaning of a given connective. In the case of negation this is simply the intuition that the negation of a proposition A is true if A is not, and not true if A is true.
Like in most modern treatments of logics, our study of negation will be in the framework of Consequence Relations (CRs). See more

Posted by Tony Marmo at 03:52 GMT
Tuesday, 23 November 2004

Topic: Notes on Pirah?

Note #3

Assume that in a hypothetical language Pop there is a three word basic vocabulary for three sizes, magnitudes, greatnesses or points of a very generic scale:

Wow... Large (L)
Okay... Medium (m)
Hun... Small (s)

Is it possible to derive a numeric system from such small vocabulary? The answer is yeas, it could be noted as a base 3 system, through the following convention:


Accordingly, the numbers or numerals of the Pop linguistic community would look like the examples below:

Decimal to base 3 system:
4... 11
5... 12
6... 20
7... 21
8... 22
9... 100
50... 1212
51... 1220
100... 10201
987... 1100120

Now assume that these figures are `read' with the basic morphemes wow, okay and hun, provided that by some phonological factors okay+wow is uttered okwow, okay+hun is okun and wow+okay is wakay, and any sequence of ww becomes hw. Then, one gets the following numerals:

4... okayokay
5... okwow
6... wowhun
7... wakay
8... wohwow
9... okunhun
50... okwowokwow
51... okwohwowhun
100... okunwowhunokay
987... okayokunhunokwowhun

So, mathematically speaking, there is no sound reason to conclude that, by having only a vocabulary for three basic greatnesses, the users of a language like Pop lack numbers or the concept of counting. The Pop speaking Pople would do fine with such system.

However, the users of the aforementioned base 3 system would find any decimal system as unusual, useless and unintelligible to them as persons from a decimal culture would find the system of the Pop speaking people too foreign and difficult.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Monday, 22 November 2004 08:41 GMT
Monday, 22 November 2004


Direct compositionality on demand

By Chris Barker
Source: Semantics Archive

This paper starts with the assumption that the expression saw everyone, as in John saw everyone, is a constituent. It can be coordinated, clefted, focussed, questioned, pronominalized, you name it. In general, if you have a constituent containing an NP, and you replace that NP with a quantificational NP like everyone, then the result is still a full-fledged constituent. But everyone can take scope outside of a verb phrase. As a result, the semantics of everyone must somehow gain access to material that can properly contain the constituent saw everyone. Despite decades of research on quantification, I will suggest that no existing analysis (including my own published accounts to date) provides an adequate characterization of both the local and the long-distance aspects of the syntax and the semantics of quantificational expressions. The main goal of this paper, then, is to propose an explicit new account that tries to do better.

Demand it

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Monday, 22 November 2004 15:29 GMT
Sunday, 21 November 2004


First - and Second-Order Logic of Mass Terms

By Peter Roeper

The logic of mass terms is a generalisation of standard predicate logic. It allows for domains of quantification which have parts, but do not consist of individuals. The rules of inference are largely those of normal predicate logic. The main point of divergence concerns the identification of argument places (reflexivisation). As there may be no individuals, the idea that distinct occurrences of the same variable always refer to the same individual cannot be applied in specifying the semantics.

The first -order system is developed syntactically in Section 1, the second-order system in Section 2. Formal semantics for the logic of mass terms 1are arrived at indirectly by first translating the statements of the logic of mass terms into a standard first -order calculus, whose domain of quantification is the totality of quantities, i.e. the totality of parts of the domain of mass quantification.

Soundness and completeness results for the first -order logic of mass terms are obtained in Section 3, for second-order logic in Section 4.

Published in the Journalof Philosophical Logic 33(2004)261-297
The paper

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 25 November 2004 05:07 GMT
Friday, 19 November 2004


The Semantics of Respective Readings, Conjunction, and Filler-Gap Dependencies

By Jean Mark Gawron & Andrew Kehler

We provide a semantic analysis of respective readings, including but not limited to the interpretation of examples containing the adverb respectively, which accounts for a number of facts that have either proven difficult for previous studies or heretofore gone unnoticed in the literature. The analysis introduces the new notions of property sum and proposition sum which integrate smoothly with existing analyses of plurals and distributivity. The analysis also admits of a straightforward account of previously unacknowledged examples involving filler-gap dependencies that are problematic for contemporary syntactic theories. Ramifications and directions for future research are discussed.

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Another version

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Friday, 19 November 2004 14:08 GMT
Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Self-Knowledge and Self-Reference

By Robert J. Howell

(...) In an attempt to resolve the tension between the Humean and Cartesian insights and to explain away the paradoxical nature of the self-reference puzzles, I wish to develop a psycho-semantics, or a semantics of thought, which analyses the concepts involved in basic self-knowledge so that the notable epistemic features of the cogito are explained by the mechanisms through which we most fundamentally refer to ourselves. Ultimately, I will maintain that self-reference is underpinned by descriptive knowledge about the self, enabled by one?s consciousness of one?s own sensations. This view can take two forms, however. First, I propose a descriptivism that is a modification of a view of Russell?s. This descriptivism is very attractive, but it is very likely to come under fire due to Kripkean concerns about descriptivist views of reference and their ability to capture modal properties adequately. For those who are impressed with such criticisms, I propose a further modification of the descriptivist view, embedding it in a two-tier framework (ala Kaplan). The result is that the basic intuitions behind my view should be capturable regardless of one?s stance on the debates surrounding direct reference and rigidification.(...)


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 November 2004 21:58 GMT
Monday, 15 November 2004


Contextualism, Metaphor, and What is Said

By Elisabeth Camp

On a familiar and prima facie plausible view of metaphor, speakers who speak metaphorically say one thing in order to mean another. Several theorists have recently challenged this view; they offer criteria to distinguish what is said from what is merely meant, and argue that these criteria support classifying metaphor within 'what is said'. I consider four such criteria, and argue that when properly understood, they support the traditional classification instead. I conclude by sketching how we might extract a workable notion of `what is said' from our ordinary intuitions about saying and meaning.

(forthcoming in Mind and Language)


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Sunday, 14 November 2004


Compositionality Inductively, Co-inductively and Contextually

By Tim Fernando

To say that the meaning [[a]] of a term a is given by the meanings of a's parts and how these parts are combined is to state an equality
[[a]] = : : : [[b]] : : : for b a part of a (1)

with meaning [[.]] appearing on both sides. (1) is commonly construed as a prescription for computing the meaning of a based on the parts of a and their mode of combination. As equality is symmetric, however, we can also read (1) from right to left, as a constraint on the meaning [[b]] of a term b that brings in the wider context where b may occur, in accordance with what Dag Westerstahl has recently described as "one version of Frege's famous Context Principle"
the meaning of a term is the contribution it makes to the meanings of complex terms of which it is a constituent. (Westerst ahl, 2004, p.3)

That is, if reading (1) left-to-right suggests breaking a term apart (and delving inside it), then reading (1) right-to-left suggests merging it with other terms (and exploring its surroundings). These complementary perspectives on (1) underly inductive and co-inductive aspects of compositionality (respectively), contrasted below by
(i) reviewing the co-inductive approach to the Fregean covers of Hodges (2001) anticipated in Fernando (1997)

and by
(ii) inductively deriving a more recent theorem of (Westerst ahl, 2004) on the extensibility of compositional semantics closed under subterms.

Choosing between inductive and co-inductive approaches to (1) does not, by itself, determine the meaning function [[.]]. The ellipsis in (1) points to a broader notion of context capturing background assumptions that shape [[.]]. To square (1) with "dynamic" conceptions of meaning as context change (e.g. Heim,1983), we shall inject a certain notion of context c inside meanings, and not simply hang them outside [[.]] as subscripts, [[.]] = [[.]]c.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Monday, 15 November 2004 21:37 GMT
Friday, 12 November 2004


Tarski's Conception of Logic

By Solomon Feferman

In its widest scope, Tarski thought the aims of logic should be the creation of a unified conceptual apparatus which would supply a common basis for the whole of human knowledge. Those were his very words in the Preface to the first English edition of the Introduction to Logic (1940). Toward that grand end, in the post-war years when the institutional and financial resources became available, with extraordinary persistence and determination Tarski campaigned vigorously on behalf of logic on several fronts from his increasingly powerful base at the University of California in Berkeley.(...)


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 28 October 2004 18:52 BST


Adjectival Relatives

By Toshiyuki Ogihara

This article discusses what may be referred to as adjectival relatives in Japanese and related constructions in other languages (such as adjectival passives in English). The most intriguing characteristic of this construction is that the verb contained in it occurs in the past tense form, but its primary role is to describe a state that obtains at the local evaluation time, rather than the past event that produced this state. In fact, in some cases, the putative event that presumably produced the target state is non-existent, and the entire construction receives a purely stative interpretation. In other words, it is possible for an adjectival relative to describe a target state without having its triggering event. The proposal I put forth in the article states that what I refer to as an adjectival relative does not have a clausal structure. It rather has a verbal projection (technically a Tense Phrase, or TP). Mod (the modifier head) then combined with TP to yield a MP (modifier phrase), which denotes a property of states that appear to have resulted from an event the verb describes. In order to reach this conclusion, I adopt two additional ideas:
(i) Kratzer's (1996) idea that the so-called external argument of a verb is not really its argument at all;
(ii) direct causation does not have to be overtly represented in natural language syntax (Bittner 1999).

Having incorporated these two ideas, the proposal explains the relation between the state that the adjectival relative describes and the putative event as a modal one, thereby accounting for the non-existence of putative past events in some examples.

Read it

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Friday, 12 November 2004 00:15 GMT

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