January 7, 2005: Kimiko Nakanishi, Some Comparative Constructions in Japanese;
Toshiko Oda, Semantics of Exclamatives

[Japanese | English]

3:30pm, January 7, 2005
Conference room, 3rd floor, Building 10, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo Komaba campus.
Talk 1
Kimiko Nakanishi, University of Connecticut
Some Comparative Constructions in Japanese
The central goal of this talk is to provide a mechanism of comparative quantification in the verbal domain. It is well known that adjectival comparatives involve a comparison of degrees associated with adjectives (e.g., in "John is taller then Mary", John's degree of tallness and Mary's degree of tallness are compared). It has been argued that, in nominal comparative constructions such as "more than five boys came", the relevant degree is associated with a cardinality of individuals. Extending this analysis to the verbal domain, I argue that, in some comparative constructions in Japanese, the degree of comparison is associated with an event argument.
Talk 2
Toshiko Oda, Tokyo Keizai University and University of Connecticut
Semantics of Exclamatives
This paper investigates the semantics of exclamatives. I will argue that exclamatives are basically an instance of comparatives. Evidence is obtained from the negative island effect in exclamatives. An exclamative sentence What a tall boy John is! becomes ungrammatical when it is negated as in *What a tall boy John isn't! This is similar to the negative island effect in comparatives such as *John is taller than Mary isn't. I argue that comparatives and exclamatives share a core property, namely, that they contribute sets of degrees. The basic semantics of the above exclamative sentence can be analyzed as a comparison between John's maximal tallness and the degree the speaker expects in a given context.

Semantics Research Group
Sponsored by the Center for Evolutionary Cognitive Sciences at the University of Tokyo

Last modified: 2005-01-05 14:41:08 JST