February 13, 2009: Eric McCready and Yurie Hara, Levels of Meaning in Japanese Sae

[Japanese | English]

4:30pm, February 13, 2009
National Institute of Informatics (National Center of Sciences Bldg.),
20th floor, Lecture Room 1 (2005)
Eric McCready (Aoyama Gakuin University) and Yurie Hara (Kyoto University)
Levels of Meaning in Japanese Sae
For a number of years, linguists and philosophers have been engaged in heated discussions about which level of meaning focus particles contribute to. For instance, since Horn (1996), linguists have been wondering about the status of the prejacent of only: is it an entailment, a presupposition, a conversational implicature or a conventional implicature? We shed new light on this discussion by looking at the behavior of the Japanese focus particle sae `even' in various constructions such as relative clauses, conditionals, modals and imperatives. We propose that sae p conventionally implicates that `the speaker is surprised that p', which presupposes the truth of p. Our analysis not only accounts for the intricate behavior of sae in the constructions we examine, but also has several theoretical implications regarding Potts' (2003, 2005) computation system of conventional implicatures, which calls for an extension of the system. In particular, our analysis suggests that: 1. CI-meanings cannot be lambda-abstracted. 2. The presuppositions of CI content can filter through to the at-issue content. 3. There are cases where the induced CIs are modally subordinated.

Semantics Research Group

Last modified: 2009-07-15 10:28:53 JST