Semantics Research Group Meeting, August 28, 2009

[Japanese | English]

3:30pm, August 28, 2009
National Institute of Informatics (National Center of Sciences Bldg.),
12th floor, Classroom 1 (1212)
Talk 1
Wataru Uegaki, University of Tokyo
Japanese resultative phrases as verbal degree modifiers
Available in PDF.
Talk 2
Yusuke Kubota, Ohio State University
Setting the standard, measuring degrees: The semantics of yori ("than") phrases and measure phrases in Japanese
Sawada & Grano (2009) (S&G) note that measure phrases (such as 
_2 meetoru_ "2 meters" and _5 do_ "5 degrees") in Japanese exhibit 
an asymmetry in interpretation when they occur with open-scale and
(lower) closed-scale gradable adjectives:

(1) (open-scale)
   Kono tana-wa   2-meetoru takai.
   this shelf-TOP 2-meter   tall
   'This shelf is 2 meters tallER (than some contextually salient shelf).'
   NOT: 'This shelf is 2 meters tall.'

(2) (closed-scale)
   Kono sao-wa  5-do     magat-te iru.
   This rod-TOP 5-degree bent
   'This rod is 5 degrees bent.'
   NOT: 'This rod is 5 degrees MORE bent (than some contextually salient rod).'

As can be seen in (1) and (2), an open-scale adjective induces a
context dependent interpretation whereas a closed-scale adjective
induces a context independent interpretation. S&G's analysis posits
distinct invisible operators, one for cases like (1) and the other for
cases like (2), to account for this asymmetry.  I show that S&G's
analysis suffers from both empirical and theoretical shortcomings.  I
propose an alternative analysis that eliminates the spurious
distinction of the two invisible operators and show that this simpler
analysis automatically solves all of the problems of S&G's analysis.

Semantics Research Group

Last modified: 2009-08-13 22:33:40 JST