Semantics Research Group Meeting, January 27, 2012

[Japanese | English]

3:30pm, January 27, 2012
National Institute of Informatics (National Center of Sciences Bldg.),
20th floor, Seminar Room 1 (2006)

Talk 1

Toshiko Oda (Tokyo Keizai University)
Numeral indeterminate phrases and their existential quantification

Indeterminate phrases in Japanese have been studied in syntax and semantics. However, there is yet another type of indeterminate phrase that has not been discussed. An example is na’n-satu-mo (what-CL-MO), which intuitively means ‘a large number of volumes.’ I assume that na’n (what) denotes a set of numbers, and call it a numeral indeterminate phrase. The intuitive interpretation of ‘a large number’ is unexpected. Normally, mo that follows an accented indeterminate phrase induces universal interpretation, as in da’re-mo (everyone). However, na’n-satu-mo does NOT mean ‘every number.’ This paper investigates how the intuitive meaning of ‘a large number’ arises. I will argue that the interpretation is best accounted for by assuming that mo is an existential quantifier. I will further argue that mo also serves as a scalar particle ‘even.’ In other words, mo plays two roles at the same time. This is an odd assumption, but it accounts for empirical data better than alternatives.

Talk 2

Wataru Uegaki (MIT)
Inquisitive knowledge attribution and the Gettier problem

A disjunctive belief cannot be described as knowledge if the subject does not justifiably believe a true disjunct, even if the whole disjunctive belief is true and justified (Gettier 1963). This phenomenon, known as the Gettier problem in epistemology, is problematic if the verb know semantically operates on a (classical) proposition, as standardly assumed. In this talk, I offer a solution to this problem using the treatment of disjunction in Alternative Semantics (Kratzer and Shimoyama 2002; Alonso-Ovalle 2006) and Inquisitive Semantics (Groenendijk 2009; Groenendijk and Roelofsen 2009), arguing that know operates on the set of alternative possibilities expressed by its complement. It will also be shown that the proposed semantics for know provides a novel account of its compatibility with both declarative and interrogative complements.

Semantics Research Group

Last modified: 2012-01-10 01:17:38 JST