Semantics Research Group Meeting, September 1, 2013

[Japanese | English]

1:00pm, September 1, 2013
Kwansei Gakuin University, Osaka Umeda Campus (the Applause Tower),
14th floor, Room 1408.
Talk 1
Takuro Tanaka (Nihon University)
Aspects of Degree Expressions

Interpretations of Japanese degree expressions (quantifiers or numeral classifiers) have been investigated from various types of point of view: domain of quantification, floating quantifier, comparative, etc. Each phenomena provides mysterious properties of Japanese degree expressions, and huge number of papers suggest syntactic and semantic analyses for them. Any unified analyses for Japanese degree expressions, however, has not been suggested because each previous study focuses on one particular phenomenon of quantifiers or numeral classifiers without general point of view. My talk compares Japanese quantifiers and numeral classifiers, suggesting common properties and different ones of the expressions. Mainly the following phenomena are focused.

(1) Floating Quantifier
John-ga {3-satsu-no hon-wo / 3-satsu hon-wo / hon 3-satsu wo / hon-wo 3-satsu} yonda
(John read three books.)

(2) Comparative
John-wa hon-wo 3-satsu ooku yonda
(John read three more books.)

(3) -sugiru (too)
(a) John-wa hon-wo ooku yomi-sugita
(John read too many books)
(b) *John-wa hon-wo sukunaku yomi-sugita
(John read just small number of books)

Talk 2
Yael Sharvit (UCLA)
Copular Asymmetries
As observed in Cumming (2005), embedded (identity) copular sentences (such as ‘Mary believes that John is Bill’) have an asymmetric interpretation. To account for this, Cumming proposes: (i) names, like pronouns, are variables; (ii) attitude verbs quantify, not only over possible worlds, but also over possible variable assignments; and (iii) the pre-copular name in an embedded copular sentence is interpreted relative to the utterance context, and the post-copular name relative to the assignments compatible with the attitude holder’s beliefs. I argue that this analysis is not general enough, as there are copular asymmetries in which both pre- and post-copular phrases are interpreted ‘de dicto’, and copular asymmetries in which both pre- and post-copular phrases are interpreted ‘de re’. I suggest that copular asymmetries come from the asymmetric semantics of the copula.
Talk 3
Irene Heim (MIT)
Constraints on argument structure
Earlier generations of semanticists in the Montague tradition sought to develop alternatives to transformational theories of syntax, whereas contemporary textbooks tend to emphasize compatibility of this type of semantic theory with movement-based analyses of passives, raising, relativization, quantifier scope, etc. A true integration of GB-style (or Minimalist) syntactic theory with a formal semantics, however, would have to include principles which make movement-analyses of particular phenomena not only available but necessary. In the syntax literature, this is the role of principles like the Theta Criterion or Uniformity of Theta-role Assignment (UTAH). These, however, are usually stated rather vaguely and in a theoretical vocabulary not transparently related to that of formal semantics. My talk aims to contribute to clarifying the purpose and content of such principles within an integrated theory of syntax and semantics. The empirical focus will be on so-called A-movement phenomena, particularly Raising. My discussion will pick up threads from chapter 3 of Heim & Kratzer and from the 1980s semantics literature on infinitival complements, e.g. Dowty L&P 1985.

Semantics Research Group

Last modified: 2013-08-29 12:39:27 JST