Semantics Research Group Meeting, December 11, 2015

[Japanese | English]

3:30pm, December 11, 2015
Keio University, Mita Campus,
South Annex, 7th floor

Talk 1

Christopher Tancredi (Keio University)
Topic, Focus and Givenness
In this talk I’ll argue that Givenness is formally independent from both Topic and Focus. I will argue on this basis that the analyses of Schwarzschild for Givenness, Rooth for focus and Buring/Constant for Topic should not be seen as in competition with one another but rather should as complementing each other. I will then show that while these analyses are largely satisfactory from a semantic perspective, phonologically the analyses of Focus and Givenness are inadequate. In particular, I will show that expressions that combine Givenness and either Focus or Topic marking surface in unexpected ways under these theories, and will propose a more adequate phonological interpretation of Topic, Focus and Givenness marking that overcomes these problems.

Talk 2

Stefan Kaufmann (University of Connecticut)
The Limit Assumption
One of the crucial ingredients of the standard Kratzer-style framework for the analysis of modality and conditionals is a weak notion of necessity, often defined in terms of the interplay between a modal base and a binary relation of relative "goodness" of possible worlds, derived from an ordering source. The main ideas stem from work in philosophical logic, especially Lewis's writings on counterfactuals. Also from Lewis is the observation that the definitions of necessity and associated notions can be simplified by making the "Limit Assumption" - that there are minimal worlds under the order of relative goodness. Many authors invoke the Limit Assumption, but the ways in which they state it are surprisingly diverse and often vague. In this talk we explore the question of what exactly the Limit Assumption is, what it is supposed to accomplish, and how it should be stated in order to serve its purpose. It turns out that most statements in the literature are either insufficient or unnecessarily strong, and that the confusion may be traceable to Lewis himself.

Semantics Research Group

Last modified: 2015-12-11 08:35:59 JST