Syntagmatic relation is the relationship that linguistic units ( e.g. words, clauses ) have with other units because they may occur together in a sequence. So,syntagmatic relations: are relations between words that go together in a syntactic structure. (Cruse, 2006: 163) Are sytagmatic relations important ? What for? Yes, because they lead to create sentences and utterances which are grammatically and semantically accepted. They affect putting meaning together.
Putting words together There are three possible effects of putting words together in a well – formed construction,ether the result is: normal as in John drink the juice. Or, There is a semantic clash as in John drank filing cabinet Pleonastic as in a female aunt (Cruse,2003:256)
Selectional restriction : According to the viewpoint of structural semantics,it can be defined as the requirement for a normal combination. (Cruse,2006:164)
Selectional Restriction Selection restrictions and projection rules were formalized by Katz and Fodor in Projection rules (semantic rules )have two purposes : They distinguish meaningful sentences from meaningless sentences. They assign to every meaningful sentences a formal specification of its meaning or meanings.
The assumption In English and in other natural languages, there are some grammatically well- formed, but semantically ill- formed, sentences. selection Restrictions are the mechanism for handling semantic ill- formedness. These are associated with particular lexemes and are therefore listed in the lexicon.
1. They tell us, in effect, which pairs of lexemes can combine with one another meaningfully in various grammatical constriction. ( John Lyons, 216) For example, the adjective buxom can modified nouns like girl', 'women, lass,etc., but not boy,man,lad,etc. The verb sleep can take as its subject nouns such as boy, girl,cat, etc., but not idea, love,etc. (lyons,1977: )
If the selection restriction violated, the projection rules will fail to operate. Consequently they will fail to assign to the semantically ill- formed sentences a formal specification of its meaning, thereby marking sentences as meaningless and indicating in what way the sentence is semantically ill –formed. 2. Block certain interpretations as semantically anomalouse,while allowing other interpretations of the same phrases and sentences as semantically acceptable. For example : House wife 1=a women who keeps house. House wife 2 = a pocket sewing kit. If you say good house wife the meaning will be ambiguous,but,if you say buxom house wife this means house wife 1.
Semantically Combination Identify a selector which imposes semantic conditions (selectional restrictions). Identify a selectee which satisfies or does not satisfy the conditions. In adjective –noun combination,the adjective is the selector A\an………….woman Intelligent, tall, kind, pregnant,lefthanded, all normally combined with women. A pregnant ………… It requires a head noun which (a)denotes a mammal,and (b)it is not specifically marked as not female.(like bull). So, in a modifier- head construction,the modifier is the selector. In a head complement construction,such as drink juice, the head is the selector,.i.e. the verb.
Selectional Restrictions Selectional Restrictions limit the semantic properties of arguments ?My toothbrush loves raisins. ?pain is red. Can pain be red? No The restriction of the predicate red to things satisfied by the predicate concrete is a selectional restriction. (Smith and et al,2007:208)
The boy ate the sandwich ?The sandwich ate the boy The kind of noun that can be the subject of the verb ate must denotes an entity the is capable of eating. The noun sandwich does not have the this property and the noun boy does. (Yule,2006:101)
Thematic Roles and Selectional Restrictions Selectional restrictions: semantic constraint that a word (lexeme) imposes on the concepts that go with it Agent: volitional causer -- John hit Bill. Experiencer: experiencer of event – Bill got a headache. Force: non-volitional causer – The concrete block struck Bill on the head. Theme/patient: most affected participant – John hit Bill. Instrument: instrument used -- John hit Bill with a bat Source: origin of object of transfer event – Bill fled from New York to Timbuktu Goal: destination of object -- Bill led from New York to Timbuktu
1. Synonymous: Sentence A is synonymous with B means that A has the same meaning as B my brother is a bachelor my brother has never married
2- Entailment Sentence A entails B means that if A then automatically B The anarchist assassinated the emperor The emperor is died
3-Contradiction Sentence A contradicts B means that A is inconsistent with B My brother Ahmed has just come from Rome My brother Ahmed has never been to Rome
4-Presupposition Sentence B presupposes A means that A is part of the assumed background against which A is said The Mayor of Erbil is a women There is a Mayor of Erbil
5-Tautology Sentence A is a tautology means that A is automatically true by virtue of its own meaning, but informationally empty Ireland is Ireland
In Semantics, to understand logic and truth, we should recognize: Truth value -----whether a sentence is being true or false Truth Condition ----the facts that would have to obtain in reality to make a sentence true or false
presupposition +< A presupposition is a proposition whose truth is taken for granted by the producer of an utterance and which must be known and taken account of for the utterance to make sense to an interpreter. (Cruse,2006:138) Relation between propositions by which a presupposes b, for a to have a true value, b must be true. (Mathews,2007:317) To presuppose something means to assume it. (Saeed,2009:102)
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Historic background Frege 1892: Referring expressions (names, definite descriptions) carry the presupposition that they do in fact refer. For a sentence to have a truth value, its presupposition must hold. A presupposition of a sentence is also a presupposition of its negation. The term developed in philosophy by P.F.Strawson Thence into linguistics in the late 1960s
Why does presupposition exist? Because it enables us to communicate succinctly(briefly ). It is much easier to say … John doesnt write any more …than it is to say ….. A person we both know and agree that his name is John, and who knows how to write, and who is able to write poetry, wrote poetry in some past time, and know he does not write poetry
Presupposition Approach Semantic presupposition (truth relation ) Sentences are viewed as external objects Meaning is seen as an attribute of sentences rather than some thing constructed by the participants. Pragmatic presupposition (transactional view) Sentences are the utterances of individuals engaged in a communication act. Speaker =presupposition is part of the task of packing an utterances. Listener = presupposition is one of the number of inferences that the listener might make on the basis of what the speaker has just said.
Semantic presupposing Azad brother has just got back from Soran. Azad has a brother. Truth table P q T F T T or F T (Saeed,2009:103)
Pragmatic presupposition Presupposition is one aspect of speakers strategy of organizing information for maximum clarity for the listener. Azad has a brother X X has come back from Soran. Which one is foregrounded ? It depends on the e speaker s intention. presuppositions are ubiquitous. (Cruse,2006:139)
Presupposition failure Using a name or definite description to refer presupposes the existence of the named or the described entity. Russell example (1905) a-The king of France is bald. b-There is a king of France. If there is no referent,no king of France,what is the statues of a sentence?
P q T F T T or F T ?(T v F) F (truth -value gap)
Russeler solution was to analyse definite descriptions as complex expressions. The king of France is bald is true if and only if a-at least one thing is the king b- at most one thing is the king c- whatever is the king is bald.
There is is less of a problem with the transactional approach. A speaker use of a definite NPs to refer is governed by conventions about the accessibility of the referent to the listener.
1. Existential presupposition: Entities named by the speaker and assumed to be present - noun phrase. - possessive constructions. -noun phrase : "The Cold War has ended
- possessive constructions : Tonys car is new That Tony exists and that he has a car.
2-Factive presupposition: Identified by the presence of some verbs such as "know, "realize,be glad, be sorry, be odd etc. She didnt realize he was ill. (+< He was ill) We regret telling him. (+< We told him) I wasnt aware that she was married. (+< She was married) It isnt odd that he left early. (+< He left early) Im glad that its over. (+< Its over) ( Griffiths,2006:147)
3- Lexical presupposition: In using one word, the speaker can act as if another meaning will be understood. For instance: Mary stopped running. (+
4- Structural presupposition: It is the assumption associated with the use of certain structures. - wh-question constructions. When did she travel to the USA? ( +< she travelled) Where did you buy the book? (+< you bought the book)
5- Non- factive presupposition: it is an assumption referred to something that is not true. For example, verbs like "dream", "imagine and "pretend" are used with the presupposition that what follows is not true. I dreamed that I was rich. (+< I was not rich) We imagined that we were in London. (+< We were not in London)
6- Counterfactual presupposition: It is the assumption that what is presupposed is not only untrue, but is the opposite of what is true, or contrary to facts. If you were my daughter, I would not allow you to do this. ( +< you are not my daughter) If I were rich I would buy a Ferrari. (+< Im not rich)
Presuppositions and context Presupposition behavior seems to be sensitive to context.different levels of context can cause fluctuations in the presuppositional behaviour. The context provided by : Background knowledge. Topic of the conversation. Surrounding syntactic structure. S0 we have problems with semantic presupposition which depends on the formal relations between sentences.
Defensibility : presupposition can be cancelled or suspended. She died before she finish her thesis. She finish her thesis. The presupposition is blocked or cancelled by our general knowledge of the world. The projection problem : complex sentences affect whether presuppositions are interrupted as commitments of the speaker. John will regret doing linguistics. John is doing \will do linguistics. If john does linguistics, he ll regret.
Presupposition is not the same as entailment.It fails with the negation of the entailing sentence.Is not the speaker s and hearers beliefs. (Cruse,2002:138) (Palmer,F.,1976:146) E.g., A a- I saw my father today. b- I saw some one today. B a- I didnt see my father today. B- I saw someone today. (entailment fails)
Speakers have presuppositions while sentences have entailments. EXAMPLE: Susans sister bought two houses. This sentence presupposes that Susan exists and that she has a sister. This sentence has the entailments that Susans sister bought something; a house, and other similar logical consequences, now she has 2 houses. The entailments are communicated without being said and are not dependent on the speakers intention.
1) Presupposition a. The King of France is bald. b. There is a King of France. c. The King of France is not bald. 2)Entailment a. The President of Polvenia is a bachelor. b. The President of Polvenia is unmarried. c. The President of Polvenia is not a bachelor.
The speaker will necessarily produce a very large number of background entailments, but the speaker will indicate how these entailments are to be ordered. How? by stress So,The hearer will understand which entailment is assumed to be more important for interpreting intended meaning.
THE FOREGROUND ENTAILMENT BOB ate three sandwiches. Bob ATE three sandwiches. Bob ate THREE sandwiches. Bob ate three SANDWICHES.
To test presupposition we have two ways: The negation But It sometime fails as Palmer mentions in his example: John was \was not worried about his wife s infidelity. (+< his wife was unfaithful) (+
Questions or Comments?
Sources 1. Aronoff,M.&Rees-Miller, J The Handbook of Linguistics. Blackwell Publishing. 2. Cruse,A.,2006.A Glossary of Semantics and Pragmatics. Edinburgh University Press. 3. Griffiths, P.,2006. An Introduction to English Semantics and Pragmatics. Edinburgh University Press. 4. Lyons,J Semantics,V.1, Cambridge University Press 5. Saeed,John I.,2009. Semantics. Wiley-Black Well. 6. Smith,M.,and et al.2007.Semantics: a coursebook.Cambridge. 7. Matthews,P.H.,2007.Concise Dictionary of Linguistics Oxford University press. 8. Yule,G.,2006.The Study of Language.Cambridge. 9.