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1 Towards a Typology of Defaults in Utterance Interpretation K. M. Jaszczolt University of Cambridge

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1 1 Towards a Typology of Defaults in Utterance Interpretation K. M. Jaszczolt University of Cambridge

2 2 (1) was of a crying woman. (1)Picasso’s painting was of a crying woman. (2) was of a crying woman. (2)The painting executed by Picasso was of a crying woman. (3) liked Peter Carey’s new novel. (3)Many people liked Peter Carey’s new novel. (4) people liked Peter Carey’s new novel. (4)Many, but not all, people liked Peter Carey’s new novel. (5) cried and the mother picked it up. (5)The baby cried and the mother picked it up. (6) cried and the picked it up. (6)The baby cried and the the baby’s mother picked it up.

3 3 Grice (1975): generalized conversational implicature (GCI), context-independent pragmatic inference

4 4 The process through which the enriched meaning is arrived at by the addressee:  meaning occurs independently of the context (Horn, e.g. 1984, 2004, 2006; Levinson, e.g. 1995, 2000; Recanati, e.g. 2003, 2004; Jaszczolt, e.g. 1999, 2005, 2006a,b);  Salient, unmarked meaning occurs independently of the context (Horn, e.g. 1984, 2004, 2006; Levinson, e.g. 1995, 2000; Recanati, e.g. 2003, 2004; Jaszczolt, e.g. 1999, 2005, 2006a,b);   Context-dependent pragmatic inference (Sperber and Wilson, e.g. 1995; Carston, e.g. 1988, 2002)

5 5 Such pragmatic contributions are classified as:  implicatures (Levinson);  pragmatic input to what is said (Recanati, Jaszczolt);  development of the logical form resulting in an explicature (Sperber, Wilson, Carston);  implicit in what is said (impliciture: Bach 1994, 2004, 2006; Horn 2006)

6 6 Some instances of pragmatic enrichment are salient to the extent that justifies classifying them as a separate category of default interpretations, although they don’t necessarily arise without (i) some form of inference or (ii) some minimal help from the context.

7 7 “Whatever the theoretical status of the distinction, it is apparent that some implicatures are induced only in a special context (…), while others go through unless a special context is present (…).” Horn (2004: 4-5)

8 8 Some differences in using the term ‘default’:  Cancellability (defeasibility) of salient meanings;  Availability of salient meanings without conscious inference (subdoxastically);  Shorter processing time as compared with that required for meanings recovered through inference;  Local availability, before the processing of the proposition has been completed (pre-propositional).

9 9 Default interpretation of the speaker’s utterance: Salient meaning intended by the speaker, or presumed by the addressee to have been intended, and recovered (a) without the help of inference from the speaker’s intentions or (b) without conscious inferential process altogether.

10 10 Default interpretations in semantics and pragmatics: a (very) brief overview

11 11 1. Bach’s (1984) default reasoning ‘jumping to conclusions’: context-dependent inference is not always required; the addressee may proceed, unconsciously, to the first available and unchallenged alternative.  unconscious, effortless enrichment to a default interpretation  ‘shortcircuiting’ the process of conscious inference  standardisation  cancellable

12 12 2. Levinson’s (2000) presumptive meanings  GCIs (but not Grice’s);  Middle level between semantics and pragmatics;  Arise through three heuristics: ‘What isn’t said isn’t’ (Q); ‘What is expressed simply is stereotypically exemplified’ (I); ‘What’s said in an abnormal way isn’t normal’ (M);  Local  Cancellable without contradiction (costly?)

13 13 3. Asher and Lascarides’ (2003) rhetorical structure rules Segmented Discourse Representation Theory (SDRT)  Defaults are highly probable routes that an interpretation of a sentence may take in a particular situation of discourse;  Rhetorical structure rules: e.g. Narration, Background;  Defeasible reasoning (inference), produces strong probabilities;  Formal model of discourse without recourse to speakers’ intentions;  Defaults for actually occurring discourse (vs. Gricean);  Relation between eventualities.

14 14 4. Defaults in Optimality-Theory Pragmatics (Blutner and Zeevat 2004)  Intention-based pragmatic constraints (formalization of Levinson’s heuristics);  Default interpretations arise through the optimization procedure spelled out as a series of constraints (e.g. STRENGTH: preference for informationally stronger readings);  Constraints are ranked and defeasible.

15 15 5. Defaults in Truth-Conditional Pragmatics (Recanati 2002, 2003, 2004)  Automatic, subdoxastic, direct, unreflective enrichment of the output of syntax; “…communication is as direct as perception” Recanati 2002: 109);  Produces the content that is truth-conditional (in an interesting way);  Context-free or context-dependent (GCIs and PCIs);  Cancellable;  Not inferential in the sense of processing.

16 16 6. Defaults in Default Semantics (Jaszczolt 2005, 2006b) Utterance meaning is a merger of information from the following sources:  Word meaning and sentence structure (WS)  (Conscious) pragmatic inference (CPI)  Cognitive defaults (CD)  Social-cultural defaults (SCD)

17 17 Default interpretations are the most salient (and normally non-defeasible) interpretations arrived at by a model speaker in a situation of discourse.


19 19 (7)You are not going to die. (8)You are not going to die from this cut. (9)There is nothing to worry about.

20 20 Cognitive defaults (10) who designed St Pauls’s cathedral was a genius. (10)The architect who designed St Pauls’s cathedral was a genius. (11) was a genius. (11)Sir Christopher Wren was a genius.


22 22 Social-cultural defaults (12)The baby cried and the mother picked it up. (13)The baby cried and picked it up. (13)The baby cried and the baby’s mother picked it up.

23 23  Automatic (subdoxastic) or using minimal inference;  Context-free or context-dependent defaults (GCIs and PCIs);  Originate in the lexicon, grammar, the way human cognition works; the way speakers construct their social and cultural reality;  Global, post-propositional;  Not normally cancellable (non-defeasible).

24 24 Definitional Characteristics of Default Interpretations (1a)Defaults belong to competence. (1b)Defaults belong to performance. (2a)Defaults are context-independent. (2b)Defaults can make use of contextual information. (3a)Defaults are easily defeasible. (3b)Defaults are not normally defeasible. (4a)Defaults are a result of a subdoxastic, automatic process. (4b)Defaults can sometimes involve conscious pragmatic inference.

25 25 (5a)Defaults are developments of the logical form of the uttered sentence. (5b)Defaults need not enrich the logical form of the sentence but may override it. (6a)Defaults can all be classified as one type of pragmatic process. (6b)Defaults come from qualitatively different sources in utterance processing. (7a)Defaults are always based on a complete proposition. (7b)Defaults can be ‘local’, ‘sub-propositional’, based on a word or a phrase.

26 26 (8a)Defaults necessarily arise quicker than non-default meanings. Hence they can be tested for experimentally by measuring the time of processing of the utterance. (8b)Defaults do not necessarily arise quicker than non- default meanings because both types of meaning can be based on conscious, effortful inference. Hence, the existence of defaults cannot be tested experimentally by measuring the time of processing of the utterance. e.g. Levinson’s presumptive meanings are (1a), (3a), (7b), (8a).

27 27 Topics in need of investigation:  Locality of defaults: locality triggers greater cancellability and therefore greater processing effort (Jaszczolt 2006a); locality may come from the computational power of grammar (Chierchia 2004; Landman 2000);  Experimental testing for default interpretations: current tests, e.g. Noveck 2001; Papafrafou and Musolino 2003; Musolino 2004; Noveck 2004; Bezuidenhout and Morris 2004) test only for ‘the Default Model’ (Levinson’s presumptive meanings) whereas, as (1)-(8) demonstrate, there is no single ‘default model’ to be discerned.

28 28  Full typology of salient interpretations -- in view of their different characteristics (1)-(8) and provenance (CD, SCD).

29 29 There are no compelling arguments for a unitary analysis of default meanings called ‘The Default View’ (e.g. Noveck and Sperber 2004). Instead, there are many types of shortcuts through costly pragmatic inference and they exhibit different properties. Experimental pragmatics will have to take these properties into consideration in designing experiments for testing the default status of interpretations.

30 30 It is much harder to provide experimental evidence for or against salient meanings that are so constructed that they draw on some contextual information, arise late in utterance processing, and are not normally cancellable (i.e., unmarked meanings for the context).

31 31 Interim conclusions:   There is no single category of default, salient, presumed meanings. Default interpretations may exhibit various combinations of the properties in (1)-(8).   Default meanings have different sources such as (i) the properties of human cognition (intentionality of mental states) or (ii) shared cultural and social environment.   All these characteristic features have to be represented in an account of utterance interpretation.   Merger representations of Default Semantics can account for these properties and provenance of salient meanings.

32 32 Prediction It may prove to be the case that salient interpretations are just a polar end on the scales of degrees of inference and degrees of context-dependence, rather than being qualitatively different from clearly inference- based and context-based interpretations. *** This, however, does not undermine their raison d’être.

33 33 Select References  Asher, N. & A. Lascarides, 2003, Logics of Conversation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Bach, K., 1984, “Default Reasoning: Jumping to Conclusions and Knowing When to Think Twice”, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 65: 37-58.  Bach, K., 1994, “Semantic Slack: What Is Said and More”, in Foundations of Speech Act Theory: Philosophical and Linguistic Perspectives, S. L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), London: Routledge, 267-291.  Bach, K., 2004, “Minding the Gap”. In: C. Bianchi (ed.). The Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction. Stanford: CSLI Publications, 27-43  Bach, K., 2006, “The Excluded Middle: Semantic Minimalism Without Minimal Propositions”. Unpublished paper.  Bezuidenhout, A. L. & R. K. Morris, 2004, “Implicature, Relevance and Default Pragmatic Inference”, in Experimental Pragmatics, I. A. Noveck & D. Sperber (eds),Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 257-282.  Blutner, R. & H. Zeevat (eds), 2004, Optimality Theory and Pragmatics Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1-24.

34 34  Carston, R., 1988, “Implicature, Explicature, and Truth-Theoretic Semantics”, in Mental Representations: The Interface Between Language and Reality, R. M. Kempson (ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 155-181.  Carston, R., 2002, Thoughts and Utterances: The Pragmatics of Explicit Communication, Oxford: Blackwell.  Chierchia, G., 2004, “Scalar Implicatures, Polarity Phenomena, and the Syntax/Pragmatics Interface”, in Structures and Beyond: The Cartography of Syntactic Structures, vol. 3, A. Belletti (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 39-103.  Grice, H. P., 1975, “Logic and Conversation”, in: Syntax and Semantics, vol. 3, P. Cole & J. L. Morgan (eds), New York: Academic Press; references to the reprint in H.  P. Grice,1989, Studies in the Way of Words, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 22-40.  Horn, L. R., 1984, “Toward a New Taxonomy for Pragmatic Inference: Q-based and R-based Implicature”, in Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics 1984, D. Schffrin (ed.), Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 11-42.  Horn, L. R., 2004, “Implicature”, in The Handbook of Pragmatics, L. R. Horn & G. Ward (eds), Oxford: Blackwell, 3-28.

35 35  Horn, L. R., 2006, “The Border Wars: A Neo-Gricean Perspective”, in Where Semantics Meets Pragmatics: K. von Heusinger and K. Turner (eds), Oxford: Elsevier, 21-48.  Jaszczolt, K. M.,1999, Discourse, Beliefs, and Intentions: Semantic Defaults and Propositional Attitude Ascription, Oxford: Elsevier Science.  Jaszczolt, K. M., 2005, Default Semantics: Foundations of a Compositional  Theory of Acts of Communication, Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Jaszczolt, K. M. 2006a. “Defaults in Semantics and Pragmatics”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E. N. Zalta  Jaszczolt, K. M. 2006a. “Defaults in Semantics and Pragmatics”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E. N. Zalta.  Jaszczolt, K, M. 2006b. “Meaning Merger: Pragmatic Inference, Defaults, and Compositionality”. Intercultural Pragmatics 3. 195-212.  Landman, F., 2000, Events and Plurality, Dordrecht: Kluwer.  Levinson, S. C., 1995, “Three Levels of Meaning”, in Grammar and Meaning. Essays in Honour of Sir John Lyons, F. R. Palmer (ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 90-115.  Levinson, S. C., 2000, Presumptive Meanings: The Theory of Generalized Conversational Implicature, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

36 36  Musolino, J., 2004, “The Semantics and Acquisition of Number Words: Integrating Linguistic and Developmental Perspectives”, Cognition, 93: 1-41.  Noveck, I. A., 2001, “When Children are More Logical than Adults: Experimental Investigations of Scalar Implicature”, Cognition, 78: 165-188.  Noveck, I. A., 2004, “Pragmatic Inferences Related to Logical Terms, in Experimental Pragmatics, I. A. Noveck & D. Sperber (eds), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 301-321.  Noveck, I. A. & D. Sperber (eds), 2004, Experimental Pragmatics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.  Papafragou, A. and J. Musolino, 2003, “Scalar Implicatures: Experiments at  the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface”, Cognition, 86: 253-282.  Recanati, F., 2002, “Does Linguistic Communication Rest on Inference?”, Mind and Language, 17: 105-126.  Recanati, F., 2003, “Embedded Implicatures”, Philosophical Perspectives, 17: 299-332.  Recanati, F., 2004, Literal Meaning, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Sperber, D. & D. Wilson, 1986, Relevance: Communication and Cognition, Oxford: Blackwell; reprinted in 1995, second edition.

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