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Mary Byram Washburn Elsi Kaiser Maria Luisa Zubizarreta The University of Southern California CUSP 2012 The.

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Presentation on theme: "Mary Byram Washburn Elsi Kaiser Maria Luisa Zubizarreta The University of Southern California CUSP 2012 The."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Mary Byram Washburn Elsi Kaiser Maria Luisa Zubizarreta The University of Southern California CUSP 2012 The Exhaustivity of Contrastive Focus is a Conversational Implicature With many thanks to Elena Guerzoni!

3 Contrastive focus seems exhaustive The intuition: 1a) It was John who left the party early. b) [John] F left the party early. = only John left the party early (no one else left the party early) This has led many people to include exhaustivity as part of the semantics of contrastive focus, especially it-clefts For it-clefts: Kiss 1998, Percus 1997 For insitu contrastive focus: Svoboda & Materna 1987

4 Exhaustivity behaves like a conversational implicature Felicitous in suspender clauses (Horn 1972) 2a) It was a sandwich that Tom ordered, and possibly it was even a sandwich and a bagel that he ordered. 2b) Tom ordered a [sandwich] F, and possibly, he even ordered a sandwich and a bagel. Fails to arise in downward entailing environments 3) Context: George always leaves one cookie in the cookie jar. a) If it was George who stole the cookies, then there will be just one left, regardless of his accomplices. b) If [George] F stole the cookies, there will be just one left, regardless of his accomplices.

5 Violations of exhaustivity are not processed the same as for ‘only’ Drenhaus et al 2010 Questionnaire study and ERP study Compared exhaustive and non-exhaustive it-clefts to exhaustive and non-exhaustive ‘only’ sentences in German a) Exhaustive it-cleft: Es ist Maria, die das Klavier spielen kann und ausserdem noch die Geige sagte… It is Mary who the piano play can and besides that also the violin says… It is Mary who can play the piano and, additionally, also the violin, says… b) Non-exhaustive it-cleft: Es ist Maria, die das Klavier spielen kann und ausserdem noch Luise und Jana sagte… It is Mary who the piano play can and besides her also Luise and Jana says… It is Mary who can play the piano and, additionally, also Luise and Jana, says… c) Exhaustive ‘only’ statement Nur Maria kann das Klavier spielen und ausserdem noch die Geige sagte… Only Mary can the piano play and besides that also the violin says… Only Mary can play the piano and, additionally, also the violin, says… d) Non-exhaustive ‘only’ statement Nur Maria kann das Klavier spielen und ausserdem noch Luise and Jana sagte… Only Mary can the piano play and besides that also Luise and Jana says… Only Mary can play the piano and, additionally, also Luise and Jana, says…

6 Violations of exhaustivity are not processed the same as for ‘only’ Drenhaus et al 2010: results For the Questionnaire Non-exhaustive statements worse than exhaustive ones, but non-exhaustive it-clefts significantly better than non-exhaustive ‘only’ 1-6 where 1=best oExhaustive it-cleft: 2.4 oNon-exhaustive it-cleft: 2.8 oExhaustive ‘only’: 2.6 oNon-exhaustive ‘only’: 3.7 For the ERP Exhaustive it-cleft vs. Non-exhaustive it-cleft: N400 Pragmatic integration (not truth-conditional violation) Exhaustive ‘only’ vs. Non-exhaustive ‘only’: P600 Semantic processing

7 Exhaustivity is a scalar implicature? Maxim of Quantity & Maxim of Quality (Horn 1981) Any more informative statement that is not said must have been omitted because it is false. 3 premises: P1) A speaker utters the it-cleft or contrastive focus correctly P2) Opinionate speaker: The speaker either believes that the it-cleft or utterance with contrastive focus is exhaustive or believes that it is not. (Fox 2007, Sauerland 2004, von Fintel and Heim 1999) P3) Relevance: The speaker believes that it is relevant if there are multiple items that are true of the utterance, one of which is the clefted or contrastively focused item (Gamut 1991, Atlas and Levinson 1981)

8 The Current Study: goals Goals: Determine if speakers of English find non-exhaustive contrastive focus to be ungrammatical in circumstances where a scalar implicature should fail to arise. Ungrammaticality is a hallmark of being a semantic property Test on: It-clefts (Exp. 1) Insitu contrastive focus (Exp. 2)

9 The Current Study: materials The last spoken sentence was always the same: Exp. 1: Yesterday, it was a sandwich that he ordered Exp. 2: Yesterday, he ordered a [sandwich] F. Baseline: Exhaustive, Contrastive (exh, con) Grammatical Jane and Tom went to lunch. Tom ordered a sandwich. Later, Kevin remarks: “I bet Tom ordered only a salad again, didn’t he?” Jane responds: “No, he didn’t.” Exhaustive, Non-contrastive (exh, non-con) Ungrammatical Jane and Tom went to lunch. Tom ordered a sandwich. Later, Kevin remarks: “I bet Tom ordered only a sandwich again, didn’t he?” Jane responds: “Yes, he did.”

10 The Current Study: materials Exp. 1: Yesterday, it was a sandwich that he ordered Exp. 2: Yesterday, he ordered a [sandwich] F. Explicit Alternatives and Relevant Alternatives Explicit: strength of implicature = markedness (Horn 1981) Relevant: implicature fails to arise if more informative statement is irrelevant Non-exhaustive, Explicit, Irrelevant (nonexh, exp, rel) Grammatical Jane and Tom went to lunch. Tom ordered a sandwich, a bagel, and a donut. Later, Kevin remarks: “I bet Tom ordered only a salad again, didn’t he?” Jane responds: “He doesn’t always order salads.” Non-exhaustive, Explicit, Relevant (nonexh, exp, rel) Ungrammatical Jane and Tom went to lunch. Tom ordered a sandwich, a bagel, and a donut. Later, Kevin remarks: “I bet Tom ordered a salad again, didn’t he?” Jane responds: “No, he didn’t.”

11 The Current Study: materials Exp. 1: Yesterday, it was a sandwich that he ordered Exp. 2: Yesterday, he ordered a [sandwich] F. Explicit Alternatives and Relevant Alternatives Non-exhaustive, Implicit, Irrelevant (nonexh, nonexp) Grammatical Jane and Tom went to lunch. Tom ordered a variety of lunch items. Later, Kevin remarks: “I bet Tom ordered only a salad again, didn’t he?” Jane responds: “He doesn’t always order salads.” Non-exhaustive, Implicit, Relevant (nonexh, nonexp, rel) Ungrammatical Jane and Tom went to lunch. Tom ordered a variety of lunch items. Later, Kevin remarks: “I bet Tom ordered a salad again, didn’t he?” Jane responds: “No, he didn’t.”

12 The Current Study: procedure Participants read the paragraphs on a computer screen. Only one sentence visible at a time. Clicked spacebar to move to the next sentence. Final, experimental sentence presented audially. Native, female speaker of English Participants judged final sentence. Asked to indicate how “natural” final sentence was in light of the previous context. (“weird” or “bizarre” also in instructions) 1-6 nominal scale, 1=completely natural & 6 =completely unnatural Fillers: Pseudoclefts and insitu focus, with appropriate and inappropriate intonation (flat or emphasized) and placement (noun or verb)

13 The Current Study: experiment 1 results with it-clefts Non-exhaustive it-clefts were not judged to be ungrammatical! Non-exhaustive it-clefts were not rated worst than exhaustive it-clefts. p>.05

14 The Current Study: experiment 2 current results with insitu Non-exhaustive insitu contrastive focus does not appear to be ungrammatical!

15 The Current Study: discussion Non-exhaustive contrastive focus is not ungrammatical. Non-contrastive contrastive focus is ungrammatical. Rated worse than all other conditions, regardless of exhaustivity. No difference between exhaustive and non-exhaustive conditions. Implicit vs. Explicit alternatives did not make a difference. Strongest case of exhaustivity: explicitly mentioned alternatives Relevant vs. Irrelevant alternatives did not make a difference Trend towards relevant alternatives being rated worse than irrelevant alternatives, but nowhere near significant. Could be a product of the sensitivity of the task.

16 Implications Exhaustiveness in contrastive focus is a conversational implicature. Can be formally analyzed as a scalar implicature. Analyzing it as a scalar implicature accounts for more of the data Suspender clauses, downward entailment Violations are not processed like semantic violations N400, not a P600 Not considered as bad as a truly ungrammatical construction (indeed, perhaps not bad at all!) Accounts of contrastive focus, even of the it-cleft, should avoid using exhaustivity as part of its meaning It is possible to include presentational clefts and identificational clefts within the same analysis.

17 Works Cited Atlas, J.D. and Stephen C. Levinson It-clefts, informativeness and logical form: Radical pragmatics. Radical Pragmatics, ed. Peter Cole. Academic Press Inc: New York, Drenhaus, H., M. Zimmermann, S. Vasishth Exhaustiveness effects in clefts are not truth- functional. Journal of Neurolinguistics. Doi: /j.jneuroling Fox, Danny Free choice and the theory of scalar implicatures. Presupposition and implicature in compositional semantics, ed. Penka Stateva and Uli Sauerland. Palgrave-Macmillan. Gamut, L.T.F Logic, Language and Meaning. University of Chicago Press. Green, M. and Jaggar, P Ex-situ and In-situ Focus in Hausa: syntax, semantics and discourse. Research in Afroasiatic Grammar II. [CILT 241]. Ed. J. Lecarme. Amsterdam: John Benjamins: Grice, H.P “Logic and Conversation.” Syntax and Semantics. Ed. Peter Cole and Jerry Morgan. Vol. 3: Speech Acts. Academic Press: New York. Halvorsen, Per-Kristian The Syntax and Semantics of Cleft Constructions. Ph D diss., Univ. of Texas at Austin. Hedberg, N Discourse Pragmatics and Cleft Sentences in English. Ph.D. diss., University of Minnesota. Hedberg, N “The Referential Status of Clefts.” Language. 76:4, Horn, L On the Semantic Properties of Logical Operators in English. Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles. Horn, L “Exhaustiveness and the semantics of clefts.” Proceeding of NELS 11,

18 Works Cited Kiss, É Identification Focus Versus Information Focus. Language 74:2, Percus, O Prying open the cleft. Northeast Linguistic Society 27, Prince, E. F A comparison of wh-clefts and it-clefts in discourse. Language 54, Rooth, M Association with Focus. Ph.D. diss., UMass, Amherst. Rooth, M A Theory of Focus Interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1, Rooth, M The generic book. The University of Chicago Press. Rooth, M On the interface principles for intonational focus. SALT VI. ed. Teresa Galloway and Justin Spence. Cornell University: Ithaca, NY, Sauerland, U Scalar Implicatures in Complex Sentences, Linguistics and Philosophy 27, Von Fintel, K. and Irene Heim Pragmatics in Linguistic Theory. Class Notes. MIT.


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