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Beijing Normal University, 31 May 2013 Interactive Semantics: Rethinking the Composition of Meaning Kasia M. Jaszczolt University of Cambridge

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2 Beijing Normal University, 31 May 2013 Interactive Semantics: Rethinking the Composition of Meaning Kasia M. Jaszczolt University of Cambridge 1

3 Outline: Contextualism about meaning Default Semantics and Interactive Semantics Example: Representing time in discourse 2

4 Paul Grice: Intentions 3 ‘A meant NN something by x’: A uttered x with the intention of inducing a belief by means of the recognition of this intention. Grice (1989: 219)

5 Implicature (implicatum) Inferences that are drawn from an utterance. They are seen by the hearer as being intended by the speaker. Speakers implicate, hearers infer (Horn 2004). 4

6 Implicature (implicatum) Inferences that are drawn from an utterance. They are seen by the hearer as being intended by the speaker. Speakers implicate, hearers infer (Horn 2004). Inference in implicature is cancellable: ‘Tom has three cats.’ ‘Tom has three cats, if not four.’ vs. deductive inference: ((p → q) ∧ p) → q) 5

7 Modified Occam’s Razor: ‘Senses are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.’ Grice (1989: 47) 6

8 Post-Gricean pragmatics: ? Where is the boundary between semantics and pragmatics? 7

9  Contextualism (currently dominant view) ‘... what is said turns out to be, in a large measure, pragmatically determined. Besides the conversational implicatures, which are external to (and combine with) what is said, there are other nonconventional, pragmatic aspects of utterance meaning, which are constitutive of what is said.’ Recanati (1989: 98; see also Recanati 2004, 2010, 2012) 8

10 Some British people like cricket. Some but not all British people like cricket. Everybody read Frege. Every member of the research group read Frege. 9

11 Semantic analysis takes us only part of the way towards the recovery of utterance meaning. Pragmatic enrichment completes the process. Enrichment: some +> some but not all everybody +> everybody in the room, every acquaintance of the speaker, etc. 10

12 Pragmatic enrichment of what is said is often automatic, subconscious (Dafault/Interactive Semantics: ‘default’). 11

13 Modulation (Recanati 2004, 2005): The logical form becomes enriched/modulated as a result of pragmatic inference and the entire semantic/pragmatic product becomes subjected to the truth-conditional analysis. 12

14 Modulation (Recanati 2004, 2005): The logical form becomes ? enriched/modulated as a result of pragmatic inference and the entire semantic/pragmatic product becomes subjected to the truth-conditional analysis. 13

15 Minimalism/contextualism debate ‘Is semantic interpretation a matter of holistic guesswork (like the interpretation of kicks under the table), rather than an algorithmic, grammar-driven process as formal semanticists have claimed? Contextualism: Yes. Literalism: No. (…) Like Stanley and the formal semanticists, I maintain that the semantic interpretation is grammar-driven.’ Recanati (2012: 148) 14

16  K.M. Jaszczolt, 2005, Default Semantics: Foundations of a Compositional Theory of Acts of Communication, Oxford: Oxford University Press.  K. M. Jaszczolt, ‘Default Semantics’. In: B. Heine and H. Narrog (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press  K. M. Jaszczolt, in progress, Interactive Semantics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

17 Conceptual structure in Default Semantics Unit of analysis Sources of information contributing to the unit Pragmatic compositionality Merger representations: towards a formalization 16

18 ? How far can the logical form be extended? ‘How much pragmatics’ is allowed in the semantic representation? 17

19 The logical form of the sentence can not only be extended but also replaced by a new semantic representation when the primary, intended meaning demands it. Such extensions or substitutions are primary meanings and their representations are merger representations in Default Semantics. There is no syntactic constraint on merger representations. 18

20 Object of study of the theory of meaning:  Discourse meaning intended by Model Speaker and recovered by Model Addressee (primary meaning) 19

21 Radical contextualism DS does not recognize the level of meaning at which the logical form is pragmatically developed/modulated as a real, interesting, and cognitively justified construct. To do so would be to assume that syntax plays a privileged role among various carriers of information (contextualists’ mistake). 20

22 Child to mother: Everybody has a bike. (a) All of the child’s friends have bikes. (b) Many/most of the child’s classmates have bikes. (c) The mother should consider buying her son a bike. (d) Cycling is a popular form of exercise among children. 21

23 Child to mother: Everybody has a bike. (a) All of the child’s friends have bikes. (b) Many/most of the child’s classmates have bikes. (c) The mother should consider buying her son a bike. (d) Cycling is a popular form of exercise among children. 22

24 Interlocutors frequently communicate their main intended content through a proposition which is not syntactically restricted. Experimental evidence: Pitts 2005 Sysoeva and Jaszczolt 2007 Schneider

25 Merger Representation  Primary meanings are modelled as the so-called merger representations. 24

26 Merger Representation  Primary meanings are modelled as merger representations. The outputs of sources of information about meaning merge and all the outputs are treated on an equal footing. 25

27 Merger Representation  Primary meanings are modelled as the so-called merger representations. The outputs of sources of information about meaning merge and all the outputs are treated on an equal footing. The syntactic constraint is abandoned. Merger representations have the status of mental representations. 26

28 Merger Representation  Primary meanings are modelled as merger representations. The outputs of sources of information about meaning merge and all the outputs are treated on an equal footing. The syntactic constraint is abandoned. Merger representations have the status of mental representations. They have a compositional structure: they are proposition-like, truth-conditionally evaluable constructs. 27

29 Sources of information for  (i) world knowledge (WK) (ii) word meaning and sentence structure (WS) (iii) situation of discourse (SD) (iv) properties of the human inferential system (IS) (v) stereotypes and presumptions about society and culture (SC) 28

30 SC A Botticelli was stolen from the Uffizi last week. A painting by Botticelli was stolen from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy last week. 29

31 IS The author of Wolf Hall is visiting Cambridge this spring. Hilary Mantel is visiting Cambridge this spring. 30

32 31

33 The model of sources of information can be mapped onto types of processes that produce the merger representation  of the primary meaning and the additional (secondary) meanings. 32

34 33

35 Mapping between sources and processes WK  SCWD or CPI SC  SCWD or CPI WS  WS (logical form) SD  CPI IS  CD In building merger representations DS makes use of the processing model and it indexes the components of  with a subscript standing for the type of processing. 34

36 Parsimony of Levels Principle (POL): Levels of senses are not to be multiplied beyond necessity. A: I’ve cut my finger. B: You are not going to die! Primary, main meaning: ‘There is nothing to worry about.’ 35

37 Merger representations What is expressed in the lexicon in one language may be expressed by grammar in another. 36

38 Merger representations What is expressed in the lexicon in one language may be expressed by grammar in another. What is expressed overtly in one language may be left to pragmatic inference or default interpretation in another. 37

39 e.g. sentential connectives: Wari’ (Chapacura-Wanham, the Amazon) Tzeltal (Mayan, Mexico) no ‘or’ Maricopa (Yuman, Arizona) no ‘and’ Guugu Yimithirr (Australian Aboriginal)no ‘if’ cf. Mauri & van der Auwera 2012; Evans & Levinson

40 English ‘and’ Tom finished the chapter and closed the book. and +> and then Tom finished the chapter and then closed the book. Tom finished the chapter. He closed the book. 39

41 ‘…while perhaps none of the logical connectives are universally lexically expressed, there is no evidence that languages differ in whether or not logical connectives are present in their logical forms’. von Fintel & Matthewson (2008: 170) 40

42 Merger representations are compositional. 41

43 Compositionality is a methodological principle: ‘…it is always possible to satisfy compositionality by simply adjusting the syntactic and/or semantic tools one uses, unless that is, the latter are constrained on independent grounds.’ Groenendijk and Stokhof (1991: 93) 42

44 Compositionality should be an empirical assumption about the nature of possible human languages. Szabó (2000) 43

45 Fodor (2008) compositionality on the level of referential properties (for Mentalese) 44

46 Compositionality disputes Ascribing generative capacity to syntax (Chomsky and followers) Compositionality as a property of semantics Montague and followers, e.g. DRT, DPL, representationalism Evans and Levinson (2009), generative power of semantics/pragmatics (conceptual structure) 45

47 Interactive compositionality (Default Semantics/Interactive Semantics) 46

48 von Fintel and Matthewson (2008: 191): ‘We found that languages often express strikingly similar truth conditions, in spite of non-trivial differences in lexical semantics or syntax. We suggested that it may therefore be fruitful to investigate the validity of ‘purely semantic’ universals, as opposed to syntax-semantics universals’. 47

49  What are they? vF&M (2008): (i) some universal semantic composition principles (ii) Gricean principles of utterance interpretation  semantic/pragmatic processing principles 48

50 ‘For our generativist critics, generality is to be found at the level of structural representation; for us, at the level of process’ Evans and Levinson (2009: 475) 49

51 Interactive Semantics: Compositionality is a semantic universal 50

52 Selected applications of DS definite descriptions, proper names, belief reports (Jaszczolt 1997, 1999); negation and discourse connectives (Lee 2002); presupposition, sentential connectives, number terms (Jaszczolt 2005); temporality, and modality (Jaszczolt 2009; 2012; 2013a; Srioutai 2004, 2006; Jaszczolt and Srioutai 2012; Engemann 2008; first-person reference and de se belief reports (Jaszczolt 2013b; forthcoming); conditional constructions (Elder in progress; Jaszczolt & Elder 2013 & in progress) 51

53 Time in discourse 52

54 53

55 Jaszczolt, K. M ‘Temporality and epistemic commitment: An unresolved question’, in: K. Jaszczolt & L. de Saussure (eds). Time: Language, Cognition, and Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press (vol. 1 of Oxford Studies of Time in Language and Thought)

56 Swahili: consecutive tense marker ka a.…wa-Ingereza wa-li-wa-chukuawa-lemaiti, 3Pl-British 3Pl-Past-3Pl-take3Pl-Demcorpses ‘…then the British took the corpses, b.wa-ka-wa-tiakatika baomoja, 3Pl-Cons-3Pl-put.ononboardone put them on a flat board, c.wa-ka-ya-telemeshamaji-nikwautaratibu w-ote… 3Pl-Cons-3Pl-lower water-Locwithorder 3Pl-all and lowered them steadily into the water…’ adapted from Givón (2005: 154) 55

57 cf. rhetorical structure rules, Asher and Lascarides 2003 Narration: Lidia played a sonata.The audience applauded. e 1  e 2 56

58 Thai f 3 ont 1 ok rain fall (a) It is raining. (default meaning) (b) It was raining. (possible intended meaning) 57

59 Merger Representations for the Past (1) Lidia went to a concert yesterday. (regular past) (2) This is what happened yesterday. Lidia goes to a concert, meets her school friend and tells her… (past of narration) (3) Lidia would have gone to a concert (then). (epistemic necessity past) (4) Lidia must have gone to a concert (yesterday). (epistemic necessity past) (5) Lidia may have gone to a concert (yesterday). (epistemic possibility past) (6) Lidia might have gone to a concert (yesterday). (epistemic possibility past) 58

60 Fig. 3: Degree of epistemic commitment for selected expressions with past-time reference

61 ACC Δ ├ Σ ‘it is acceptable to the degree Δ that Σ is true’ 60

62 amended and extended language of DRSs (Kamp and Reyle 1993) 61

63 Fig. 4: Σ for ‘Lidia went to a concert yesterday.’ (regular past) Σ

64 Past-time reference in Thai (pragmatic) m 3 ae:r 3 i: I kh 2 iann 3 iy 3 ai: Marywritenovel 63

65 Fig. 5:  for ‘Mary wrote a novel’ (regular past) 64 

66 Merger Representations for the Present (1) Lidia is at a concert now. (regular present) (2) Lidia will be at a concert now. (epistemic necessity present) (3) Lidia must be at a concert now. (epistemic necessity present) (4) Lidia may be at a concert now. (epistemic possibility present) (5) Lidia might be at a concert now. (epistemic possibility present) 65

67 Fig. 5: Degree of epistemic commitment for expressions with present-time reference

68 Fig. 6: Σ for Lidia will be at a concert now’ (epistemic necessity present) Σ

69 Merger Representations for the Future (1)Lidia goes to a concert tomorrow evening. (‘tenseless’ future) (2)Lidia is going to a concert tomorrow evening. (futurate progressive) (3)Lidia is going to go to a concert tomorrow evening. (periphrastic future) (4)Lidia will go to a concert tomorrow evening. (regular future) (5)Lidia must be going to a concert tomorrow evening. (epistemic necessity future) (6)Lidia may go to a concert tomorrow evening. (epistemic possibility future) (7)Lidia might go to a concert tomorrow evening. (epistemic possibility future) 68

70 Fig. 7: Degree of modal detachment for selected expressions with future-time reference

71 Fig. 8: Σ for ‘Lidia is going to a concert tomorrow evening.’ (futurate progressive) 

72 Summary & Conclusions  Merger representations of Interactive Semantics can represent lexicon/grammar/pragmatics trade-offs in expressing meaning in discourse.  Compositionality is best understood as pragmatic compositionality, sought at the level of Σ s rather than WS.  Cross-linguistic differences in expressing time can be explained by a universal semantics of temporality in terms of the underlying concept of epistemic modality ACC Δ ├ Σ. 71

73 ‘Holistic guesswork’? ‘Is semantic interpretation a matter of holistic guesswork (like the interpretation of kicks under the table), rather than an algorithmic, grammar-driven process as formal semanticists have claimed?’ Recanati (2012: 148) 72

74 radical contextualism holistic (interactive semantics) compositional (pragmatic compositionality) ? algorithmic (merger representation)

75 74

76 Select references Asher, N. and A. Lascarides Logics of Conversation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Evans, N. and S. C. Levinson ‘The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science’. Behavioral and Brain Sciences Fodor, J. A LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Givón, T Context as other Minds: The Pragmatics of Sociality, Cognition and Communication. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins. Grice, P Studies in the Way of Words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (especially ‘Logic and conversation’, ‘Further notes on logic and conversation’, ‘Meaning’). Grice, P Aspects of Reason. Ed. by R. Warner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Groenendijk, J. and M. Stokhof ‘Dynamic Predicate Logic’. Linguistics and Philosophy Horn, L. R ‘Implicature’. In: L. R. Horn and G. Ward (eds). The Handbook of Pragmatics. Oxford: Blackwell

77 Jaszczolt, K. M ‘The Default De Re Principle for the interpretation of belief utterances’. Journal of Pragmatics Jaszczolt, K. M Discourse, Beliefs, and Intentions: Semantic Defaults and Propositional Attitude Ascription. Oxford: Elsevier Science. Jaszczolt, K.M Default Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jaszczolt, K. M Representing Time: An Essay on Temporality as Modality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jaszczolt, K.M. 2010a. ‘Default Semantics’. In: B. Heine and H. Narrog (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press Jaszczolt, K. M. 2010b. ‘Semantics-pragmatics interface’. In: L. Cummings (ed.). The Pragmatics Encyclopedia. London: Routledge Jaszczolt, K. M 'Communicating about the past through modality in English and Thai' (with J. Srioutai). In: A. Patard and F. Brisard (eds). Cognitive Approaches to Tense, Aspect, and Epistemic Modality. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Jaszczolt, K. M 'Cross-linguistic differences in expressing time and universal principles of utterance interpretation'. In: L. Filipovic and K. Jaszczolt (eds). Space and Time in Languages and Cultures: Linguistic Diversity. Amsterdam: John Benjamins

78 Jaszczolt, K. M. 2013a. 'Temporality and epistemic commitment: An unresolved question'. In: K. Jaszczolt and L. de Saussure (eds). Time: Language, Cognition, and Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jaszczolt, K. M. 2013b. 'First-person reference in discourse: Aims and strategies'. Journal of Pragmatics Jaszczolt, K. M. in progress. Interactive Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kamp, H. and U. Reyle From Discourse to Logic: Introduction to Modeltheoretic Semantics of Natural Language, Formal Logic and Discourse Representation Theory. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Mauri, C. and J. van der Auwera ‘Connectives’. In: K. M. Jaszczolt and K. Allan (eds). The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Pitts, A ‘Assessing the evidence for intuitions about what is said’. M.Phil. essay, University of Cambridge. Recanati, F ‘The pragmatics of what is said’. Mind and Language 4. Reprinted in: S. Davis (ed.) Pragmatics: A Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press

79 Recanati, F Literal Meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Recanati, F Truth-Conditional Pragmatics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Recanati, F ‘Contextualism: Some varieties’. In: In: K. Allan and K. M. Jaszczolt (eds). The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Schneider, A Understanding Primary Meaning: A Study with Reference to Requests in Russian and British English. PhD dissertation, University of Cambridge. Sysoeva, A. and K. M. Jaszczolt, ‘Composing utterance meaning: An interface between pragmatics and psychology’. Paper presented at the 10th International Pragmatics Conference, Göteborg, July Szabò, Z. G ‘Compositionality as supervenience’. Linguistics and Philosophy von Fintel, K. and L. Matthewson ‘Universals in semantics’. The Linguistic Review


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