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CAS LX 502 Semantics 4b. Events and modification

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Adverbs How might we describe the meaning of an adverb? Say, loudly. How might we describe the meaning of an adverb? Say, loudly. The hooligan shouted loudly. The hooligan shouted loudly. Well, it seems a bit like this: Well, it seems a bit like this: There was a shouting event. There was a shouting event. The hooligan was the Agent of that event. The hooligan was the Agent of that event. It was a loud event. It was a loud event. Adverbs seem to modify events Adverbs seem to modify events

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Adverb(-like thing)s as event modifiers The hooligan shouted loudly on Saturday atop the bench by the tree in the rain. The hooligan shouted loudly on Saturday atop the bench by the tree in the rain. This asserts the existence of an event that: This asserts the existence of an event that: Is a shouting Is a shouting Has the hooligan as Agent Has the hooligan as Agent Is loud Is loud Is on Saturday Is on Saturday Is atop the bench Is atop the bench Is by the tree Is by the tree Is in the rain Is in the rain Great for manner and temporal adverbs. Great for manner and temporal adverbs.

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Manner, location, and temporal adverb(ial)s Manner Manner Pat ate the sandwich quickly Pat ate the sandwich quickly Chris answered the question brilliantly Chris answered the question brilliantly Lynn entered the intersection cautiously Lynn entered the intersection cautiously Location Location Pat drove home in the rain Pat drove home in the rain Chris slipped on Comm Ave Chris slipped on Comm Ave Temporal Temporal Lynn won the lottery yesterday Lynn won the lottery yesterday Tracy paid the damage deposit in August Tracy paid the damage deposit in August

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Subject-oriented adverbs Zin é dine intentionally hit Marco. Zin é dine intentionally hit Marco. Marco was intentionally hit by Zin é dine. Marco was intentionally hit by Zin é dine. It’s not the whole event that is intentional, it is somehow related to one of the participants. The subject? Well, yes. The Agent? Maybe. It’s not the whole event that is intentional, it is somehow related to one of the participants. The subject? Well, yes. The Agent? Maybe. That second one seems a bit ambiguous That second one seems a bit ambiguous

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Speaker-oriented adverbs Annoyingly, Pat was late. Annoyingly, Pat was late. Predictably, Pat (stupidly) answered the questions (brilliantly) Predictably, Pat (stupidly) answered the questions (brilliantly)

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Modification Pat awoke Pat awoke Pat awoke suddenly Pat awoke suddenly Pat awoke suddenly this morning Pat awoke suddenly this morning This is a yellow pencil This is a yellow pencil This is yellow This is yellow This is a pencil This is a pencil

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Modification Adjectives modify nouns by adding additional conditions. Yellow is an intersective adjective. Adjectives modify nouns by adding additional conditions. Yellow is an intersective adjective.

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“Vague” adjectives Sam is a tall cockroach. Sam is a tall cockroach. Hydrogen is a big atom. Hydrogen is a big atom. Menkaure’s is a small Pyramid. Menkaure’s is a small Pyramid. Stampy is a tall elephant. Stampy is a tall elephant.

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Stampy is a tall elephant It seems that all Stampy is a tall elephant can mean is “Stampy is tall for an elephant.” It seems that all Stampy is a tall elephant can mean is “Stampy is tall for an elephant.” This is different from yellow. This is different from yellow. To get the meaning of tall right seems to require taking into account the meaning of the noun… To get the meaning of tall right seems to require taking into account the meaning of the noun…

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Stampy is a tall elephant To describe the meaning of yellow, we might simply say something like: To describe the meaning of yellow, we might simply say something like: x[x is yellow] x[x is yellow] But tall seems to be of a “higher order” (more complex type) But tall seems to be of a “higher order” (more complex type) P x[x is tall compared to members of {y:P(y)}] P x[x is tall compared to members of {y:P(y)}]

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Modification Given that you can use yellow pencil wherever you use pencil, we can suppose that the syntax of adjectives would be something like this. Given that you can use yellow pencil wherever you use pencil, we can suppose that the syntax of adjectives would be something like this. N Adj N N Adj N Adj yellow Adj yellow N pencil N pencil What does this predict already? (Given a more elaborate lexicon, at least…) What does this predict already? (Given a more elaborate lexicon, at least…) N N pencil yellow Adj

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Modification And the semantics would be as you’d expect: And the semantics would be as you’d expect: [yellow] M = x[x is yellow in M] [yellow] M = x[x is yellow in M] [pencil] M = x[x is a pencil in M] [pencil] M = x[x is a pencil in M] Both type Both type Note: I’m taking the same shortcut (or, “being equally sloppy”) here as in the F2 definitions, skipping the “F(yellow)” step. Note: I’m taking the same shortcut (or, “being equally sloppy”) here as in the F2 definitions, skipping the “F(yellow)” step. N N pencil yellow Adj

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Modification Trying to find the semantic value of the whole thing leads to a problem, of a sort— Trying to find the semantic value of the whole thing leads to a problem, of a sort— We need a new way to combine things: We need a new way to combine things: Predicate modification [ ] M = x[ (x) (x)] Predicate modification [ ] M = x[ (x) (x)] N N pencil yellow Adj

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Modification Thus: the whole thing winds up with a semantic value of: Thus: the whole thing winds up with a semantic value of: z[[yellow] M (z) [pencil] M (z)] z[[yellow] M (z) [pencil] M (z)] z[[ x[x is yellow in M]](z) [[ x[x is a pencil in M]](z)] z[[ x[x is yellow in M]](z) [[ x[x is a pencil in M]](z)] z[z is yellow in M z is a pencil in M] z[z is yellow in M z is a pencil in M] Predicate modification [ ] M = z[ (z) (z)] Predicate modification [ ] M = z[ (z) (z)] “Alphabetic variants”: z[P(z)]= x[P(x)] “Alphabetic variants”: z[P(z)]= x[P(x)] N N pencil yellow Adj

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Predicate Modification So, it turns out we need a third rule of interpretation (for where functional application cannot apply): So, it turns out we need a third rule of interpretation (for where functional application cannot apply): Functional application: [ ] M = [ ] M ( [ ] M ) or[ ] M ( [ ] M ) whichever is defined Functional application: [ ] M = [ ] M ( [ ] M ) or[ ] M ( [ ] M ) whichever is defined Pass-Up: [ ] M = [ ] M Pass-Up: [ ] M = [ ] M Predicate modification: [ ] M = z[ (z) (z)] Predicate modification: [ ] M = z[ (z) (z)]

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Stampy is a tall elephant For tall, as we already saw, this won’t work because tall is a bit more complex. For tall, as we already saw, this won’t work because tall is a bit more complex. What we need is not to intersect the two, but rather to have tall take elephant as an argument. What we need is not to intersect the two, but rather to have tall take elephant as an argument. Assume: Assume: [elephant] M = x[x is an elephant in M] [elephant] M = x[x is an elephant in M] Type Type N Adj N elephant tall

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Stampy is a tall elephant [tall] M = P[ x[x is tall compared to members of {y:P(y)}] [tall] M = P[ x[x is tall compared to members of {y:P(y)}] The idea: tall takes elephant (call it “P”) and gives back the ( ) property: The idea: tall takes elephant (call it “P”) and gives back the ( ) property: x[x is tall compared to members of {y:[elephant] M (y)}] x[x is tall compared to members of {y:[elephant] M (y)}] x[x is tall compared to the set of elephants in M] x[x is tall compared to the set of elephants in M] What type is tall then? What type is tall then? Takes, returns. Takes, returns. N Adj N elephant tall

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Different mechanisms? Revisiting yellow—does the better theory have two different ways of combining adjectives and nouns? Revisiting yellow—does the better theory have two different ways of combining adjectives and nouns? Could we not treat yellow the same way as we treat tall? Could we not treat yellow the same way as we treat tall? [yellow] M = P[ x[x is yellow P(x)]] [yellow] M = P[ x[x is yellow P(x)]] We could. It works just as well. However, we will need PM elsewhere too: We could. It works just as well. However, we will need PM elsewhere too: Stampy is an elephant (that) Bart won. Stampy is an elephant (that) Bart won. N Adj N elephant tall

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Even harder cases Consider an adjective like fake: Consider an adjective like fake: Fake gun Fake gun How might we describe the semantics of fake? How might we describe the semantics of fake? Is it intersective? Is it intersective? Can we model it the same way we modeled tall? Can we model it the same way we modeled tall?

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The effect of is a So far we’ve really only dealt with tall elephant, but what about the context of a full sentence like Stampy is a tall elephant? So far we’ve really only dealt with tall elephant, but what about the context of a full sentence like Stampy is a tall elephant? We seem to get the right meaning if we simply ignore is and a. We seem to get the right meaning if we simply ignore is and a. Then it comes out just like Stampy swims. Then it comes out just like Stampy swims. This might make a little bit more sense out of the way we treated is boring. This might make a little bit more sense out of the way we treated is boring. We could get away with that because is actually doesn’t contribute anything. We might say it is there simply because the syntax of English (not the semantics) requires it. We could get away with that because is actually doesn’t contribute anything. We might say it is there simply because the syntax of English (not the semantics) requires it.

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What kind of thing is a(n)? A noun phrase (a noun with extra stuff—like an article or an adjective; something that can be the subject of a sentence) with a(n) is called indefinite. A noun phrase (a noun with extra stuff—like an article or an adjective; something that can be the subject of a sentence) with a(n) is called indefinite. Intuitively, we might class a(n) together with the or every (articles, or determiners)—but their effect on the meaning seems to be different. Intuitively, we might class a(n) together with the or every (articles, or determiners)—but their effect on the meaning seems to be different. Specifically, it doesn’t seem like a(n) adds anything either (like is didn’t). Specifically, it doesn’t seem like a(n) adds anything either (like is didn’t).

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Cf. the The article the, on the other hand, does seem to have a contribution to the meaning. The article the, on the other hand, does seem to have a contribution to the meaning. The tall elephant is hungry. The tall elephant is hungry. Bond is hungry. Bond is hungry. We’d worked out tall elephant to be a property. But The tall elephant seems to refer to an individual. We’d worked out tall elephant to be a property. But The tall elephant seems to refer to an individual. The seems to “convert” a property into an individual. How? The seems to “convert” a property into an individual. How?

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The, definite article What the seems to do is pick some individual that has the property. What the seems to do is pick some individual that has the property. Which one? Which one? Well, if you use the, you seem to assume that there is some salient individual with the property that you can pick. Well, if you use the, you seem to assume that there is some salient individual with the property that you can pick. Specifically, the presupposes that there is a unique and salient individual. Specifically, the presupposes that there is a unique and salient individual.

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The elephant So, how could we model the? So, how could we model the? First, we need to get it to be generated by the syntax. First, we need to get it to be generated by the syntax. Considerations: Considerations: The (tall) (yellow) elephant The (tall) (yellow) elephant *The an elephant *The an elephant *Tall the elephant *Tall the elephant Adjectives can be iterated, but articles/determiners cannot. Adjectives can be iterated, but articles/determiners cannot. Combining a N and Adj produces another N (with which an Adj can be combined) Combining a N and Adj produces another N (with which an Adj can be combined) Combining a Det and a N produces something different. Combining a Det and a N produces something different. DP Det N elephant the

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The elephant Thus: Thus: Det the, a(n) Det the, a(n) DP Det N DP Det N And to resolve this with the rest of the grammar And to resolve this with the rest of the grammar DP N DP N DP Bond, Loren, … DP Bond, Loren, … (replacing N Bond, Loren, …) (replacing N Bond, Loren, …) S DP VP S DP VP (replacing S N VP) (replacing S N VP) VP Vt DP VP Vt DP (replacing S N VP) (replacing S N VP) N Adj N elephant yellow DP Det the

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The elephant Now, (yellow) elephant was a property,, true/false of individuals. Now, (yellow) elephant was a property,, true/false of individuals. And the (yellow) elephant is an individual (some salient, unique individual with the property (yellow) elephant). And the (yellow) elephant is an individual (some salient, unique individual with the property (yellow) elephant). So, the takes a property ( ) and returns an individual ( ). So, the takes a property ( ) and returns an individual ( ).,e>,e> N Adj N elephant yellow DP Det the

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The elephant So, the: So, the: [the] M = P[x such that P(x)] [the] M = P[x such that P(x)] Presupposes there is a unique x to choose, that is familiar. Presupposes there is a unique x to choose, that is familiar. There are additional complexities, but this will do for the moment. There are additional complexities, but this will do for the moment. N Adj N elephant yellow DP Det the

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Revisiting indefinites Actually, a(n) can serve this function as well: Actually, a(n) can serve this function as well: A tall elephant is hungry. A tall elephant is hungry. Here too, we seem to be talking about an individual. Here too, we seem to be talking about an individual. In this case, there need not be a unique and salient one—what it seems to assert is that among the individuals with the property tall elephant, one can be found that (also) has the property is hungry. In this case, there need not be a unique and salient one—what it seems to assert is that among the individuals with the property tall elephant, one can be found that (also) has the property is hungry.

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Three kinds of indefinites In fact, there seem to be at least three kinds of indefinite noun phrase. In fact, there seem to be at least three kinds of indefinite noun phrase. An elephant is hungry An elephant is hungry …I can tell from the noise. (nonspecific) …I can tell from the noise. (nonspecific) …Guess which one (specific) …Guess which one (specific) …and lives in hot climates (generic/kind) …and lives in hot climates (generic/kind) And maybe a fourth, though this might be also simply a version of the first one. And maybe a fourth, though this might be also simply a version of the first one. Stampy is an elephant Stampy is an elephant We’ll get into this further at the same time as we talk about Every elephant. We’ll get into this further at the same time as we talk about Every elephant.

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Modification by relative clauses The elephant that I saw The elephant that I saw [that I saw] acts here like an adjective. [that I saw] acts here like an adjective. It’s true of things that I saw, and combines intersectively with elephant. It’s true of things that I saw, and combines intersectively with elephant. Restrictive relative Restrictive relative The elephant, who is boring, is hungry. The elephant, who is boring, is hungry. Not quite the same thing as The boring elephant is hungry. It’s essentially expressing a second proposition: The elephant is boring. Not quite the same thing as The boring elephant is hungry. It’s essentially expressing a second proposition: The elephant is boring. Non-restrictive relative Non-restrictive relative

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Relative clauses The form of a relative clause is: The form of a relative clause is: {that/which/who/Ø} S {that/which/who/Ø} S Where S is “missing” something. Where S is “missing” something. The dog (who/that) I saw _ The dog (who/that) I saw _ The dog which/that _ bit me The dog which/that _ bit me The interpretation is basically: The property of being able to be filled in the blank truthfully The interpretation is basically: The property of being able to be filled in the blank truthfully x[x such that x bit me] x[x such that x bit me] x[x such that I saw x] x[x such that I saw x] More on how we can arrive at this compositionally later More on how we can arrive at this compositionally later

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