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## CAS LX 502 Semantics

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**CAS LX 502Semantics**4b. Events and modification 4.1-4.4**Adverbs**• How might we describe the meaning of an adverb? Say, loudly. • The hooligan shouted loudly. • Well, it seems a bit like this: • There was a shouting event. • The hooligan was the Agent of that event. • It was a loud event. • Adverbs seem to modify events**Adverb(-like thing)s as event modifiers**• The hooligan shouted loudly on Saturday atop the bench by the tree in the rain. • This asserts the existence of an event that: • Is a shouting • Has the hooligan as Agent • Is loud • Is on Saturday • Is atop the bench • Is by the tree • Is in the rain • Great for manner and temporal adverbs.**Manner, location, and temporal adverb(ial)s**• Manner • Pat ate the sandwich quickly • Chris answered the question brilliantly • Lynn entered the intersection cautiously • Location • Pat drove home in the rain • Chris slipped on Comm Ave • Temporal • Lynn won the lottery yesterday • Tracy paid the damage deposit in August**Subject-oriented adverbs**• Zinédine intentionally hit Marco. • Marco was intentionally hit by Zinédine. • 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**Speaker-oriented adverbs**• Annoyingly, Pat was late. • Predictably, Pat (stupidly) answered the questions (brilliantly)**Modification**• Pat awoke • Pat awoke suddenly • Pat awoke suddenly this morning • This is a yellow pencil • This is yellow • This is a pencil**Modification**• Adjectives modify nouns by adding additional conditions. Yellow is an intersective adjective.**“Vague” adjectives**• Sam is a tall cockroach. • Hydrogen is a big atom. • Menkaure’s is a small Pyramid. • Stampy is atall elephant.**Stampy is a tall elephant**• It seems that all Stampy is a tall elephant can mean is “Stampy is tall for an elephant.” • This is different from yellow. • To get the meaning of tall right seems to require taking into account the meaning of the noun…**Stampy is a tall elephant**• To describe the meaning of yellow, we might simply say something like: • x[x is yellow] • But tall seems to be of a “higher order” (more complex type) • Px[x is tall compared to members of {y:P(y)}]**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. • N Adj N • Adj yellow • N pencil • What does this predict already? (Given a more elaborate lexicon, at least…) N Adj N yellow pencil**Modification**• And the semantics would be as you’d expect: • [yellow]M = x[x is yellow in M] • [pencil]M = x[x is a pencil in M] • Both type <e,t> • Note: I’m taking the same shortcut (or, “being equally sloppy”) here as in the F2 definitions, skipping the “F(yellow)” step. N Adj N yellow pencil**Modification**• 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: • Predicate modification[]M = x[(x) (x)] N Adj N yellow pencil**Modification**• Thus: the whole thing winds up with a semantic value of: • z[[yellow]M(z) [pencil]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] • Predicate modification[]M = z[(z) (z)] • “Alphabetic variants”: z[P(z)]= x[P(x)] N Adj N yellow pencil**Predicate Modification**• So, it turns out we need a third rule of interpretation (for where functional application cannot apply): • Functional application:[ga b ]M = [b]M ( [a]M ) or [a]M ( [b]M ) whichever is defined • Pass-Up:[ba]M = [a]M • Predicate modification:[]M = z[(z) (z)]**Stampy is a tall elephant**• 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. • Assume: • [elephant]M = x[x is an elephant in M] • Type <e,t> N Adj N tall elephant**Stampy is a tall elephant**• [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 (<e,t>) property: • x[x is tall compared to members of {y:[elephant]M(y)}] • x[x is tall compared to the set of elephants in M] • What type is tall then? • Takes <e,t>, returns <e,t>. N Adj N tall elephant**Different mechanisms?**• 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? • [yellow]M = P[x[x is yellow P(x)]] • We could. It works just as well. However, we will need PM elsewhere too: • Stampy is an elephant (that) Bart won. N Adj N tall elephant**Even harder cases**• Consider an adjective like fake: • Fake gun • How might we describe the semantics of fake? • Is it intersective? • Can we model it the same way we modeled tall?**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? • We seem to get the right meaning if we simply ignoreis and a. • Then it comes out just like Stampy swims. • 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.**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. • 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).**Cf. the**• The article the, on the other hand, does seem to have a contribution to the meaning. • The tall elephant 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. • The seems to “convert” a property into an individual. How?**The, definite article**• What the seems to do is pick some individual that has the property. • Which one? • Well, if you use the, you seem to assume that there is some salient individual with the property that you can pick. • Specifically, thepresupposes that there is a unique and salient individual.**The elephant**• So, how could we model the? • First, we need to get it to be generated by the syntax. • Considerations: • The (tall) (yellow) elephant • *The an elephant • *Tall the elephant • 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 Det and a N produces something different. DP Det N the elephant**The elephant**• Thus: • Det the, a(n) • DP Det N • And to resolve this with the rest of the grammar • DP N • DP Bond, Loren, … • (replacing N Bond, Loren, …) • S DP VP • (replacing S N VP) • VP Vt DP • (replacing S N VP) DP Det N Adj N the yellow elephant**The elephant**• Now, (yellow) elephant was a property, <e,t>, true/false of individuals. • And the (yellow) elephant is an individual (some salient, unique individual with the property (yellow) elephant). • So, the takes a property (<e,t>) and returns an individual (<e>). • <<e,t>,e> DP Det N Adj N the yellow elephant**The elephant**• So, the: • [the]M = P[x such that P(x)] • Presupposes there is a unique x to choose, that is familiar. • There are additional complexities, but this will do for the moment. DP Det N Adj N the yellow elephant**Revisiting indefinites**• Actually, a(n) can serve this function as well: • A tall elephant is hungry. • 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.**Three kinds of indefinites**• In fact, there seem to be at least three kinds of indefinite noun phrase. • An elephant is hungry • …I can tell from the noise. (nonspecific) • …Guess which one (specific) • …and lives in hot climates (generic/kind) • And maybe a fourth, though this might be also simply a version of the first one. • Stampy is an elephant • We’ll get into this further at the same time as we talk about Every elephant.**Modification by relative clauses**• The elephant that I saw • [that I saw] acts here like an adjective. • It’s true of things that I saw, and combines intersectively with elephant. • Restrictive relative • 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. • Non-restrictive relative**Relative clauses**• The form of a relative clause is: • {that/which/who/Ø} S • Where S is “missing” something. • The dog (who/that) I saw _ • The dog which/that _ bit me • 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 I saw x] • More on how we can arrive at this compositionally later****