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Lecture 16 Ling 442
exercises 1. What is the difference between an event sentence and a state sentence in a discourse context? E. g. (a) and (b) a. Mary smiled. b. Mary was smiling. 2. What are exceptions to the “rule” established in 1.
Exercises part 2 • For each bare plural, say whether it receives an existential reading or a universal reading (or something else) (1)TYPHOONS arise in this part of the Pacific. (2)Typhoons arise in THIS part of the Pacific. (3)Dogs don’t like cats. (4)Dogs are popular pets.
Reichenbach’s system again • Past: R, E ___ S • Past perfect: E __ R __ S • Present: E, R, S are simultaneous • Present perfect: E is in the past, but R = S. E ___ R, S Syntax-semantics interface: tense determines the order between S and R, the perfect determine the order between E and R.
The present perfect in a truthconditional framework • One possible way of formalizing the meaning of the present perfect: Mary has lost her wallet is true iff Mary loses her wallet at some (relatively recent) past time and its result state persists until now. (one possibility) Alternative (Dowty 1979): Mary’s losing her wallet is located within an “extended now”.
The Imperfective Paradox (Progressive form) • The fact that John is building a house does not entail John will have built a house: The imperfective paradox (Dowty) • A possible solution: t, w • PROG S = true iff in all “inertia worlds w 1” for
Inertia worlds • Those worlds that are identical to the actual world up to the time in question (i. e. t in our example), and in which the future course of events after this time develops in ways most compatible with the past course of events. (i. e. Those worlds in which there are no “surprises”. ) Dowty (1979)
Thematic roles • Semantic roles associated with DP positions (or PP positions according to Kearns, e. g. into the pocket). • Note that they are different from grammatical relations. For example, grammatical relations (Subject, Object) are generally defined in structural terms. They are syntactic concepts. • Subject: not always an agent • Object: not always a patient (someone who receives an action)
Thematic roles • Often reflect the Aktionsart of the verb that requires them. • Semanticists ask if it is possible to characterize them in more precise terms (than in terms of informal “features”)
Typical agentive transitive verbs • Subject: agent (someone who initiates an action) • Object: patient (someone/thing that receives an action) • hit, pat, kick, smash, punch, assault
Non-typical transitive verbs • psych-verbs: annoy, admire, etc. Those that involve experiencer. admire: experiencer-subject, stimulus-object annoy: stimulus-subject, experiencer-object A possible syntactic consequence of this type of difference: 1. The picture of himself annoys John. 2. The student of himself assaulted John.
A possible formalization (Kearns) • Stative: represented by primitive predicates describing states • Achievements: represented by BECOME DP Adj (DP’s “becoming” Adj) • Accomplishment: represented by DP CAUSE S (or S 1 CAUSE S 2) (DP “causes” S or S 1 “causes” S 2)
Davidson and events • Davidson proposed an event-based account of “action (or event)” sentences. 1. Jones buttered the toast with a knife in the bathroom at midnight. Idea: perhaps, an event sentence makes an existential claim about events. Evidence: anaphora 2. … He did it in the bathroom at midnight.
Davidson and events • Many event nouns: party, conference, meeting, colloquium, convention, accident, etc. • They seem to denote a set of things, but what are those “things”?