LING 202 Exam Study Guide
LING 202 Exam Study Guide LING 202
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Date Created: 04/06/16
LING 202 3/16 – Semantics: What it all Means Uttering a sentence = making a move in a game 1. Making a move has a certain role with respect to the rest of the game 2. Partly governed by conventions or rules but some room for creativity is often allowed A lot about sentence meaning is outside the bounds of linguistics à semantics covers linguistic meaning 1. This includes sentence relations: if q is true, will p be true? False? Undetermined? Entailment: 1. Sentence S1 entails S2 just in case of any possible situation where (if and only if) S1 is true, S2 is also true a. In making these judgments, we hold the context fixed à a name refers to the same thing in S1 as it does in S2 b. This relation just involves the possible situations in which the sentences are true, and doesn’t involve any more complicated considerations about whether the two sentences are relevant to each other in any other ways 2. Entailment only refers to truth relation, not relevance, so… a. I have a dog b. I have an obedient dog c. Hydrogen has an atomic number of 1 3. 2 entails 1, 1 does not entail 2, and 3 (being universally true) is entailed by both Compositional semantics: nouns 1. Meaning of sentence elements a. The meaning of a proper noun is the real-‐‑world person/thing to which it refers [[Suzy]] = Suzy b. A verb is placing its subject into a set. [[swim]] puts its subject in the set of swimmers 2. Compositionally, we can put these together a. [[Suzy swims]] is true when Suzy is in the set of swimmers b. [[DP T’]] is true when [[DP]] is in the set [[T’]] 3. We can use entailment to continue this line of reasoning a. [[swims peacefully]] is a subset of [[swims]] b. “Suzanne swims peacefully” entails “Suzanne swims” c. Of a proper-‐‑name DP and two VPs T’1 and T’2, if T’1 is a subject of T’2, then [DP T’1] is a subset of [DP T’2] i. The VP [[swims]] is a subset of [[swims]] or [[does not swim]], therefore [Suzanne swims] entails [Suzanne swims or does not swim] 4. Although proper-‐‑noun DPs have real-‐‑world correlates, many DPs are relations between sets [[NP]] and [[T’]] a. [No NP T’] is true iff (if and only if) nothing in [[NP]] is also in [[T’]] b. [Every NP T’] is true iff [[NP]] is a subset of [[T’]] c. [The NP T’] is true iff there is a particular thing (determined according to context) in [[NP]], and that thing is also in [[T’]] d. [Most NP T’] is true iff the set of things in both [[NP]] and [[T’]] is larger than the set of things that are in [[NP]] but not in [[T’]] e. [Less than x NP T’] is true iff the set of things in both [[NP]] and [[T’]] has <x elements Adjectives: LING 202 5. Some simple-‐‑to-‐‑compute adjectives, such as nationalities are intersectional a. [[French singers]] is the intersection of sets [[French]] and [[singers]] b. An adjective A (and the AP it forms) is intersective if [every [AP NP] T’] means that the set of things that are in both [[AP]] and [[NP]] is a subset of [[T’]] c. Multiple intersections: “Conservative female French singers.” 6. Other adjectives, e.g. sizes, are scalar, only making sense within groups a. Compare “a small elephant” vs. “a big spider” 7. Negative adjectives, too, can only be understood in relation to their NPs a. “a fake diamond” only tells you about “fakeness” vis-‐‑à-‐‑vis “diamondness” 8. Conjectural adjectives (“ostensible,” “alleged,” “possible”), while speaking more to opinions/beliefs of the speaker, work the same way, but even less understandable outside of their NPs Review: 1. To determine the truth condition of a sentence (i.e. whether it’s true or false), we compile the words of the sentence, piece-‐‑by-‐‑piece a. [[Proper Noun]] = its referent in the “real” world b. [[N]], [[V]], or [[intersectional A]] = the group of relevant referents (i.e. the things they refer to) c. [[scalar, negative, conjectural A]] = the referents for that A within a given [[NP]] d. [[D]] determine relationships between NP and T’ (which is what we would call VP in our syntax) 3/21 – Semantic Perspectives on Determiners etc. Conservativity in Ds 1. We saw many different determiners, but all determiners (in all languages), from “every” to “no” refer explicitly to their NPs à they are conservative a. A D is conservative whenever [D N] is a DP in a sentence [D N T’], the sentence [D N T’] entails and is entailed by [D N is a N/are Ns that T’] b. They’re “conserving” the number of referents 2. Stabler’s hypothetical D “aln” as in “aln” platypuses are ordinary things” used a non-‐‑conservative D which would have referents outside of the relevant [[NP]] Pronouns 1. Recall our PSRs for DPs: a. DP à Proper noun b. DP à D NP c. DP à Pronoun 2. We’ll focus on the last one (DP à Pronoun) 3. Its meaning can be derived alinguistically, in which case it is a referential pronoun: a. (1) Every cowboy knows Rusty’s lonely. b. (1’) Every cowboy knows he’s lonely. 4. But, out of context, 1’ could have another meaning, indicated with co-‐‑indexing below: a. (2) Every cowboy knowsi he’s loneli 5. Not only are the pronoun and the DP co-‐‑indexed (assigned the same referent), the pronoun DP is bound by the earlier DP 6. The following sentences show some ways in which pronoun DPs cannot be indexed/bound (co-‐‑ indexing is ungrammatical) LING 202 a. * (3) Every cowboy rides alone. He’s lonely. i i i. “He” here cannot refer to “every cowboy” ii. A DP cannot bind a pronoun DP in another sentence à the second sentence employs a referential, not bound, pronoun iii. Co-‐‑referents are individualized (not syntactic – depend on the speaker and what is on their mind) b. * (4) He i knows every cowboy is loiely. i. The bound pronoun must be at a “lower” level of syntactic structure, i.e. in the syntax tree c. * (5) Every cowboy and i every cattle rustler knows thjt he’s lonely. j i. The binding DP must be at a “higher” level of syntactic structure 7. To be precise about “higher” and “lower” syntactic structure, we introduce: a. DP c-‐1 ands (transitive verb) DP if either DP 2 and DP are 1isters, or 2 if a sister of the DP includes DP 1 2 8. We can now state our precise binding requirement: a. An antecedent (preceding, co-‐‑indexed element) must c-‐‑command a pronoun in order to bind it (be interpreted as referring to it) b. Will this notion contribute to our understanding of language? Can we explain what we could not explain before? i. An antecedent must c-‐‑command a pronoun in order to bind it. 1. (2) Every cowboy knows i he’s lonely i a. Every cowboy is a DP directly connected to a sentence 2. * (3) Every cowboy ridesi alone. He’s lonelyi 3. * (4) He knows that every cowboy is loiely. a. “Every cowboy” doesn’t c-‐‑command “he” 4. * (5) Every cowboy and i every cattle rustler knows thjt he’s lonely. j a. Ungrammatical with this co-‐‑reference à referents are cousins to the pronoun b. Only allowed to go up one node before starting to go down the tree 9. Pronouns of the type we’ve been looking at (“him,” “her,” it,” and “them”) can be contrasted with reflexive pronouns (“himself,” “herself,” “itself,” “themselves”) a. * (6) Every First Lady writes about her. i i i. Bad because of the binding principle (B): 1. (B) A non-‐‑reflexive pronoun cannot be bound in the smallest S that contains it b. (7) Every First Lady writesi about herself. i i. Good because of the binding principle (A): 1. (A) A reflexive pronoun must be bound (i.e. must have a c-‐‑commanding antecedent) in the smallest (the lowest syntactic level) S that contains it c. (8) Every Senator knew ithat the president was writing jabout him i. i. Good because of binding principle (B): 1. (B) A non-‐‑reflexive pronoun cannot be bound in the smallest S that contains it d. * (9) Every Senator knew i that the president was writing j about himself i. i. Bad because of the binding principle (A): 1. (A) A reflexive pronoun must be bound (i.e. must have a c-‐‑commanding antecedent) in the smallest (the lowest syntactic level) S that contains it Reference and movement: LING 202 1. (10) Felicia loves pictures of herself. i i 2. (11) Which picture of herself does Feiicia love most? i 3. (12) I know which picture of herself Felicia lovis most. i 4. Analysis: a. In (10), the reflexive pronoun is bound in the smallest S, but in (11) and (12) (on the surface), the proper noun does not c-‐‑command the pronoun b. Before the DP “which picture of herself” moved to the position below CP, it was c-‐‑ commanded c. This suggests that c-‐‑commanding requirements apply before movement Anna iworries that no one likes her i
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