Semantics and Pragmatics <p>Semantics and Pragmatics, founded in 2007 and first published in 2008, is a Diamond Open Access journal published by the Linguistic Society of America.</p> en-US <p>Articles appearing in Semantics and Pragmatics are published under an author agreement with the <a href="">Linguistic Society of America</a> and are made available to readers under a <a href="">Creative Commons Attribution License</a>.</p> (Louise McNally & Kjell Johan Sæbø) (Kai von Fintel) Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:27:11 -0800 OJS 60 Alternatives and attention in language and reasoning: A reply to Mascarenhas & Picat 2019 In this paper, we employ an experimental paradigm using insights from the psychology of reasoning to investigate the question whether certain modals generate and draw attention to alternatives. The article extends and builds on the methodology and findings of Mascarenhas &amp; Picat 2019. Based on experimental results, they argue that the English epistemic modal <i>might</i> raises alternatives. We apply the same methodology to the English modal <i>allowed to</i> to test different hypotheses regarding the involvement of alternatives in deontic modality. We find commonalities and differences between the two modals we tested. We discuss theoretical consequences for existing semantic analyses of these modals, and argue that reasoning tasks can serve as a diagnostic tool to discover which natural language expressions involve alternatives. EARLY ACCESS Nadine Bade, Léo Picat, WooJin Chung, Salvador Mascarenhas Copyright (c) 2022 Nadine Bade, Léo Picat, WooJin Chung, Salvador Mascarenhas Wed, 26 Jan 2022 00:00:00 -0800 Varieties of Hurford disjunctions Hurford 1974 famously observed that a disjunction is generally infelicitous if one of the disjuncts entails the other. Several accounts of Hurford’s observation have been put forward in the literature, grounding the infelicity of the so-called “Hurford disjunctions” into various principles of language use. In this article, we investigate three variants of Hurford’s original cases and we show that none of the major explanatory approaches to “Hurford disjunctions” captures all at once Hurford’s original cases and our novel variants. We discuss the challenges raised by our data for existing approaches to informational oddness and, more broadly, for the descriptive generalization originally proposed by Hurford. EARLY ACCESS Paul Marty, Jacopo Romoli Copyright (c) 2022 Paul Pierre Marty, Jacopo Romoli Mon, 21 Feb 2022 00:00:00 -0800 “More is up” for domain restriction in ASL This paper investigates a form-meaning mapping in American Sign Language (ASL) whereby pronouns, verbs, and quantifiers can be produced progressively higher in signing space to signal a widening of their contextually supplied domains. We show that this is not a gesture-like expression of surprise, uncertainty, or quantity, and is also not equivalent to well-studied domain-widened quantifiers in spoken language, but rather involves reference via plural pronouns in ASL. When appearing with verbs these pronouns are incorporated as arguments and when appearing with quantifiers as a partitive-like domain restriction. In addition, we show that the use of continuous space along the height dimension in ASL allows for gradient interpretations of domain widening and narrowing. We contrast the grammatical functions of this use of height in sign languages with superficially similar gesture and prosody accompanying spoken language. EARLY ACCESS Kathryn Davidson, Deanna Gagne Copyright (c) 2022 Kathryn Davidson, Deanna Gagne Wed, 19 Jan 2022 00:00:00 -0800 Referential transparency as the proper treatment for quantification An important motivation for Montague’s work on quantification (Montague 1974) was to achieve uniformity with respect to referential and quantificational subjects. This was attained by type raising all NPs to denote sets of sets (indeed there are claims that such a move is theoretically necessary) and by giving up a subject–predicate semantics where the verbal predicate predicates of the nominal argument. In this paper we argue for essentially the opposite move whereby all predication is genuine predication and involves arguments -- <i>witnesses</i> of type <i>individual</i> or <i>set of individuals</i> (for plurals). We argue that such an approach is crucial if one is to capture a variety of fundamentally important phenomena involving anaphora, clarification interaction, and speech-gesture cross-references associated with the use of quantificational noun phrases in dialogue, and to explicate several recent key psycholinguistic results on quantifier processing -- all features of an NP semantics which give rise to what we call “Referential Transparency”. The discussion is couched in a new set-denotational framework for plural count nouns, namely <i>sets of ordered set bipartitions</i>. We argue that quantification happens entirely within the noun phrase and involves ref(erence)sets, comp(lement)sets, and max(imal)sets. As a corollary of this denotational foundation, the semantic conservativity universal is an immediate consequence and the range of quantifier denotations is significantly reduced. In addition to collecting empirical motivation for quantification from Referential Transparency Theory and to developing a count noun semantics, a theoretically grounded explanation for complement set anaphora is given. EARLY ACCESS Andy Lücking, Jonathan Ginzburg Copyright (c) 2022 Andy Lücking, Jonathan Ginzburg Tue, 19 Apr 2022 00:00:00 -0700 Logic and conversation: The case of free choice Free choice inferences represent a much discussed case of a divergence between logic and language (Kamp 1973, Zimmermann 2000). Grice influentially argued that the assumption that such divergence does in fact exist is a mistake originating “from inadequate attention to the nature and importance of the conditions governing conversation” (Grice 1989: 24). I will first show that when applied to free choice phenomena, the standard implementation of Grice’s view, representing semantics and pragmatics as two separate components, is empirically inadequate. I will then propose a different account: a bilateral state-based modal logic modelling next to literal meanings also pragmatic factors and the additional inferences that arise from their interaction. The pragmatic factor I will consider connects to a tendency of language users to neglect empty configurations when engaging in linguistic interpretation. The non-emptiness atom (ne) from team semantics provides a perspicuous way to formally represent this tendency and to rigorously study its impact on interpretation. In terms of ne, I will define a pragmatic enrichment function and show that, in interaction with disjunction occurring in positive contexts and only in these cases, pragmatic enrichment yields non-trivial effects including predicting free choice inferences and their cancellation under negation. The latter result relies on the adopted bilateralism, where each connective comes with an assertion and a rejection condition and negation is defined in terms of the latter notion. EARLY ACCESS Maria Aloni Copyright (c) 2022 Maria Aloni Thu, 02 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0700 Keep <i>only</i> strong <p>While Horn (1969) proposed that [[only](p) presupposes that the prejacent p is true, von Fintel &amp; Iatridou (2007) showed that the expected prejacent inference is not observed when a necessity modal occurs in the scope of <em>only</em>: [[only](□p) may convey that p is <em>possible</em>, rather than <em>necessary</em>. What is the mechanism behind the surprisingly weak inference? The approach in von Fintel &amp;amp; Iatridou 2007 is to revise the analysis of <em>only</em> itself to weaken its contribution. In this paper, however, we argue that Horn’s <em>only</em> is correct after all, and introduce a source of weakening separate from <em>only</em>. In particular, in von Fintel &amp;amp; Iatridou’s modal environment, a phonetically null operator (AT LEAST; Crnic̆ 2011, Schwarz 2005) occurs in the scope of <em>only</em> to weaken the presupposed prejacent. Much recent attention has been paid to covert operators which <em>strengthen</em> meaning, in particular a covert EXH with a meaning similar to <em>only</em> (e.g. Chierchia 2006, Fox 2007, Chierchia et al. 2012). A key consequence of our analysis is that natural language incorporates a covert weakening operator, as well.</p> <p>EARLY ACCESS</p> Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Aron Hirsch Copyright (c) 2022 Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Aron Hirsch Fri, 24 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0700