Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

Semantics Circle: Anaphora and Simplification

Speaker Patrick Elliott
Affiliaton(s) Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Date 01.12.2022, 12:30-14:15
Time 12:30 o'clock
Venue ZAS seminar room 403 and Zoom (see link below)


In the literature on exhaustification, inferences associated with complex sentences are derived by strengthening relative to simpler alternatives. Consider a disjunctive sentence of the form [p or q] - much recent work makes crucial use of so-called domain alternatives p and q. A prominent example is the case of free choice: in order to explain the fact that [may p or q] implies may p and may q, exhaustification accounts strengthen the meaning of the modalized disjunction relative to alternatives [may p] and [may q] (see, e.g., Bar-Lev and Fox 2020). In this talk, we identify a fundamental problem for accounts of such simplification-based inferences: a discourse-anaphoric dependency is possible between the simpler alternatives, as in the example "You may include no appendix, or typeset it in Palatino". The challenge is how to derive the inference you may include an appendix typeset in Palatino, given that the second disjunct is an open sentence. As a proof of concept, we account for this inference by extending Goldstein's semantic account of free choice within the framework of Elliott's (2022) Bilateral Update Semantics. Ultimately, we'll show that this problem is much more general, and arises for many such simplification-based inferences, such as distributive inferences (Crnič et al, 2015), and simplification of disjunctive antecedents in conditionals (Fine, 1975). 

Zoom-Link for online participationhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/81665833795 (please use your full name in Zoom, since there will be entrance control)