The Semantics of RĀ: Let s be more specific! Masoud Jasbi Stanford University

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The Semantics of RĀ: Let s be more specific! Masoud Jasbi Stanford University 1 Snapshot Definiteness = existence presup + uniqueness presup. 2 Snapshot Definiteness = existence presup + uniqueness presup.
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The Semantics of RĀ: Let s be more specific! Masoud Jasbi Stanford University 1 Snapshot Definiteness = existence presup + uniqueness presup. 2 Snapshot Definiteness = existence presup + uniqueness presup. In Farsi, Rā provides the existence presupposition. 2 Snapshot Definiteness = existence presup + uniqueness presup. In Farsi, Rā provides the existence presupposition. The uniqueness presupposition is provided by the absence of indefinite markers. 2 Snapshot Definiteness = existence presup + uniqueness presup. In Farsi, Rā provides the existence presupposition. The uniqueness presupposition is provided by the absence of indefinite markers. Rā s existence presupposition is compatible with indefinites. 2 Previously on RĀ... Semantic Accounts of RĀ 1. Specific Epistemic Scopal (Karimi, 1990) 2. Definite (Mahootian, 1997), among others 3. Existentially Presupposed Topical (secondary) (Dabir-Moghaddam, 1992; Dalrymple and Nikolaeva, 2011) Identifiable (Shokouhi and Kipka, 2003) Partitively Specific (Karimi, 1999, 2003) Existentially Presupposed (Ghomeshi, 1996) 3 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. 4 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. 4 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. 4 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. 4 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. Show the problems with the definiteness hypothesis. 4 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. Show the problems with the definiteness hypothesis. Provide more data for the presuppositional hypothesis. 4 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. Show the problems with the definiteness hypothesis. Provide more data for the presuppositional hypothesis. Provide a compositional account of definites and simple indefinites. 4 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. Show the problems with the definiteness hypothesis. Provide more data for the presuppositional hypothesis. Provide a compositional account of definites and simple indefinites. 5 Defining the Primitives Definition A nominal implies existence if it denotes a nonempty set ( NP 1). 6 Defining the Primitives Definition A nominal implies existence if it denotes a nonempty set ( NP 1). Definition A nominal implies uniqueness if it denotes a singleton set ( NP = 1). 6 Defining the Primitives Definition A nominal implies existence if it denotes a nonempty set ( NP 1). Definition A nominal implies uniqueness if it denotes a singleton set ( NP = 1). Definition common ground is the mutually recognized shared information between the speaker(s) and the addressee(s). (Stalnaker, 1978) 6 Defining the Primitives Definition A nominal implies existence if it denotes a nonempty set ( NP 1). Definition A nominal implies uniqueness if it denotes a singleton set ( NP = 1). Definition common ground is the mutually recognized shared information between the speaker(s) and the addressee(s). (Stalnaker, 1978) Definition An implication is presuppositional if it is entailed or implied by the common ground. 6 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. Show the problems with the definiteness hypothesis. Provide more data for the presuppositional hypothesis. Provide a compositional account of definites and simple indefinites. 7 Defining The Accounts of Rā Definition A nominal that implies the existence and uniqueness of its descriptive content is specific. 8 Defining The Accounts of Rā Definition A nominal that implies the existence and uniqueness of its descriptive content is specific. Definition A nominal that presupposes the existence and uniqueness of its descriptive content is definite. (Russell, 1905; Strawson, 1950) 8 Defining The Accounts of Rā Definition A nominal that implies the existence and uniqueness of its descriptive content is specific. Definition A nominal that presupposes the existence and uniqueness of its descriptive content is definite. (Russell, 1905; Strawson, 1950) Definition A nominal that presupposes the existence of its descriptive content is existentially presupposed. 8 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. Show the problems with the definiteness hypothesis. Provide more data for the presuppositional hypothesis. Provide a compositional account of definites and simple indefinites. 9 Hypothesis Space 10 Hypothesis Space Which hypothesis best covers the rā data? 10 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. Show the problems with the definiteness hypothesis. Provide more data for the presuppositional hypothesis. Provide a compositional account of definites and simple indefinites. 11 Types of Specificity (Farkas, 1994) Specific := Unique, fixed referent. 12 Types of Specificity (Farkas, 1994) Specific := Unique, fixed referent. 1. Epistemic: the speaker has a fixed referent in mind. (Fodor and Sag, 1982) 2. Scopal: the referent is fixed with respect to other semantic operators (wide scope). 12 Types of Specificity (Farkas, 1994) Specific := Unique, fixed referent. 1. Epistemic: the speaker has a fixed referent in mind. (Fodor and Sag, 1982) 2. Scopal: the referent is fixed with respect to other semantic operators (wide scope). Neither work for rā. 12 Epistemic Specificity Rā appears on nominals that are not epistemically specific. (Rā / Epistemically Specific) 13 Epistemic Specificity Rā appears on nominals that are not epistemically specific. (Rā / Epistemically Specific) Example (1) Context: My three-year-old cousin takes my phone and accidentally deletes a picture. I see that my pics are 99 instead of 100 but I don t know which picture is deleted: ne-mi-dun-am NEG-MI-know-1.SG kodum which aks- o pic-om in bache pāk karde this kid clean do.pst.3.sg I don t know which picture this kid has deleted. 13 Epistemic Specificity Rā appears on nominals that are not epistemically specific. (Rā / Epistemically Specific) Example (2) Context: There are some plates on the table. ye boshqāb- o ID plate-om be-de give Give me a plate! 14 Epistemic Specificity Epistemically specific referents can appear without Rā. (Epistemically Specific / Rā) 15 Epistemic Specificity Epistemically specific referents can appear without Rā. (Epistemically Specific / Rā) Example (3) diruz ye xune did-im tu Fereshteh yesterday ID house see.pst-3.pl in Fereshteh We saw a house in Fereshteh yesterday. 15 Scopal Specificity Rā appears on nominals that are not scopally specific (are not wide scope). (Rā / Scopally Specific) 16 Scopal Specificity Rā appears on nominals that are not scopally specific (are not wide scope). (Rā / Scopally Specific) Example (4) Context: Dance Class; Equal number of girls and boys. Boys have to choose partners. har pesar-i ye doxtar- o each boy-ic ID girl-om entexāb choose Every boy chose a girl. ( ) kard do.pst-3.pl 16 Scopal Specificity Rā appears on nominals that are not scopally specific (are not wide scope). (Rā / Scopally Specific) Example (5) Context: Maryam has three job offers. She has to pick one by tomorrow. mi-xād ye kār- o tā fardā qabul kon-e vali MI-want3.SG ID job-om until tomorrow accept do.pst-3.pl but hanu ne-mi-dun-e kodum-o yet NEG-MI-know-3.SG which-om She wants to accept a job by tomorrow but she still doesn t know which (want ) 17 Scopal Specificity Scopally specific referents can appear without Rā. (Scopally Specific / Rā) Example (6) Context: A Boring Restaurant where everyone always orders burgers. The waiter says: inja hame hamishe ye qazā sefāresh midan here each boy-ic ID girl choose do.pst-3.pl Everyone always orders the same food here. ( ) 18 Scopal Specificity Generally, hard to find a correlation between scope and object marking. Example (7) Context: Dance Class. hame-ye pesar-ā ye doxtar- o all-ez boy-pl ID girl-om dust dār-an friend have.pst-3.pl All the boys love some girl. ( ) There is a girl that all the boys love. ( ) 19 Hypothesis Space 20 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. Show the problems with the definiteness hypothesis. Provide more data for the presuppositional hypothesis. Provide a compositional account of definites and simple indefinites. 21 Definiteness Example (8) Context E + U +: There is a room. Ali goes in. There is a mouse. 22 Definiteness Example (8) Context E + U +: There is a room. Ali goes in. There is a mouse. a. mush- o mi-bin-e mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees the mouse. b. # ye mush- o mi-bin-e ID mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. 22 Definiteness Example (8) Context E + U +: There is a room. Ali goes in. There is a mouse. a. mush- o mi-bin-e mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees the mouse. b. # ye mush- o mi-bin-e ID mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. ø-np-rā presupposes uniqueness. 22 Definiteness Example (9) Context E + U : There is a room. Ali goes in. There are two mice. 23 Definiteness Example (9) Context E + U : There is a room. Ali goes in. There are two mice. a. # mush- o mi-bin-e mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees the mouse. b. ye mush- o mi-bin-e ID mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. 23 Definiteness Example (9) Context E + U : There is a room. Ali goes in. There are two mice. a. # mush- o mi-bin-e mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees the mouse. b. ye mush- o mi-bin-e ID mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. ø-np-rā presupposes uniqueness. ye-np-rā does not presuppose uniqueness. 23 Definiteness Example (9) Context E + U : There is a room. Ali goes in. There are two mice. a. # mush- o mi-bin-e mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees the mouse. b. ye mush- o mi-bin-e ID mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. ø-np-rā presupposes uniqueness. ye-np-rā does not presuppose uniqueness. Since definites presuppose existence AND uniqueness, rā cannot be a definiteness marker. 23 Definiteness Example (9) Context E + U : There is a room. Ali goes in. There are two mice. a. # mush- o mi-bin-e mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees the mouse. b. ye mush- o mi-bin-e ID mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. ø-np-rā presupposes uniqueness. ye-np-rā does not presuppose uniqueness. Since definites presuppose existence AND uniqueness, rā cannot be a definiteness marker. Rā can presuppose existence and be half of definiteness! 23 Hypothesis Space 24 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. Show the problems with the definiteness hypothesis. Provide more data for the presuppositional hypothesis. Provide a compositional account of definites and simple indefinites. 25 Presupposed Existence Example Context E + U : There is a room. Ali goes in. There are two mice. 26 Presupposed Existence Example Context E + U : There is a room. Ali goes in. There are two mice. (10) a. # ye mush mi-bin-e ID mouse MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. b. ye mush- o mi-bin-e ID mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. 26 Presupposed Existence Example Context E U : There is a room. Ali goes in. 27 Presupposed Existence Example Context E U : There is a room. Ali goes in. (11) a. ye mush mi-bin-e ID mouse MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. b. # ye mush- o mi-bin-e ID mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. 27 Presupposed Existence Example Context E U : There is a room. Ali goes in. (11) a. ye mush mi-bin-e ID mouse MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. b. # ye mush- o mi-bin-e ID mouse-om MI-see-3.SG He sees a mouse. rā presupposes the existence of its descriptive content. 27 Prediction: Denying the Existence Explicitly denying the existence presupposition results in infelicity. 28 Prediction: Denying the Existence Explicitly denying the existence presupposition results in infelicity. Example (12) Ali emruz kār-i na-dāsht Ali today work-ic NEG-have.PST na-dād NEG-give.PST.3SG vāse for hamin this kār-i work-ic anjām finish Today Ali didn t have anything to do so he didn t do anything. 28 Prediction: Denying the Existence Explicitly denying the existence presupposition results in infelicity. Example (13) # Ali emruz kār-i na-dāsht Ali today work-ic NEG-have.PST anjām na-dād finish NEG-give.3SG vāse for hamin this kār-i- ro work-ic-om Today Ali didn t have anything to do so he didn t do anything. 29 Prediction: Denying the Existence Explicitly denying the existence presupposition results in infelicity. Example (14) Ali emruz Ali today na-dād NEG-give.3SG xeyli very kār dāsht vali kār-i- ro anjām work have.pst but work-ic-om finish Ali had a lot of work to do but he didn t do any of them. 30 Prediction: Proper Names Example (15) a. Ali Saburi mi-shnās-i? Ali Saburi MI-know-2SG Do you know anyone named Ali Saburi? b. Ali Saburi- ro mi-shnās-i? Ali Saburi-OM MI-know-2SG Do you know Ali Saburi? 31 To-Do s! Define some semantic primitives: existence, uniqueness, and common ground. Define specific, definite, and existentially presupposed using the primitives. Map the hypothesis space. Show the problems with the specificity hypothesis. Show the problems with the definiteness hypothesis. Provide more data for the presuppositional hypothesis. Provide a compositional account of definites and simple indefinites. 32 Lexical Entry for Rā rā λp[λx[ [ P 1] P(x)]] 33 Deriving a Definite eat(ιx[pear(x)])(sp) t sp e λy[eat(ιx[pear(x)])(y)] et man ιx[pear(x)] e iota λx[ [ pear 1] pear(x)] et λxλy[eat(x)(y)] e,et xordam λx[pear(x)] et λp[λx[ [ P 1] P(x)]] et,et golābi ro 34 Deriving a Rā-marked Indefinite λq[ x[ [ pear 1] pear(x) Q(x)]] et,t λpλq[ x[p(x) Q(x)]] et, et,t λx[ [ pear 1] pear(x)] et ye pear et λp[λx[ [ P 1] P(x)]] et,et golābi ro 35 Deriving a Rā-marked Indefinite λq[ x[ [ pear 1] pear(x) Q(x)]] et,t λxλy[eat(x)(y)] e,et λpλq[ x[p(x) Q(x)]] et, et,t λx[ [ pear 1] pear(x)] et xordam ye pear et λp[λx[ [ P 1] P(x)]] et,et golābi ro 36 Deriving a Rā-marked Indefinite x[ [ pear 1] pear(x) eat(x)(sp)(x)] t λq[ x[ [ pear 1] pear(x) Q(x)]] et,t λt[eat(t)(sp)] et λpλq[ x[p(x) Q(x)]] et, et,t λx[ [ pear 1] pear(x)] et λt eat(t)(sp) t ye pear et λp[λx[ [ P 1] P(x)]] et,et sp e λy[eat(t)(y)] et golābi ro man t e λxλy[eat(x)(y)] e,et xordam 37 Conclusion Conclusion The semantic contribution of rā is best described as an existential presupposition. To avoid confusion, it might be better to not use the term specificity for rā. Rā s existence presupposition provides half of definiteness. The other half is provided by the absence of indefinite marking. Rā s existence presupposition is compatible with indefinites. 38 Thank You! Special thanks to: Cleo Condoravdi for continued help and support with this project. James Collins, Paul Kiparsky, Eve Clark, and Chris Potts. 39 NP or DP? Example (16) a. ye mard-o yā zan-o barā in kār moarefi kon-id ID man-om or woman-om for this job introduce Introduce a man or a woman for this job. do-2.pl 40 References References Dabir-Moghaddam, M. (1992). On the (in) dependence of syntax and pragmatics: Evidence from the postposition-ra in persian. In Cooperating with Written Texts: The Pragmatics and Comprehension of Written Texts, pages Mouton de Gruyter. Dalrymple, M. and Nikolaeva, I. (2011). Objects and information structure, volume 131. Cambridge University Press. Enc, M. (1991). The semantics of specificity. Linguistic Inquiry, 22(1):pp Farkas, D. F. (1994). Specificity and scope. In L. Nash and G. Tsoulas (eds), Langues et Grammaire 1. Citeseer. Fodor, J. D. and Sag, I. A. (1982). Referential and quantificational indefinites. Linguistics and philosophy, 5(3): Ghomeshi, J. (1996). PROJECTION AND INFLECTION: A STUDY OF PERSIAN PHRASE STRUCTURE. PhD thesis, University of Toronto. 41
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