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  1. added 2019-01-04
    Dynamic Semantics.Karen S. Lewis - 2017 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
    This article focuses on foundational issues in dynamic and static semantics, specifically on what is conceptually at stake between the dynamic framework and the truth-conditional framework, and consequently what kinds of evidence support each framework. The article examines two questions. First, it explores the consequences of taking the proposition as central semantic notion as characteristic of static semantics, and argues that this is not as limiting in accounting for discourse dynamics as many think. Specifically, it explores what it means for (...)
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  2. added 2019-01-04
    Do We Need Dynamic Semantics?Karen S. Lewis - 2014 - In Alexis Burgess & Brett Sherman (eds.), Metasemantics: new essays on the foundations of meaning. Oxford University Press. pp. 231-258.
    I suspect the answer to the question in the title of this paper is no. But the scope of my paper will be considerably more limited: I will be concerned with whether certain types of considerations that are commonly cited in favor of dynamic semantics do in fact push us towards a dynamic semantics. Ultimately, I will argue that the evidence points to a dynamics of discourse that is best treated pragmatically, rather than as part of the semantics.
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  3. added 2018-09-06
    And and And*.Andreas Stokke - 2013 - In Laurence Goldstein (ed.), Brevity. Oxford, UK:
    This paper discusses a recent opposition between the influential dynamic semantic account of presupposition projection and a recent Gricean-pragmatic theory. The Gricean-pragmatic theory is partly motivated by an influential ob- jection to dynamic semantics based on the compatibility of dynamic systems with connectives and operators exhibiting deviant projection behaviors. By identifying key features of the role of prediction and explanation in semantics, it is argued that the objection is based on a mistaken conception of the involve- ment of empirical foundations (...)
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  4. added 2018-08-27
    Tense and the Logic of Change.Reinhard Muskens - 1995 - In Urs Egli, Peter Pause, Christoph Schwarze, Arnim von Stechow & Götz Wienold (eds.), Lexical Knowledge in the Organization of Language. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. pp. 147-183.
    In this paper it is shown how the DRT (Discourse Representation Theory) treatment of temporal anaphora can be formalized within a version of Montague Semantics that is based on classical type logic.
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  5. added 2018-04-13
    "Can Homo Erectus Put an End to Chomsky’s Mechanistic Metaphysics?" Review of Everett's *How Language Began: The Story of Humanity’s Greatest Invention*. [REVIEW]Gregory Michael Nixon - 2018 - Metascience 27 (2):297-300.
    This should be a watershed book as it effectively demolishes the unwarranted assumptions that support the work of the major linguist of our times, Noam Chomsky. Instead of regarding language as predominantly computation and only secondarily as communication, as Chomsky insists, Daniel Everett offers convincing evidence that language’s main function is to communicate shared meanings within a cultural community, which allows for social learning and cultural creativity. To demonstrate this, Everett attempts to trace the origin of symbol use, which he (...)
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  6. added 2018-03-15
    Updating Data Semantics.Anthony S. Gillies - forthcoming - Mind:fzy008.
    This paper has three main goals. First, to motivate a puzzle about how ignorance-expressing language like \expression{maybe} and \expression{if} interact: they (surprisingly) iterate and when they do they exhibit scopelessness. Second, to argue that there is an ambiguity in our theoretical toolbox and that resolving that opens the door to a solution to the puzzle. And third, to explore the reach of that solution (it turns out to do work in unexpected places). Along the way, the paper highlights a number (...)
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  7. added 2018-02-17
    Nominal Quantification as Top-Level Anaphora.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    So far, we have focused on discourse reference to atomic individuals and specific times, events, and states. The basic point of the argument was that all types of discourse reference involve attention-guided anaphora (in the sense of Bittner 2012: Ch. 2). We now turn to discourses involving anaphora to and by quantificational expressions. Today, we focus on quantification over individuals but the analysis we develop will directly generalize to other semantic types. The basic idea is that quantification is one more (...)
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  8. added 2018-01-16
    Believing Epistemic Contradictions.Beddor Bob & Simon Goldstein - 2018 - Review of Symbolic Logic (1):87-114.
    What is it to believe something might be the case? We develop a puzzle that creates difficulties for standard answers to this question. We go on to propose our own solution, which integrates a Bayesian approach to belief with a dynamic semantics for epistemic modals. After showing how our account solves the puzzle, we explore a surprising consequence: virtually all of our beliefs about what might be the case provide counterexamples to the view that rational belief is closed under logical (...)
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  9. added 2017-04-21
    General Dynamic Triviality Theorems.Jeffrey Sanford Russell & John Hawthorne - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (3):307-339.
    Famous results by David Lewis show that plausible-sounding constraints on the probabilities of conditionals or evaluative claims lead to unacceptable results, by standard probabilistic reasoning. Existing presentations of these results rely on stronger assumptions than they really need. When we strip these arguments down to a minimal core, we can see both how certain replies miss the mark, and also how to devise parallel arguments for other domains, including epistemic “might,” probability claims, claims about comparative value, and so on. A (...)
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  10. added 2017-02-17
    Donkeys Under Discussion.Lucas Champollion, Dylan Bumford & Robert Henderson - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    Donkey sentences have existential and universal readings, but they are not often perceived as ambiguous. We extend the pragmatic theory of nonmaximality in plural definites by Križ (2016) to explain how context disambiguates donkey sentences. We propose that the denotations of such sentences produce truth-value gaps — in certain scenarios the sentences are neither true nor false — and demonstrate that Križ’s pragmatic theory fills these gaps to generate the standard judgments of the literature. Building on Muskens’s (1996) Compositional Discourse (...)
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  11. added 2016-12-08
    Surface Composition as Bridging.Bittner Maria - 2001 - Journal of Semantics 18 (2):127-177.
    The development of explicit theories of dynamic context change has led to a fundamentally new perspective on the interpretation of discourse. In this paper I show that this development also opens up the possibility of approaching subclausal composition along similar lines. More specifically, I argue that a dynamic theory where type-driven rules apply directly to overt surface structures and fill in missing information by building anaphoric bridges is more faithful to natural language semantics than the classical Montagovian approach.
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  12. added 2016-11-05
    Dynamic Expressivism About Deontic Modality.William B. Starr - 2016 - In Nate Charlow Matthew Chrisman (ed.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press. pp. 355-394.
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  13. added 2016-11-04
    Expressing Permission.William B. Starr - 2016 - Semantics and Linguistic Theory 26:325-349.
    This paper proposes a semantics for free choice permission that explains both the non-classical behavior of modals and disjunction in sentences used to grant permission, and their classical behavior under negation. It also explains why permissions can expire when new information comes in and why free choice arises even when modals scope under disjunction. On the proposed approach, deontic modals update preference orderings, and connectives operate on these updates rather than propositions. The success of this approach stems from its capacity (...)
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  14. added 2016-09-27
    Expressivism by Force.Seth Yalcin - forthcoming - In D. Fogal, D. Harris & M. Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford University Press.
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  15. added 2016-09-12
    Logical Inference and Its Dynamics.Carlotta Pavese - June 2016 - In Tamminga Allard, Willer Malte & Roy Olivier (eds.), Deontic Logic and Normative Systems. College Publications. pp. 203-219.
    This essay advances and develops a dynamic conception of inference rules and uses it to reexamine a long-standing problem about logical inference raised by Lewis Carroll’s regress.
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  16. added 2016-07-18
    NASSLLI 2016 Dynamic Semantics (4): Temporality.Maria Bittner - unknown
    Featured course on "Dynamic Semantics" at NASSLLI 2016. Day 4: Temporality. Abstract: Cross-linguistic evidence shows that temporal reference likewise involves context change. In every language, temporal reference is similar to top-level nominal reference, except that instead of updating or referring to top-ranked individuals, temporal grammatical systems update or refer to top-ranked temporal referents (events, states, or times). We discuss and compare temporal reference in two sample languages: tense-based English and tenseless aspect-based Mandarin.
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  17. added 2016-07-18
    NASSLLI 2016 Dynamic Semantics (5): Quantification.Maria Bittner - unknown
    Featured course on "Dynamic Semantics" at NASSLLI 2016. Day 5: Quantification. Abstract: In discourse, quantifiers can function as antecedents or anaphors. We analyze a sample discourse in Dynamic Plural Logic (DPlL, van den Berg 1993, 1994), which represents not only current discourse referents, but also current relations by means of plural information states. This makes it possible to analyze quantification as structured discourse reference. Finally, the DPlL analysis is transposed into Update with Centering, to simplify the formalism and relate quantification (...)
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  18. added 2016-07-18
    NASSLLI 2016 Dynamic Semantics (3): Indexicality.Maria Bittner - unknown
    Featured course on "Dynamic Semantics" at NASSLLI 2016. Day 3: Indexicality. Abstract: Cross-linguistic evidence shows that indexicality, too, crucially involves context change. Speaking up focuses attention on that event and thereby makes it available for discourse reference (by "i", "you", etc). In Kalaallisut, this explains parallel grammatical marking of indexical reference and topic-oriented anaphora. Moreover, shiftable indexicals in Slavey show that certain expressions, e.g. attitude verbs, may update the top perspectival discourse referent from the speech event to an attitude state.
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  19. added 2016-07-18
    NASSLLI 2016 Dynamic Semantics (2): Anaphora.Maria Bittner - unknown
    Featured course on "Dynamic Semantics" at NASSLLI 2016. Day 2: Anaphora. Abstract: Cross-linguistic evidence shows that anaphora crucially involves context change. The logical representation system must be able to represent rank-based anaphora, because in every language the favorite anaphors -- e.g. Mandarin zeros, Kalaallisut inflections, English pronouns -- are restricted to refer to top-ranked antecedents (top-level anaphors, like Mandarin zeros or Kalaallisut inflections) or top- or 2nd-ranked antecedents (shallow anaphors, like English pronouns).
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  20. added 2016-07-18
    NASSLLI 2016 Dynamic Semantics (1): Introduction.Maria Bittner - unknown
    Featured course on "Dynamic Semantics" at NASSLLI 2016. Day 1: Introduction. Abstract: Dynamic semantics is a family of semantic theories that seek to explicate the intuition that saying something changes the context for what follows. We survey the development of formal semantics from static to dynamic formalisms since 1970s. Throughout, we highlight natural language phenomena that motivate dynamic semantics, and the key pre-theoretical concepts -- information state, update, and discourse referent -- which can be implemented in different ways and thus (...)
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  21. added 2015-09-10
    Formal Semantics of Natural Language.Adam Morton - 1982 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 12 (4):805-808.
    a review of Keenan, ed. *Formal Semantics of Natural Language*.
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  22. added 2015-09-07
    Dynamic Thoughts on Ifs and Oughts.Malte Willer - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14:1-30.
    A dynamic semantics for iffy oughts offers an attractive alternative to the folklore that Chisholm's paradox enforces an unhappy choice between the intuitive inference rules of factual and deontic detachment. The first part of the story told here shows how a dynamic theory about ifs and oughts gives rise to a nonmonotonic perspective on deontic discourse and reasoning that elegantly removes the air of paradox from Chisholm's puzzle without sacrificing any of the two detachment principles. The second part of the (...)
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  23. added 2015-09-03
    Prospects for an Expressivist Theory of Meaning.Nate Charlow - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15:1-43.
    Advocates of Expressivism about basically any kind of language are best-served by abandoning a traditional content-centric approach to semantic theorizing, in favor of an update-centric or dynamic approach (or so this paper argues). The type of dynamic approach developed here — in contrast to the content-centric approach — is argued to yield canonical, if not strictly classical, "explanations" of the core semantic properties of the connectives. (The cases on which I focus most here are negation and disjunction.) I end the (...)
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  24. added 2015-08-18
    The Antinomy of the Variable: A Tarskian Resolution.Bryan Pickel & Brian Rabern - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (3):137-170.
    Kit Fine has reawakened a puzzle about variables with a long history in analytic philosophy, labeling it “the antinomy of the variable”. Fine suggests that the antinomy demands a reconceptualization of the role of variables in mathematics, natural language semantics, and first-order logic. The difficulty arises because: (i) the variables ‘x’ and ‘y’ cannot be synonymous, since they make different contributions when they jointly occur within a sentence, but (ii) there is a strong temptation to say that distinct variables ‘x’ (...)
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  25. added 2015-03-24
    Living Words: Meaning Underdetermination and the Dynamic Lexicon.Peter Ludlow - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Peter Ludlow shows how word meanings are much more dynamic than we might have supposed, and explores how they are modulated even during everyday conversation. The resulting view is radical, and has far-reaching consequences for our political and legal discourse, and for enduring puzzles in the foundations of semantics, epistemology, and logic.
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  26. added 2014-03-29
    Concealed Causatives.Maria Bittner - 1999 - Natural Language Semantics 7 (1):1-78.
    Crosslinguistically, causative constructions conform to the following generalization: If the causal relation is syntactically concealed, then it is semantically direct. Concealed causatives span a wide syntactic spectrum, ranging from resultative complements in English to causative subjects in Miskitu. A unified type-driven theory is proposed which attributes the understood causal relation—and other elements of constructional meaning—to type lifting operations predictably licensed by type mismatch at LF. The proposal has far-reaching theoretical implications not only for the theory of compositionality and causation, but (...)
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  27. added 2014-03-04
    A Squib on Anaphora and Coindexing.Reinhard Muskens - 2011 - Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (1):85-89.
    There are two kinds of semantic theories of anaphora. Some, such as Heim’s File Change Semantics, Groenendijk and Stokhof’s Dynamic Predicate Logic, or Muskens’ Compositional DRT (CDRT), seem to require full coindexing of anaphora and their antecedents prior to interpretation. Others, such as Kamp’s Discourse Representation Theory (DRT), do not require this coindexing and seem to have an important advantage here. In this squib I will sketch a procedure that the first group of theories may help themselves to so that (...)
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  28. added 2013-08-23
    Practical Language: Its Meaning and Use.Nate Charlow - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    I demonstrate that a "speech act" theory of meaning for imperatives is—contra a dominant position in philosophy and linguistics—theoretically desirable. A speech act-theoretic account of the meaning of an imperative !φ is characterized, broadly, by the following claims. -/- LINGUISTIC MEANING AS USE !φ’s meaning is a matter of the speech act an utterance of it conventionally functions to express—what a speaker conventionally uses it to do (its conventional discourse function, CDF). -/- IMPERATIVE USE AS PRACTICAL !φ's CDF is to (...)
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  29. added 2013-06-23
    Topic States in Mandarin Discourse.Maria Bittner - forthcoming - In Michael Opper (ed.), Proceedings of the 25th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics. Ohio State University.
    I propose that Mandarin 。-sentences (units marked by 。) are aspectual topic-comment sequences, where an initial update (terminating in a pause) introduces a topic state for comment by one or more clauses. Each comment anaphorically refers to the topic state via the aspect feature of the verbal predicate. This proposal explains why Mandarin 。-sentences have controversial boundaries, since speakers may disagree where one topic state ends and the next one begins. It also explains various manifestations of aspect-prominence and topic-prominence in (...)
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  30. added 2013-06-14
    Logical Root of Linguistic Commitment.Berislav Žarnić - 2013 - In Anna Brożek Jacek Jadacki & Berislav Žarnić (eds.), Theory of Imperatives from Different Points of View (2).
    Two parallelism hypotheses have been adopted and the third one on their relationship has been put forward. The illocutionary logic hypothesis states that the logic of linguistic commitments runs parallel to the logic of intentionality. The normative pragmatics hypothesis states that the logic of utterances runs parallel to the logic of linguistic commitments. According to the third stance or the logic projection hypothesis, the logic of utterances is the origin of all other logics used in describing psychological and social realities. (...)
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  31. added 2013-03-24
    A Preference Semantics for Imperatives.William B. Starr - manuscript
    Imperative sentences like Dance! do not seem to represent the world. Recent modal analyses challenge this idea, but its intuitive and historical appeal remain strong. This paper presents three new challenges for a non-representational analysis, showing that the obstacles facing it are even steeper than previously appreciated. I will argue that the only way for the non-representationalist to meet these three challenges is to adopt a dynamic semantics. Such a dynamic semantics is proposed here: imperatives introduce preferences between alternatives. This (...)
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  32. added 2012-05-20
    Perspectival Discourse Referents for Indexicals.Maria Bittner - 2014 - In Hannah Greene (ed.), SULA 7: Proceedings of the Seventh Meeting on the Semantics of Under-represented Languages in the Americas (Cornell University, May 4–6, 2012). Createspace. pp. 1–22.
    This paper argues that indexical reference is a species of discourse reference, just like anaphora. Both varieties of discourse reference involve not only context dependence, but also context change. The act of speaking up focuses attention and thereby makes this very speech event available for discourse reference by indexicals. Mentioning something likewise focuses attention, making the mentioned entity available for subsequent discourse reference by anaphors. Empirical evidence is presented from grammatical centering in Kalaallisut and "shifty indexicals" in Slave attitude reports.
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  33. added 2012-04-13
    Mood-Based Temporal Reference.Maria Bittner - unknown
    Last time we introduced the notion of an illocutionary perspective . The basic idea is that the very act of speaking up introduces several discourse referents. The speech act itself (e ) is introduced as the central perspective point ( ε ). In addition, all the speech spheres (p ) where this speech act is realized, as well as the worlds of each sphere (w ∈p ) are introduced as modal topics ( Ω and  ω ).
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  34. added 2012-04-08
    Mood as Illocutionary Centering.Maria Bittner - unknown
    By this point, we have developed some articulated analyses of top-level temporal anaphora, including temporal quantification, in languages with grammatical tense and/or aspect systems, represented by English, Polish, and Mandarin. But it is still not clear how this approach might extend to temporal anaphora in a language such as Kalaallisut, which has neither grammatical tense nor grammatical aspect, but instead marks only grammatical mood and person. Most theories of mood and modal reference either ignore temporal reference or analyze modal and (...)
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  35. added 2012-03-29
    Tense as Temporal Centering.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    Abstract According to an influential theory, English tenses are anaphoric to an aforementioned reference point. This point is sometimes construed as a time (e.g. Reichenbach 1947, Partee 1973, Stone 1997) and sometimes as an event (e.g. Kamp 1979, 1981, Webber 1988). Moreover, some researchers draw semantic parallels between tenses and pronouns (e.g. Partee 1973, 1984, Stone 1997), whereas others draw parallels between tenses and anaphorically anchored (in)definite descriptions (e.g. Webber 1988). This paper proposes a unified approach.
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  36. added 2012-03-28
    Scope in English: Analysis in CCG+UC2.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    Day 5 of advanced course on "Crosslinguistic compositional semantics" at 2009 LSA Summer Institute at UC Berkeley. Plan for today: (a) Introduction: scope prediction (SA vs. BA), sample data (English vs. Kalaallisut), (b) Analysis of English data.
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  37. added 2012-03-28
    Scope in Kalaallisut: Analysis in CCG+UC2.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    Day 6 of advanced course on "Crosslinguistic compositional semantics" at 2009 LSA Summer Institute at UC Berkeley. Plan for today: (a) Review: scope prediction, Kalaallisut data, (b) Analysis of Kalaallisut data, (c) Questions & discussion.
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  38. added 2012-03-28
    Aspect as Eventuality Centering: English and Polish.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    Last time we saw that grammatical tenses anaphorically refer to top-ranked times or time-valued functions of top-ranked events, just like grammatical person markers anaphorically refer to top-ranked individuals or invididual-valued functions of top-ranked events. Today we extend this idea to grammatical aspect. Specifically, grammatical aspect marking in English and Polish is analyzed as discourse anaphora to top-ranked eventualities (states or events).
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  39. added 2012-03-28
    From Kalaallisut to English: Analysis in CCG+UC2.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    Day 4 of advanced course on "Crosslinguistic compositional semantics" at 2009 LSA Summer Institute at UC Berkeley. Plan to today: (a) Introduction (syn-sem traits of English vs. Kalaallisut, scope corollary), (b) UC1 + event (re)centering = UC2, (c) English and Kalaallisut in CCG+UC2, (d) Analysis of Kalaallisut BA.TO.L (review) vs. English SA.SU.S (new).
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  40. added 2012-03-28
    Semantic Composition: Kalaallisut in CCG+UC1.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    Day 3 of advanced course on "Crosslinguistic compositional semantics" at 2009 LSA Summer Institute at UC Berkeley. Plan for the day: (a) Introduction: Toward sun-sem typology (b) CCG+UC1 fragment of Kalaallisut, (c) Kalaallisut BA.TO.L-traits explained.
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  41. added 2012-03-28
    Individuals and Possibilities (3): Notes on Issues Raised by Stone & Hardt (1997).Maria Bittner - manuscript
    This is the last of three lectures on anaphoric parallels between individuals and possibilities across languages (IMS, Stuttgart, 2000).
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  42. added 2012-03-28
    Sample Derivations in Update with Centering.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    Appendix to lecture notes on "Nominal (re)centering: From Kalaallisut to UC1". Day 2 of advanced course on "Cross-linguistic compositional semantics" at LSA Summer Institute 2009 at UC Berkeley.
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  43. added 2012-03-28
    From Mandarin Texts to Update with Centering.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    Simple Mandarin Chinese texts translated into Update with Centering. Notes toward a directly compositional fragment of Mandarin Chinese, combining Categorial Grammar with Update with Centering, to appear in Bittner (in prep.) "Temporality: Universals and Variation".
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  44. added 2012-03-28
    Word Order and Incremental Update.Maria Bittner - 2003 - In Proceedings from CLS 39-1. CLS.
    The central claim of this paper is that surface-faithful word-by-word update is feasible and desirable, even in languages where word order is supposedly free. As a first step, in sections 1 and 2, I review an argument from Bittner 2001a that semantic composition is not a static process, as in PTQ, but rather a species of anaphoric bridging. But in that case the context-setting role of word order should extend from cross-sentential discourse anaphora to sentence-internal anaphoric composition. This can be (...)
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  45. added 2012-03-28
    Topical Referents for Individuals and Possibilities.Maria Bittner - 2001 - In R. Hastings, B. Jackson & Z. Zvolensky (eds.), Proceedings from SALT XI. CLC.
    Partee (1973) noted anaphoric parallels between English tenses and pronouns. Since then these parallels have been analyzed in terms of type-neutral principles of discourse anaphora. Recently, Stone (1997) extended the anaphoric parallel to English modals. In this paper I extend the story to languages of other types. This evidence also shows that centering parallels are even more detailed than previously recognized. Based on this evidence, I propose a semantic representation language (Logic of Change with Centered Worlds), in which the observed (...)
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  46. added 2012-03-28
    Individuals and Possibilities (1): Notes on Stone (1999) 'Reference to Possible Worlds'.Maria Bittner - unknown
    The first of three lectures on nominal and modal discourse reference across languages (IMS, Stuttgart, 2000).
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  47. added 2012-03-01
    Context Probabilism.Seth Yalcin - forthcoming - In M. Aloni (ed.), 18th Amsterdam Colloquium. Springer.
    We investigate a basic probabilistic dynamic semantics for a fragment containing conditionals, probability operators, modals, and attitude verbs, with the aim of shedding light on the prospects for adding probabilistic structure to models of the conversational common ground.
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  48. added 2011-10-18
    Anaphora Without Indices: Dynamics of Centering.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    The standard way to represent anaphoric dependencies is to co-index the anaphor with its antecedent in the syntactic input to semantic rules, which then interpret such indices as variables. Dynamic theories (e.g. Kamp’s DRT, Heim’s File Change Semantics, Muskens’s Compositional DRT, etc) combine syntactic co-indexation with semantic left-to-right asymmetry. This captures the fact that the anaphor gets its referent from the antecedent and not vice versa. Formally, a text updates the input state of information to the output state. In particular, (...)
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