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  1. The Semantics of Nouns Derived From Gradable Adjectives.David Nicolas - 2003 - In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 8. pp. 197-207.
    What semantics should we attribute to nouns like "wisdom" and "generosity", which are derived from gradable adjectives? We show that, from a morphosyntactic standpoint, these nouns are mass nouns. This leads us to consider and answer the following questions. How are these nouns interpreted in their various uses? What formal representations may one associate with their interpretations? How do these depend on the semantics of the adjective? And where lies the semantic unity of nouns like wisdom and generosity with the (...)
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  • Cross-Categorial Restrictions on Measure Phrase Modification.Yoad Winter - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 28 (2):233 - 267.
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  • Underspecification in Degree Operators.Guillaume Thomas - 2018 - Journal of Semantics 35 (1):43-93.
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  • The Degree Functions of Negative Adjectives.Galit Weidman Sassoon - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (2):141-181.
    This paper provides a new account of positive versus negative antonyms. The data includes well-known linguistic generalizations regarding negative adjectives, such as their incompatibility with measure phrases (cf. two meters tall/ *short) and ratio phrases (twice as tall/ #short) as well as the impossibility of truly crosspolar comparisons (*Dan is taller than Sam is short). These generalizations admit a variety of exceptions, e.g., positive adjectives that do not license measure phrases (cf. #two degrees warm/cold) and rarely also negative adjectives that (...)
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  • Degree Structure as Trope Structure: A Trope-Based Analysis of Positive and Comparative Adjectives.Friederike Moltmann - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (1):51-94.
    This paper explores a novel analysis of adjectives in the comparative and the positive based on the notion of a trope, rather than the notion of a degree. Tropes are particularized properties, concrete manifestations of properties in individuals. The point of departure is that a sentence like ‘John is happier than Mary’ is intuitively equivalent to ‘John’s happiness exceeds Mary’s happiness’, a sentence that expresses a simple comparison between two tropes, John’s happiness and Mary’s happiness. The analysis received particular support (...)
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  • The Universal Density of Measurement.Danny Fox & Martin Hackl - 2006 - Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (5):537 - 586.
    The notion of measurement plays a central role in human cognition. We measure people’s height, the weight of physical objects, the length of stretches of time, or the size of various collections of individuals. Measurements of height, weight, and the like are commonly thought of as mappings between objects and dense scales, while measurements of collections of individuals, as implemented for instance in counting, are assumed to involve discrete scales. It is also commonly assumed that natural language makes use of (...)
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  • Parity, Intransitivity, and a Context-Sensitive Degree Analysis of Gradability.Yitzhak Benbaji - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2):313-335.
    Larry Temkin challenged what seems to be an analytic truth about comparatives: if A is Φ-er than B and B is Φ-er than C, then, A is Φ-er than C. Ruth Chang denies a related claim: if A is Φ-er than B and C is not Φ-er than B, but is Φ to a certain degree, then A is Φ-er than C. In this paper I advance a context-sensitive semantics of gradability according to which the data uncovered by Temkin and (...)
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  • Degree Modification of Gradable Nouns: Size Adjectives and Adnominal Degree Morphemes. [REVIEW]Marcin Morzycki - 2009 - Natural Language Semantics 17 (2):175-203.
    Degree readings of size adjectives, as in big stamp-collector, cannot be explained away as merely the consequence of some extragrammatical phenomenon. Rather, this paper proposes that they actually reflect the grammatical architecture of nominal gradability. Such readings are available only for size adjectives in attributive positions, and systematically only for adjectives that predicate bigness. These restrictions can be understood as part of a broader picture of gradable NPs in which adnominal degree morphemes—often overt—play a key role, analogous to their role (...)
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  • Quantifiers in Comparatives: A Semantics of Degree Based on Intervals. [REVIEW]Roger Schwarzschild & Karina Wilkinson - 2002 - Natural Language Semantics 10 (1):1-41.
    The sentence Irving was closer to me than he was to most of the others contains a quantifier, most of the other, in the scope a comparative. The first part of this paper explains the challenges presented by such cases to existing approaches to the semantics of the comparative. The second part presents a new analysis of comparatives based on intervals rather than points on a scale. This innovation is analogized to the move from moments to intervals in tense semantics. (...)
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  • Vagueness in Degree Constructions.Galit Weidman Sassoon - 2009 - In Arndt Riester & Torgrim Solstad (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 13.
    This paper presents a novel semantic analysis of unit names and gradable adjectives, inspired by measurement theory (Krantz et al 1971). Based on measurement theory's typology of measures, I claim that different predicates are associated with different types of measures whose special characteristics, together with features of the relations denoted by unit names, explain the puzzling limited distribution of measure phrases.
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  • Constructing Concessive Conditionals: In Case of Japanese.Ai Matsui - 2009 - In Arndt Riester & Torgrim Solstad (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 13.
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  • The Meaning of Too, Enough, and So... That.Cécile Meier - 2003 - Natural Language Semantics 11 (1):69-107.
    In this paper, I provide a compositional semantics for sentences with enough and too followed by a to-infinitive clause and for resultative constructions with so... that within the framework of possible world semantics. It is proposed that the sentential complement of these constructions denotes an incomplete conditional and is explicitly or implicitly modalized, as if it were the consequent of a complete conditional. Enough, too, and so are quantifiers that relate an extent predicate and the incomplete conditional (expressed by the (...)
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  • The Population Ethics of Belief: In Search of an Epistemic Theory X.Richard Pettigrew - 2018 - Noûs 52 (2):336-372.
    Consider Phoebe and Daphne. Phoebe has credences in 1 million propositions. Daphne, on the other hand, has credences in all of these propositions, but she's also got credences in 999 million other propositions. Phoebe's credences are all very accurate. Each of Daphne's credences, in contrast, are not very accurate at all; each is a little more accurate than it is inaccurate, but not by much. Whose doxastic state is better, Phoebe's or Daphne's? It is clear that this question is analogous (...)
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  • Vagueness and Identity. A Granular Approach.Silvia Gaio - unknown
    In this research work I take into account the relation of indistinguishability. This relation seems to be prima facie reflexive, symmetric and transitive; in short, an equivalence relation. However, there are some cases where the relation under consideration fails to be transitive. In this thesis I will discuss two of those cases: vagueness of gradabale adjectives and count nouns, and identity criteria involving perceptual phenomena. My research attempts to answer the following question: how is it possible to communicate and to (...)
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  • A Granular Account For Gradable Adjectives.Silvia Gaio - 2009 - Logique Et Analyse 52.
    In this paper I consider one kind of vague linguistic expression: adjec- tives like tall, big, expensive. These are called gradable adjectives. The most well-known linguistic theories that account for them are the so-called degree-based theories. In this paper I present a formal model that accounts for vague gradable adjectives as an alternative to degree-based theories. The model is built on two basic ingredients: (i) comparison classes and (ii) gran- ular partitions. (i) Comparison classes are introduced to account for the (...)
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  • Times as Degrees: Früh(Er) 'Early(Er)' , Spät(Er) 'Late(R)', and Phase Adverbs.Arnim von Stechow - unknown
    There is a rich literature about the temporal conjunctions before/after, but at the time I gave the talk that underlies this paper I was not aware of any analysis of the temporal comparatives früher/später ‘earlier/later’, which may be used to express similar states of affairs, but are constructed differently.2 Recently I got acquainted with the del Prete’s thesis about It. prima/dopo, which analyses prima as a comparative and dopo as a preposition.3 This is the only paper known to me that (...)
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  • The Temporal Degree Adjectives FrÜH(Er)/ SpÄT(Er).Arnim von Stechow - unknown
    There is a rich literature about the temporal conjunctions before/after, but at the time I gave the talk that underlies this paper I was not aware of any analysis of the temporal comparatives früher/später ‘earlier/later’, which may be used to express similar states of affairs, but are constructed differently.2 Recently I became acquainted with del Prete’s thesis about It. prima/dopo, which analyses prima as a comparative and dopo as a preposition.3 This is the only paper known to me that goes (...)
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  • Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 9.Emar Maier, Corien Bary & Janneke Huitink (eds.) - 2005 - Nijmegen Centre for Semantics.
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  • Modal Superlatives And 3-Place Vs. 2-Place -Est.Maribel Romero - 2011 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6:10.
    Superlative sentences with modal modifiers like possible give rise to the so-called 'modal superlative reading' . The present paper uses this reading to investigate an open issue in degree constructions: whereas two different lexical entries have been argued to exist for the comparative morpheme -er , it is not clear whether two entries are needed for the superlative morpheme -est. The paper argues that, with 3-place –est, otherwise unmotivated syntactic material would to have to be postulated and that, even with (...)
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  • Measurement Theory in Linguistics.Galit Weidman Sassoon - 2010 - Synthese 174 (1):151-180.
    This paper presents a novel semantic analysis of unit names (like pound and meter) and gradable adjectives (like tall, short and happy), inspired by measurement theory (Krantz et al. In Foundations of measurement: Additive and Polynomial Representations, 1971). Based on measurement theory’s four-way typology of measures, I claim that different adjectives are associated with different types of measures whose special characteristics, together with features of the relations denoted by unit names, explain the puzzling limited distribution of measure phrases, as well (...)
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  • Investigating the Form-Meaning Mapping in the Acquisition of English and Japanese Measure Phrase Comparatives.Tomoe Arii, Kristen Syrett & Takuya Goro - 2017 - Natural Language Semantics 25 (1):53-90.
    We present a set of experiments investigating how English- and Japanese-speaking children interpret Measure Phrase comparatives. We show that despite overt cues to the comparative interpretation, children representing both languages diverge from their adult counterparts in that they access a non-adult-like ‘absolute measurement’ interpretation. We propose to account for their response pattern by appealing to proposals by Svenonius and Kennedy and Sawada and Grano that Meas in the head of the DegP, which houses the differential, selects for an absolute minimal (...)
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  • The Actual World is Abnormal: On the Semantics of the Bylo Construction in Russian. [REVIEW]Olga Kagan - 2011 - Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (1):57-84.
    This paper investigates the interpretation of the modal particle bylo in Modern Russian. On the intuitive level, sentences in which this particle appears report events that do not proceed normally and fail to receive an expected continuation. For instance, the particle is appropriate in a context whereby an eventuality begins but fails to reach completion, is intended but fails to be realized, or reaches completion, but its result is annulled. The paper proposes an intensional analysis of the particle, making use (...)
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  • Scale Structure, Coercion, and the Interpretation of Measure Phrases in Japanese.Osamu Sawada & Thomas Grano - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (2):191-226.
    This paper investigates the semantics of measure phrases in Japanese. Based on new data, we argue that the interpretation of measure phrases in Japanese is sensitive to scale structure such that (i) measure phrases are introduced by a degree morpheme that selects only for gradable predicates whose scale contains a minimal element (i.e., a lower closed scale) and (ii) violations to this restriction are repaired via coercion, which forces a comparative interpretation with a contextually determined standard and hence a minimal (...)
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  • Upper-Bounded No More: The Exhaustive Interpretation of Non-Strict Comparison. [REVIEW]Rick Nouwen - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (4):271-295.
    The paper concerns the expression of non-strict comparison, focusing in particular on constructions of the form [no(t) . . .-er than] in modified numerals. The main empirical finding is the observation that negated comparatives contrast with regular comparatives in that the former but not the latter can give rise to (scalar) implicatures. It is shown that such a contrast falls out of theories of exhaustive interpretation that claim alternatives to form dense scales. An important result is that the paper sharpens (...)
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  • Vagueness and Grammar: The Semantics of Relative and Absolute Gradable Adjectives.Christopher Kennedy - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (1):1 - 45.
    This paper investigates the way that linguistic expressions influence vagueness, focusing on the interpretation of the positive (unmarked) form of gradable adjectives. I begin by developing a semantic analysis of the positive form of ‘relative’ gradable adjectives, expanding on previous proposals by further motivating a semantic basis for vagueness and by precisely identifying and characterizing the division of labor between the compositional and contextual aspects of its interpretation. I then introduce a challenge to the analysis from the class of ‘absolute’ (...)
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  • Utility and Language Generation: The Case of Vagueness.Kees van Deemter - 2009 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 38 (6):607 - 632.
    This paper asks why information should ever be expressed vaguely, re-assessing some previously proposed answers to this question and suggesting some new ones. Particular attention is paid to the benefits that vague expressions can have in situations where agreement over the meaning of an expression cannot be taken for granted. A distinction between two different versions of the above-mentioned question is advocated. The first asks why human languages contain vague expressions, the second question asks when and why a speaker should (...)
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  • More Than Two Quantifiers.Shoichi Takahashi - 2006 - Natural Language Semantics 14 (1):57-101.
    Comparative quantifiers, such as more than three books, cannot take scope over any quantifier in subject position if they occupy object position. This is clearly different from the behavior of other quantifiers (e.g., universal quantifiers). This paper argues that this scope puzzle is due to a more complex internal structure of comparative quantifiers than other quantifiers. In the decompositional approach that I pursue, comparative quantifiers are decomposed into two generalized quantifiers (i.e., in the case above, the comparative operator er than (...)
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  • The Lover of the Beautiful and the Good: Platonic Foundations of Aesthetic and Moral Value.John Martin - 2008 - Synthese 165 (1):31-51.
    Though acknowledged by scholars, Plato’s identification of the Beautiful and the Good has generated little interest, even in aesthetics where the moral concepts are a current topic. The view is suspect because, e.g., it is easy to find examples of ugly saints and beautiful sinners. In this paper the thesis is defended using ideas from Plato’s ancient commentators, the Neoplatonists. Most interesting is Proclus, who applied to value theory a battery of linguistic tools with fixed semantic properties—comparative adjectives, associated gradable (...)
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  • Modal Superlatives: A Compositional Analysis. [REVIEW]Maribel Romero - 2013 - Natural Language Semantics 21 (1):79-110.
    Superlative adjectives accompanied by certain modal adjectives like possible (e.g. John bought the largest possible present) are ambiguous between a reading where possible is a regular noun modifier and a reading paraphrasable as ‘as Adj as possible’, called ‘modal superlative reading’. Three interesting restrictions have been observed in the literature. First, possible and some other adjectives ending in -able, but not potential and probable, support the latter reading. Second, when the modal adjective appears postnominally, only the modal superlative reading is (...)
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  • Mood and Gradability: An Investigation of the Subjunctive Mood in Spanish.Elisabeth Villalta - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (4):467-522.
    In Spanish (and other Romance languages) certain predicates select the subjunctive mood in the embedded clause, while others select the indicative mood. In this paper, I present a new analysis for the predicates that select the subjunctive mood in Spanish that is based on a semantics of comparison. The main generalization proposed here is the following: in Spanish, a predicate selects the subjunctive mood in its embedded proposition if the proposition is compared to its contextual alternatives on a scale introduced (...)
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  • No More Shall We Part: Quantifiers in English Comparatives.Peter Alrenga & Christopher Kennedy - 2014 - Natural Language Semantics 22 (1):1-53.
    It is well known that the interpretation of quantificational expressions in the comparative clause poses a serious challenge for semantic analyses of the English comparative. In this paper, we develop a new analysis of the comparative clause designed to meet this challenge, in which a silent occurrence of the negative degree quantifier no interacts with other quantificational expressions to derive the observed range of interpretations. Although our analysis incorporates ideas from previous analyses, we show that it is able to account (...)
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