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Tense and the logic of change

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 (1995)

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  1. Varieties of Update.Sarah E. Murray - 2014 - Semantics and Pragmatics 7 (2):1--53.
    This paper discusses three potential varieties of update: updates to the common ground, structuring updates, and updates that introduce discourse referents. These different types of update are used to model different aspects of natural language phenomena. Not-at-issue information directly updates the common ground. The illocutionary mood of a sentence structures the context. Other updates introduce discourse referents of various types, including propositional discourse referents for at-issue information. Distinguishing these types of update allows a unified treatment of a broad range of (...)
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  • 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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  • Online Update: Temporal, Modal, and de Se Anaphora in Polysynthetic Discourse.Maria Bittner - 2007 - In Chris Barker & Pauline Jacobson (eds.), Direct Compositionality. Oxford University Press. pp. 11--363.
    This paper introduces a framework for direct surface composition by online update. The surface string is interpreted as is, with each morpheme in turn updating the input state of information and attention. A formal representation language, Logic of Centering, is defined and some crosslinguistic constraints on lexical meanings and compositional operations are formulated.
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  • Combining Montague Semantics and Discourse Representation.Reinhard Muskens - 1996 - Linguistics and Philosophy 19 (2):143 - 186.
    This paper embeds the core part of Discourse Representation Theory in the classical theory of types plus a few simple axioms that allow the theory to express key facts about variables and assignments on the object level of the logic. It is shown how the embedding can be used to combine core analyses of natural language phenomena in Discourse Representation Theory with analyses that can be obtained in Montague Semantics.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Conditionals as Attitude Reports.Maria Bittner - manuscript
    Most theories of conditionals and attitudes do not analyze either phenomenon in terms of the other. A few view attitude reports as a species of conditionals (e.g. Stalnaker 1984, Heim 1992). Based on evidence from Kalaallisut, this paper argues for the opposite thesis: conditionals are a species of attitude reports. The argument builds on prior findings that conditionals are modal topic-comment structures (e.g. Haiman 1978, Bittner 2001), and that in mood-based Kalaallisut English future (e.g. Ole will win) translates into a (...)
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  • Time and Modality Without Tenses or Modals.Maria Bittner - 2011 - In Renate Musan & Monika Rathert (eds.), Tense across Languages. Niemeyer. pp. 147--188.
    In English, discourse reference to time involves grammatical tenses interpreted as temporal anaphors. Recently, it has been argued that conditionals involve modal discourse anaphora expressed by a parallel grammatical system of anaphoric modals. Based on evidence from Kalaallisut, this paper argues that temporal and modal anaphora can be just as precise in a language that does not have either grammatical category. Instead, temporal anaphora directly targets eventualities of verbs, without mediating tenses, while modal anaphora involves anaphoric moods and/or attitudinal verbs.
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  • 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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  • Underspecified Semantics.Reinhard Muskens - 2000 - In Klaus von Heusinger & Urs Egli (eds.), Reference and Anaphoric Relations. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 311--338.
    Ambiguities in natural language can multiply so fast that no person or machine can be expected to process a text of even moderate length by enumerating all possible disambiguations. A sentence containing $n$ scope bearing elements which are freely permutable will have $n!$ readings, if there are no other, say lexical or syntactic, sources of ambiguity. A series of $m$ such sentences would lead to $(n!)^m$ possibilities. All in all the growth of possibilities will be so fast that generating readings (...)
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  • Program Semantics and Classical Logic.Reinhard Muskens - 1997) - In CLAUS Report Nr 86. Saarbrücken: University of the Saarland. pp. 1-27.
    In the tradition of Denotational Semantics one usually lets program constructs take their denotations in reflexive domains, i.e. in domains where self-application is possible. For the bulk of programming constructs, however, working with reflexive domains is an unnecessary complication. In this paper we shall use the domains of ordinary classical type logic to provide the semantics of a simple programming language containing choice and recursion. We prove that the rule of {\em Scott Induction\/} holds in this new setting, prove soundness (...)
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  • The Dynamics of Discourse Situations (Extended Abstract).Massimo Poesio & Reinhard Muskens - 1997 - In Paul Dekker, Martin Stokhof & Yde Venema (eds.), Proceedings of the Eleventh Amsterdam Colloquium. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam. pp. 247-252.
    The effects of utterances such as cue phrases, keep-turn markers, and grounding signals cannot be characterized as changes to a shared record of the propositions under discussed: the simplest (and arguably most natural) way of characterizing the meaning of these utterances is in terms of a theory in which the conversational score is seen as a record of the discourse situation, or at least of the speech acts that have been performed. The problem then becomes to explain how discourse entities (...)
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  • The Meaning and Interpretations of the Japanese Aspect Marker -Te-I-.Atsuko Nishiyama - 2006 - Journal of Semantics 23 (2):185-216.
    The Japanese marker -te-i- can have progressive, resultative, and existential perfect readings and has often been regarded as ambiguous. This paper shows that there is no clear evidence that -te-i- is ambiguous. It proposes a monosemous analysis of -te-i- that unifies its multiple readings and shows how progressives and perfects can form a natural semantic class. Within the context of a Discourse Representation Theory (Kamp and Reyle 1993, de Swart 1998), I propose that -te-i- consists of an imperfective operator -te- (...)
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  • Dynamic Discourse Referents for Tense and Modals.Matthew Stone & Daniel Hardt - 1999 - In Harry Bunt & Reinhard Muskins (eds.), Computing Meaning. Kluwer. pp. 302-321.
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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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  • Sentence-Internal Different as Quantifier-Internal Anaphora.Adrian Brasoveanu - 2011 - Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (2):93-168.
    The paper proposes the first unified account of deictic/sentence-external and sentence-internal readings of singular different . The empirical motivation for such an account is provided by a cross-linguistic survey and an analysis of the differences in distribution and interpretation between singular different , plural different and same (singular or plural) in English. The main proposal is that distributive quantification temporarily makes available two discourse referents within its nuclear scope, the values of which are required by sentence-internal uses of singular different (...)
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  • Temporal Semantics in a Superficially Tenseless Language.Lisa Matthewson - 2006 - Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (6):673 - 713.
    This paper contributes to the debate about ‘tenseless languages’ by defending a tensed analysis of a superficially tenseless language. The language investigated is St’át’imcets (Lillooet Salish). I argue that although St’át’imcets lacks overt tense morphology, every finite clause in the language possesses a phonologically covert tense morpheme; this tense morpheme restricts the reference time to being non-future. Future interpretations, as well as ‘past future’ would-readings, are obtained by the combination of covert tense with an operator analogous to Abusch’s (1985) WOLL. (...)
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  • 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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  • Future Discourse in a Tenseless Language.Maria Bittner - 2005 - Journal of Semantics 22 (4):339-87.
    The Eskimo language Kalaallisut (alias West Greenlandic) has traditionally been described as having a rich tense system, with three future tenses (Kleinschmidt 1851, Bergsland 1955, Fortescue 1984) and possibly four past tenses (Fortescue 1984). Recently however, Shaer (2003) has challenged these traditional claims, arguing that Kalaallisut is in fact tenseless.
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  • Discourse Transparency and the Meaning of Temporal Locating Adverbs.Daniel Altshuler - 2014 - Natural Language Semantics 22 (1):55-88.
    This paper proposes that a core semantic property of temporal locating adverbs is the ability to introduce a new time discourse referent. The core data comes from that same day in narrative discourse. I argue that unlike other previously studied temporal locating adverbs—which introduce a new time discourse referent and relate it to the speech time or a salient time introduced into the discourse context—that same day is ‘twice anaphoric’, i.e. it retrieves two salient times from the input context without (...)
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