16 January 2012

In Events on January 11, 2012 at 9:00 am

Galit W. Sassoon (ILLC / Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Title: The semantics of ‘for’ phrases and its implications

Abstract: I will preset joint work with Robert van Rooij (ILLC, UvA). We argue that combinations of gradable adjectives with ‘for’ phrases are more interesting than they are normally considered. Important ingredients of the semantics of ‘for’ phrases were largely neglected so far. These ingredients point against the popular analyses of ‘for’ phrases, and in favor of a new type of analysis. In addition, they have consequences to a variety of analyses that use a null morpheme, POS, to derive the interpretation of the positive form, and/or to achieve a variety of other purposes. Based on new facts, concerning, in particular, the distribution of ‘for’ phrases, and their interpretation in a variety of contexts, this paper shows that the data does not support such a null morpheme; rather, postulating it creates a line of complications that need to be taken into account. The question, then, is – do we need it at all? We conclude that the answer should eventually be determined as part of a more general controversy regarding the level of representation usually called the logical form. We contribute to this controversy by providing a semantic account of the facts, a degree-based analysis, albeit without a null-morpheme. While this analysis is simpler, it appears to be at least as plausible. A problem to deal with in the future concerns the consequences of the elimination of POS to the syntactic analysis of sentences with and without ‘for‘ phrases.

When? 15.30-17.00

Where? Trans 8, A.W. de Grootkamer (0.19)


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