i the semantic interpretation of definite noun phrases: noun phrase is a singular noun phrase whose

Download I The Semantic Interpretation of Definite Noun Phrases: noun phrase is a singular noun phrase whose

If you can't read please download the document

Post on 20-Mar-2020

3 views

Category:

Documents

0 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

  • I v /

    - The Semantic Interpretation of Definite Noun Phrases: a

    Uniqueness Intuitions, Telescope Anaphora, and Strong and Weak .Readings in Donkey Sentences

    B.A. University of Queensland, Australia 1986 M.A. Monash University, Australia 1993

    T H E S ~ S SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF

    THE REQUIREMENTS FORTHE DEGREE OF

    DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

    in the Department of

    L1,NGUISTICS

    B O Jarfine Toole 1997

    SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

    December 1997

    . .

    All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced in whole or in part. by photocopy

    e or other means. without permission of the author.

  • National Library of Canada

    Acquisitions and Bibliographic Services

    395 Wellington Street Onawa ON K1 A ON4 Canada

    , Bibliotheque nationale du Canada

    Acquisitions et - I ser~ices~bibliograph~ques

    $

    395, we Well~ngton Ottawa ON K 1 A ON4 Canada

    . * - The author has granted a non-

    exclusive licence allowing the Nationd Library of Canada to reproduce, loan, distribute Qr sell copies of h s thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats.'

    The author retains ownershp df the copyright in h i thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts fiom it may be printed or othenvise reproduced without the author's + permission.

    L'auteur a accord6 une licence non exclusive pennettant a la Bibliotl@que nationde du Canada de reproduire, preter, hstribuer ou

    E vendre des copies de cette these sous , ; la forme de microfiche/film, de

    B

    reproduction sur papier ou sur format electronique.

    L'auteur conserve la propriete du droit, d7auteur qui protege cette these. Ni la these ni des extraits substantieis de celle-ci ne doivent itre imprimes ou autrement reproduits sans son autorisation.

    i. C

  • APPROVAL

    NAME: Janine Therese Toole

    DEGREE: Doctor of Philosophy (Linguistics) ? L .I

    e

    TITLE OF THESIS: The Semantic Interpretation of Definite Noun Phrases: Uniqueness Intuitions, Telescope Anaphora, and Strong and Weak Readings in Donkey Sentences

    Examining committee

    Chair: Zita McRobbie -

    -- ' r - - A

    Paul MPetficlge I

    Senior Supervisor Associate Professor of Linguistics, SFU

    s k y Hedberg ,

    Assistant Professor of Linguistics, SFU

    -

    Tom Perry Internal External Examiner"

    Associate P r o f e s ~ L i n g u i s t i c s , SFU

    e - T - I

    &ncis ~ & f ~ Pelletier External Examiner

    Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science University of Albzna

    Date Approved: , . - a)

  • ABSTRACT

    The unifying theme of this thesis is the interpretation of definite noun phrases.

    Three outstanding issues relating to their interpretation are addressed.The first issue * concerns the uniqueness implications associated with definite noun phrases. Unlike

    the Russellian and familiarity approaches which argue that the basic characteristic

    [hat differentiates defhite noun phrases from other noun phrases is uniqueness or

    maphoecity, I argue that the basic characteristic of a definite noun' phrase is the

    relation that holds between its denotation and its domain'restnction. That is, on the

    analysis I propose the relation between a definite, noun phrase's denotation and its I

    dvmainrestriciion is one of equality (denotation domain restriction). The relation I between an indefinite noun phrase's denotation a d its domain restriction is one of 4 subsumption (denotation I domain restriction).

    * *

    On this view u n i q u h s s intuitions are a by-product of the relation between a noun

    phrase's denotation, its domain restrictiony2and its potential referents. ~ ~ e c i f i c a l l ~ .

    uniqueness intuitions arise when there is a one-to-one correspondence betyeen a

    noun phrase's denotation, its domain restriction, and its popntial referents. This

    approach accounts for the full range of uniqueness data. In addition, i t has

    interesting ramifications for the debate on whether uniqueness is asserted or

    presupposed. 1

    2, The second issue I deal with concerns the use of telescope anaphora. A telescope

    noun phrase is a singular noun phrase whose antecedent is a universal quantifier in

    a previous clause (i.c. the pronoun is outside the scope of the universal quantifier).

    Telescope examples are problematic because most theories of discourse semantics

    do not allow universal noun phrases to bind noun phrases that are outside their

    scope. In this thesis I argue that telescope anaphora can be readily accounted for by

    the previously motivated semantic processes of abstraction and distri,butwn. An

    advantage of this analysis is that it can account for aireater range of examples than

    iii

  • the telescope examples considered previously. Furthermore, the analysis correttly

    predicts that examples which combine dependent plural pronouns and telescope

    , noun phrases are infelicitous. Although I focus primarily on the question of how a

    telescope construction should be analyzed, I also consider the question of the

    function of the telescope consGction and the conditions which license the use of

    thjs construction.

    %

    , T$& third and final issue I deal with in this thesis concerns the strong and we+

    readings of donkey sentences. Previous analyses find the sourceaf the ambiguity in

    either the subject noun phrase or the definite donkey pronoun. My analysis is similar

    to the former in that I argue that the source of the ambiguity is the subject noun

    phrase. However, my analysis differs from previous analyses in that I argue that the

    strondweak ambiguity is due to the s w t i v i t y of determiners to the topic structure

    of the discourse. To this end I modify the way that determiners are interpreted to

    include the effect of topic structure. This analysis predicts the ambiguity in relative

    clause donkey sentences while maintaining non-ambiguity in non-donkey

    sen nces. Two further advantages of my approach are that it provides the correct i inteFretation for donkey senteyes which contain multiple indefinites within the

    subject relative clause and, in addition. the analysis accounts for the existence of *

    strong and weak readings in telescope constructions. readings which have not been \ i previously noted

    .

    in the litera

  • ACNOWLEDGEMENTS-

    I There were several times when I doubted that I would ever finish this thesis. The fact that I have finished is due tb the wonderful friendship and support from my friends and colleagues.

    6

    Foremost among these is Paul McFetridge who is the best advisor a student could ever hrke. a Thanks also to Nancy Hedberg and Fred Popowich for good advice.

    \

    Thank you also to all the linguistics graduate students with whom I spent many happ,y hours talking, complaining, and drinking cups of tea. especially Cliff Burgess, Trude Heift, Wei Li, Krista Muller, Peter Muntigl, and Susan'Russell. Thanks also to Linda Uyechi who .distracted me with sign linguistics just when I needed it.

    i

    C

    A special thanks goes to thqse who patiently gave me their intuitions on numerous sentences while wondering what on earth I was trying to do: Cliff Burgess, Meredith Dally.?. Marcus Dell, David Senkins, Paul McFetridge, and Krista Muller.

    In addition, I gratefully ackoowledge the tinancial support of the Australian Federation of University Women, Simon Fraser Centre for Systems Science and Simon Fraser University.

    1 " Lastly, but most importantly, I thank David Jenkins for putting up with life - with a linguist.

  • b I

    I - Table of Contents

    Chapter 1 Introducfion

    1.0 The ~ e h a d o u r of Definite Noun I Phrases .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I 1.1 Uniqueness Intuitions in Definite Noun Phrases . . . . . . . . .2 I 1.2 Telescope Pronouns .,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . - 3 1.3 Strong and Weak Readings in Donkey Sentences : . . . . . . .5

    2.0 The Framework: Asher's (1993) DRT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

    2.1 Construction Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . : . .7 2.2 Interpretation Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13.

    3.0 .Organization of the Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 5

    * Chapter 2 Uniqueness Intuitions in Definite Noun Phrases /

    1.0 Introduction . . . . . . . . . ., . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

    2.0 Previous Accounts of Uniqueness Intuitions . . . . . . . . . 17 2.1 The Unique Identifiability Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I8 2.2 Problems with the UI approach . . . . . . . . :'. . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1 2.3 The Familiarity Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 2.3 Problems with the Famiharity Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

    3.0 An Alternative Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . : . . . . . . . . . . .35 3.1 Noun Phrase Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 3.2 A New Approach to Uniqueness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 3.3 Uniqueness un