On the interpretation of disjunction: asymmetric, incremental, and eager for inconsistency
- Raj Singh
- … show all 1 hide
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
Hurford’s Constraint (Hurford, Foundations of Language, 11, 409–411, 1974) states that a disjunction is infelicitous if its disjuncts stand in an entailment relation: #John was born in Paris or in France. Gazdar (Pragmatics, Academic Press, NY, 1979) observed that scalar implicatures can obviate the constraint. For instance, sentences of the form (A or B) or (Both Aand B) are felicitous due to the exclusivity implicature of the first disjunct: A or B implicates ‘not (A and B)’. Chierchia, Fox, and Spector (Handbook of semantics, 2008) use the obviation of Hurford’s Constraint in these cases to argue for a theory of local implicature. I present evidence indicating that the constraint needs to be modified in two ways. First, implicatures can obviate Hurford’s Constraint only in earlier disjuncts, not later ones: #(Both A and B) or (A or B). Second, the constraint rules out not only disjuncts that stand in an entailment relation, but also disjuncts that are even mutually consistent: #John is from Russia or Asia. I propose to make sense of these facts by providing an incremental evaluation procedure which checks that each new disjunct to the right is inconsistent with the information to its left, before the disjunct can be strengthened by local implicature.
- Beaver D. (2001) Presupposition and assertion in dynamic semantics. CA: Stanford, CSLI Publications
- Chierchia, G. (2004). Scalar implicatures, polarity phenomena, and the syntax-pragmatics interface. In A. Belleti (Ed.), Structures and beyond. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Chierchia, G., Fox, D., & Spector, B. (2007). Hurford’s constraint and the theory of scalar implicatures. Handout of talk presented at the ENS in Paris, France, at the MIT-Paris Workshop on Presupposition and Implicature. MIT and Harvard University.
- Chierchia, G., Fox, D., Spector, B. (2008). The grammatical view of scalar implicatures and the relationship between semantics and pragmatics. In Portner P., Maienborn C., & von Heusinger K. (Eds.), Handbook of semantics. New York, NY: Mouton de Gruyter.
- Dalrymple M., Kanazawa M., Kim Y., Mchombo S., Peters S. (1998) Reciprocal expressions and the concept of reciprocity. Linguistics and Philosophy 21: 159–210 CrossRef
- Fox, D. (2006). Too many alternatives: Density, symmetry, and other predicaments. In Proceedings of SALT 17 (to appear).
- Fox, D. (2007a). Free choice disjunction and the theory of scalar implicature. In U. Sauerland P. Stateva (Eds.), Presupposition and implicature in compositional semantics (pp. 71–120). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Fox, D. (2007b). Implicatures. Lecture Notes, 24.954: Pragmatics in Linguistic Theory. MIT, Fall, 2007.
- Fox D., Hackl M. (2006) The universal density of measurement. Linguistics and Philosophy 29: 537–586 CrossRef
- Gazdar G. (1979) Pragmatics. NY: Academic Press, New York
- Geurts B. (2005) Entertaining alternatives: Disjunctions asmodals. Natural Language Semantics 13: 383–410 CrossRef
- Groenendijk, J., Stokhof, M. (1984). Studies on the semantics of questions and the pragmatics of answers. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Amsterdam.
- Hirschberg, J. (1985). A theory of scalar implicature. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.
- Horn L. (1989) A natural history of negation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
- Hurford J. (1974) Exclusive or inclusive disjunction. Foundations of Language 11: 409–411
- Jackson F. (1979) On assertion and indicative conditionals. Philosophical Review 88: 565–589 CrossRef
- Karttunen L. (1974) Presupposition and linguistic context. Theoretical Linguistics 1: 181–193 CrossRef
- Katzir, R. (2007). Structural complexity and the computation of scalar implicature. Handout of Talk Presented at the ENS in Paris, France, at the MIT-Paris Workshop on Presupposition and Implicature, MIT and Harvard University.
- Katzir, R. (to appear). Structurally defined alternatives. Linguistics and Philosophy.
- Kratzer A. (1989) An investigation of the lumps of thought. Linguistics and Philosophy 12: 607–653 CrossRef
- Krifka, M. (1999). At least some determiners aren’t determiners. In K. Turner (Ed.), The semantics/pragmatics interface from different points of view (pp. 257–291).
- Kroch, A. (1972). Lexical and inferred meanings for some time adverbs. Quarterly Progress Reports of the Research Laboratory of Electronics, 104 (pp. 260–267). Cambridge, Mass: MIT.
- Levinson S. (1983) Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
- Magri, G. (2007). A theory of individual level predicates based onblind scalar implicatures. Manuscript, MIT.
- Rooth M. (1992) A theory of focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1: 75–116 CrossRef
- Russell B. (2006) Against grammatical computation of scalar implicatures. Journal of Semantics 23: 361–382 CrossRef
- Sauerland U. (2004) Scalar implicatures in complex sentences. Linguistics and Philosophy 27: 367–391 CrossRef
- Schlenker, P. (2008). Local contexts. Manuscript, ENS, Paris, and NYU, New York, NY.
- Schulz K, van Rooij R. (2006) Pragmatic meaning and non-monotonic reasoning: The case of exhaustive interpretation. Linguistics and Philosophy 29: 205–250 CrossRef
- Simons M. (2000) Issues in the semantics and pragmatics of disjunction. NY: New York, Garland
- Singh, R. (2006). Eager for distinctness. In J. Huitink & S. Katrenko (Eds.), Proceedings of the Eleventh ESSLLI Student Session (pp. 76–89).
- Spector, B. (2005). Scalar implicatures: Exhaustivity and gricean reasoning. In M. Aloni, A. Butler, P. Dekker (Eds.), Questions in dynamic semantics. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
- Spector, B. (2006). Aspects de la pragmatique des ope´rateurs logiques. Doctoral Dissertation, Universite of Paris 7.
- van Rooij R., Schulz K. (2004) Exhaustive interpretation of complex sentences. Journal of Logic, Language, and Information 13: 491–519 CrossRef
- van Rooij, R., & Schulz, K. (2007). Only: Meaning and implicature. In P. Dekker et al. (Eds.), Questions and answers (pp. 199–224).
- von Fintel K. (1997) Bare plurals, bare conditionals, and only. Journal of Semantics 14: 1–56 CrossRef
- Zimmerman T.E. (2000) Free choice disjunction and epistemic possibility. Natural Language Semantics 8: 255–290 CrossRef
- On the interpretation of disjunction: asymmetric, incremental, and eager for inconsistency
Linguistics and Philosophy
Volume 31, Issue 2 , pp 245-260
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Local implicatures
- Hurford’s Constraint
- Incremental interpretation
- Raj Singh (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA