Relational domains and the interpretation of reciprocals
- 672 Downloads
We argue that a comprehensive theory of reciprocals must rely on a general taxonomy of restrictions on the interpretation of relational expressions. Developing such a taxonomy, we propose a new principle for interpreting reciprocals that relies on the interpretation of the relation in their scope. This principle, the Maximal Interpretation Hypothesis (MIH), analyzes reciprocals as partial polyadic quantifiers. According to the MIH, the partial quantifier denoted by a reciprocal requires the relational expression REL in its scope to denote a maximal relation in REL’s interpretation domain. In this way the MIH avoids a priori assumptions on the available readings of reciprocal expressions, which are necessary in previous accounts. Relying extensively on the work of Dalrymple et al. (Ling Philos 21:159–210, 1998), we show that the MIH also exhibits some observational improvements over Dalrymple et al.’s Strongest Meaning Hypothesis (SMH). In addition to deriving some attested reciprocal interpretations that are not expected by the SMH, the MIH offers a more restrictive account of the way context affects the interpretation of reciprocals through its influence on relational domains. Further, the MIH generates a reciprocal interpretation at the predicate level, which is argued to be advantageous to Dalrymple et al.’s propositional selection of reciprocal meanings. More generally, we argue that by focusing on restrictions on relational domains, the MIH opens the way for a more systematic study of the ways in which lexical meaning, world knowledge and contextual information interact with the interpretation of quantificational expressions.
KeywordsReciprocals Relational domains Quantifiers
This paper develops and extends some of the main ideas in Sabato and Winter (2005). The work of the authors was partially supported by an Israeli Science Foundation grant “Formal Semantics of the SMH” (2005/2006) to the second author. In addition, the work of the first author was partially supported by the Adams Fellowship Program of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The work of the second author was partially supported by two grants of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO): “Reciprocal Expressions and Relational Processes in Language” (2007/2008) and a VICI grant number 277-80-002, “Between Logic and Common Sense: the formal semantics of words” (2010–2015). The first author is also grateful for financial help of Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, while working on her MSc thesis (Sabato 2006). For remarks and discussions, we are grateful to Lev Beklemishev, Arik Cohen, Mary Dalrymple, Nissim Francez, Alon Itai, Sophia Katrenko, Ed Keenan, Beth Levin, Alda Mari, Sam Mchombo, Stanley Peters, Galit Sassoon, Maria Spychalska, Assaf Toledo and Hanna de Vries, as well as to audiences at Amsterdam Colloquium (2005), Mathematics of Language (2005) and Workshop on Logic, Language, Information and Computation (2011), at the workshops on reciprocals (Utrecht and Berlin 2007), as well as at talks at Tel-Aviv University, Technion, Radboud University Nijmegen, New York University and UCLA. Special thanks to Martin Everaert, Na’ama Friedmann, Nir Kerem, Ya’acov Peterzil, Eva Poortman, Eric Reuland, Remko Scha, Marijn Struiksma and Joost Zwarts for extensive discussions in various stages of this work. We thank two anonymous L&P reviewers for their useful comments on a previous version. The illustrations in Fig. 5 were made by Ruth Noy Shapira.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.
- Beck, S., & von Stechow, A. (2007). Pluractional adverbials. Journal of Semantics, 24(3), 215–254. http://jos.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/3/215.abstract
- Blutner, R. (2009). Lexical pragmatics. In L. Cummings (Ed.), The pragmatics encyclopedia. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Carlson, G. N. (1977). Reference to kinds in English. Ph.D. thesis, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.Google Scholar
- Dalrymple, M., Kanazawa, M., Mchombo, S., & Peters, S. (1994). What do reciprocals mean? In Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory, SALT4, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
- Dotlačil, J., & Nilsen, Ø. (2008). ‘The others’ compared to ‘each other’—consequences for the theory of reciprocity. In T. Friedman & S. Ito (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th semantics and linguistic theory conference, held march 21–23, 2008 at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst (pp. 248–265).Google Scholar
- Dougherty R. C. (1974) The syntax and semantics of each other constructions. Foundations of Language 12: 1–47Google Scholar
- Fiengo R., Lasnik H. (1973) The logical structure of reciprocal sentences in English. Foundations of Language 9: 447–468Google Scholar
- Gardent, C., & Konrad, K. (2000). Understanding each other. In Proceedings of the first annual meeting of the North American chapter of the association for computational linguistics, Seattle.Google Scholar
- Heim I., Lasnik H., May R. (1991) Reciprocity and plurality. Linguistic Inquiry 22: 63–101Google Scholar
- Higginbotham J. (1980) Reciprocal interpretation. Journal of Linguistic Research 1: 97–117Google Scholar
- Kański, Z. (1987). Logical symmetry and natural language reciprocals. In Proceedings of the 1987 Debrecen symposium on language and logic (pp. 49–69). Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest.Google Scholar
- Kennedy, C. (1999). Projecting the adjective: The syntax and semantics of gradability and comparison. New York: Garland Press. (A published version of a 1997 UCSC Ph.D. thesis.)Google Scholar
- Kerem, N., Friedmann, N., & Winter, Y. (2009). Typicality effects and the logic of reciprocity. In E. Cormany, S. Ito, & D. Lutz (Eds.), Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory, SALT19 (pp. 257–274). eLanguage.Google Scholar
- Langendoen D. T. (1978) The logic of reciprocity. Linguistic Inquiry 9: 177–197Google Scholar
- Levin B. (1993) English verb classes and alternations. The University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
- Mari, A. (2006). Linearizing sets: each other. In O. Bonami & P. C. Hofherr (Eds.), Empirical issues in syntax and semantics 6. Only available electronically from http://www.cssp.cnrs.fr/eiss6.
- Peters S., Westerståhl D. (2006) Quantifiers in language and logic. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Pustejovsky J. (1995) The generative lexicon. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
- Rett, J. (2011). The semantics of equatives. Unpublished Ms., UCLA Linguistics.Google Scholar
- Roberts, C. (1987). Modal subordination, anaphora, and distributivity. PhD thesis, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.Google Scholar
- Sabato, S. (2006). The semantics of reciprocal expressions in natural language. Unpublished MSc thesis, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
- Sabato, S., & Winter, Y. (2005). From semantic restrictions to reciprocal meanings. In Proceedings of FG-MOL.Google Scholar
- Sabato, S., & Winter, Y. (2010). Against partitioned readings of reciprocals. In M. Everaert, T. Lentz, H. de Mulder, Ø. Nilsen, & A. Zondervan (Eds.), The linguistics enterprize: From knowledge of language to knowledge in linguistics. Linguistik Aktuell. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
- Scha, R. (1981). Distributive, collective and cumulative quantification. In J. Groenendijk, M. Stokhof, & T. M. V. Janssen (Eds.), Formal methods in the study of language. Amsterdam: Mathematisch Centrum.Google Scholar
- Schwarzschild R. (1996) Pluralities. Kluwer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
- Smith, E. E. (1988). Concepts and thought. In R. J. Sternberg & E. E. Smith (Eds.) The psychology of human thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Sternefeld, W. (1997). Reciprocity and cumulative predication. In F. Hamm & E. Hinrichs (Eds.), Plurality and quantification. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
- Struiksma, M., Kerem, N., Poortman, E., Friedmann, N., & Winter, Y. (2012). Typicality, binary concepts and the interpretation of reciprocity. Unpublished ms., Utrecht University, in preparation.Google Scholar
- Tutte W. T. (2001) Graph theory. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- van den Berg, M. (1996). Some aspects of the internal structure of discourse. The dynamics of nominal anaphora. PhD thesis, Institute for Logic Language and Computation (ILLC), University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
- van der Does, J. (1992). Applied quantifier logics: Collectives, naked infinitives, PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
- van Rooij, R. (2010). Measurement and interadjective comparisons. Journal of Semantics. http://jos.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/11/21/jos.ffq018.abstract.
- Winter, Y. (1996). What does the strongest meaning hypothesis mean? In Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory, SALT6.Google Scholar
- Winter Y. (2001a) Flexibility principles in Boolean semantics: Coordination, plurality and scope in natural language. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar