Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 313–359 | Cite as

Implicit complements: a dilemma for model theoretic semantics

Article

Abstract

I show that words with indefinite implicit complements occasion a dilemma for their model theory. There has been only two previous attempts to address this problem, one by Fodor and Fodor (1980) and one by Dowty (1981). Each requires that any word tolerating an implicit complement be treated as ambiguous between two different lexical entries and that a meaning postulate or lexical rule be given to constrain suitably the meanings of the various entries for the word. I show that the positing of such an ambiguity runs counter to the facts and propose an alternative solution which does not appeal to ambiguity, meaning postulates or lexical rules. Indeed, I show that the dilemma posed by indefinite implicit complements is posed by all implicit complements and that a general solution to the problem of implicit complements follows from an independently motivated, single treatment of five other problems, that of subcategorization, that of phrasal projections of words, that of defining a model theoretic structure for phrase structure grammars, that of complement polyvalence and that of complement polyadicity.

Keywords

Model theory Implicit arguments Optional complements Subcategorization Meaning postulates Deixis Reciprocal Reflexive Passive Context sensitivity 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allerton D. J. (1975) Deletion and proform reduction. Journal of Linguistics 11: 213–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allerton D. J. (1982) Valency and the English verb. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Bach, E. (1964). Subcategories in transformational grammars. In H. Lunt (Ed.), Proceedings of the ninth international congress of linguists (pp. 672–678). The Hague: Mouton and Co.Google Scholar
  4. Bach, K. (1994). Semantic slack: What is said and more. In S. L. Tsohatzidis (Ed.), Foundations of speech act theory: Philosophical and linguistic perspectives (pp. 267–291). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Bartsch, R., & Vennemann, T. (1972). Semantic structures. Frankfurt: Athenäum.Google Scholar
  6. Bresnan, J. (1982). The passive in lexical theory. In J. Bresnan (Ed.), The mental representation of grammatical relations (pp. 3–86). Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  7. Cappelen H., Hawthorne J. (2009) Relativism and monadic truth. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cappelen H., Lepore E. (2005) Insensitive semantics. Blackwell, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carnap R. (1952) Meaning postulates. Philosophical Studies 3: 65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carpenter, B. (1997). Type-logical semantics. Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  11. Chierchia, G., & McConnell-Ginet, S. (1990/2000). Meaning and grammar (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  12. Chomsky, N. (1956). Three models for the description of language. IRE Transactions of Information Theory, 2(3), 113–124. (Reprinted from Handbook of mathematical psychology, (Vol. 2, pp. 105–124), by R. D. Luce, R. R. Bush, & E. Galanter, Eds., 1963, New York: Wiley).Google Scholar
  13. Chomsky, N. (1957). Syntactic structures. The Hague: Mouton Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  14. Chomsky, N. (1959). On certain formal properties of grammars. Information and Control, 2(2), 137–167. (Reprinted from Handbook of mathematical psychology, (Vol. 2), pp. 124–155, by R. D. Luce, R. R. Bush, & E. Galanter, Eds., 1963, New York: Wiley).Google Scholar
  15. Chomsky, N. (1965). Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  16. Chomsky, N. (1970). Remarks on nominalization. In R. Jacobs & P. Rosenbaum (Eds.), Readings in English transformational grammar. Waltham, MA: Blaisdell. (Reprinted from Studies on semantics in generative grammar, pp. 11–62, by N. Chomsky, Ed., 1972, The Hague: Mouton Publishing Co.)Google Scholar
  17. Chung S., Ladusaw W. A., McCloskey J. (1995) Sluicing and logical form. Natural Language Semantics 3: 239–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Church, A. (1956). Introduction to mathematical logic (Vol. 1). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Condoravdi, C., & Gawron, J.-M. (1996). The context-dependency of implicit arguments. In M. Kanazawa, C. J. Piñón, & H. de Swart (Eds.), Quantifiers, deduction, and context (pp. 1–32). Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar
  20. Cresswell, M. J. (1973). Logics and languages. London: Methuen and Co.Google Scholar
  21. Dowty, D. (1979). Word meaning and Montague Grammar: The semantics of verbs and times in generative semantics and in Montague’s PTQ. Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy (Vol. 7). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  22. Dowty, D. (1981). Quantification and the lexicon: A reply to Fodor and Fodor. In M. H. Moortgat & H. v.d. Hoekstra (Eds.), The scope of lexical rules (pp. 79–106). Dordrecht: Foris.Google Scholar
  23. Dowty, D. R., Wall, R. E., & Peters, S. (1981). Introduction to Montague semantics. Synthèse Language Library (Vol. 11). Dordrecht: D. Reidel.Google Scholar
  24. Emonds, J. (1972). Evidence that indirect object movement is a structure preserving rule. Foundations of Language, 8, 546–561.Google Scholar
  25. Enderton, H. B. (1972/2001). A mathematical introduction to logic (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Harcourt/Academic Press.Google Scholar
  26. Fillmore, C. (1986). Pragmatically controlled zero anaphora. In Proceedings of the annual meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society (Vol. 12, pp. 95–107). Berkeley, CA: BLS.Google Scholar
  27. Fodor, J., & Fodor, J. D. (1980). Functional structure, quantifiers and meaning postulates. Linguistic Inquiry, 11, 759–769.Google Scholar
  28. Gillon, B. S. (2004). Ambiguity, indeterminacy, deixis and vagueness: Evidence and theory. In S. Davis & B. Gillon (Eds.), Semantics: A reader (pp. 157–187). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Gillon, B. S. (2011). French relational words, context sensitivity and implicit complement arguments. Current Research in the Semantics–Pragmatics Interface (Making Semantics Pragmatic), 24, 143–163.Google Scholar
  30. Gillon, B. S. (in press). Optional complements of English verbs and adjectives. In R. de Almeida & C. Manouilidou (Eds.), Verb concepts: Cognitive science perspectives on verb representation and processing.Google Scholar
  31. Grimshaw J. (1979) Complement selection and the Lexicon. Linguistic Inquiry 10(2): 279–326Google Scholar
  32. Groefsema M. (1995) Understood arguments: A semantic/pragmatic approach. Lingua 96: 139–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Heim I., Kratzer A. (1998) Semantics in generative grammar. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  34. Hodges W. (1997) A shorter model theory. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  35. Huddleston, R. (2002). The clause: Complements. In R. Huddleston & G. K. Pullum (Eds.), The Cambridge grammar of the English language (Chap. 4). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Iten, C., Junker, M.-O., Pyke, A., Stainton, R., & Wearing, C. (2004). The semantics and syntax of null complements (unpublished).Google Scholar
  37. Iten, C., Junker, M.-O., Pyke, A., Stainton, R., & Wearing, C. (2005). Null complements: licensed by syntax or by semantics-pragmatics? In Proceedings of the 2004 annual conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association.Google Scholar
  38. Jackendoff, R. S. (1973). The base rules for prepositional phrases. In S. R. Anderson & P. Kiparsky (Eds.), A festschrift for Morris Halle (pp. 345–356). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  39. Jackendoff, R. (1989). What is a concept, that a person may grasp it. Mind and Language, 4, 68–102. (Reprinted from Semantics: A reader, pp. 322–345, by S. Davis & B. Gillon, Eds., 2004, Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  40. Jespersen, O. (1924). The philosophy of grammar. London, England: George Allen and Unwin Ltd.Google Scholar
  41. Kamp, H., & Reyle, U. (1993). From discourse to logic: Introduction to model theoretic semantics of natural language, formal logic and discourse representation theory. Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy (Vol. 42). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  42. Kaplan, D. (1977). Demonstratives. (Reprinted from Semantics: A reader, pp. 749–789, by S. Davis & B. Gillon, Eds., 2004, Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  43. Katz, J. J. (1972). Semantic theory. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  44. Kenny, A. (1963). Action, emotion and will. London: Routledge, Kegan-Paul.Google Scholar
  45. Klein E. (1980) A semantics for positive and comparative adjectives. Linguistics and Philosophy 4(1): 1–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Klein E., Sag I. A. (1985) Type-driven translation. Linguistics and Philosophy 8(2): 163–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Klima, E. S. (1965). Studies in diachronic syntax. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.Google Scholar
  48. Lakoff, G. (1972). Linguistics and natural language. In D. Davidson & G. Harman (Eds.), Semantics of natural language (pp. 545–665). Dordrecht: D. Reidel.Google Scholar
  49. Langendoen D. T. (1978) The logic of reciprocity. Linguistic Inquiry 9(2): 177–197Google Scholar
  50. Larson, R., & Segal, G. (1995). Knowledge of meaning. Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  51. Lees, R. B. (1963). The grammar of English nominalizations. Publication… of the Indiana University Research Center in Anthropology, Folklore, and Linguistics (Vol. 12). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University.Google Scholar
  52. Levin, L. (1982). Sluicing: A lexical interpretation procedure. In J. Bresnan (Ed.), The mental representation of grammatical relations (pp. 590–654). Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  53. Levine, R. D., & Meurers, W. D. (2006). Head-driven phrase structure grammar: Linguistic approach, formal foundations and computational realization. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics (2nd ed.). Oxford: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  54. Lewis, D. (1972). General semantics. In D. Davidson & G. Harman (Eds.), Semantics of natural language (pp. 169–218). Dordrecht: D. Reidel.Google Scholar
  55. Manaster Ramer A., Kac M. B. (1990) The concept of phrase structure. Linguistics and Philosophy 13: 325–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Marker D. (2002) Model theory: An introduction. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  57. Merchant J. (2001) The syntax of silence: sluicing, islands, and the theory of ellipsis. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  58. Merchant, J. (2006). Sluicing. In M. Everaert & H. van Riemsdijk (Eds.), The syntax companion (Chap. 60, Vol. 5). London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  59. Partee, B. (1989). Binding implicit variables in quantified contexts. Papers from Twenty-fifth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, pp. 342–365.Google Scholar
  60. Pupier P. (1973) Observations sur les prédicats converses. Cahiers de Linguistique, 2: 63–84Google Scholar
  61. Quine, W. V. O. (1960). Word and object. Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  62. Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., & Svartik, J. (1985). A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  63. Rice, S. (1988). Unlikely lexical entries. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society (Vol. 14, pp. 202–212). Berkeley CA: BLS.Google Scholar
  64. Rosenbloom P.C. (1950) Elements of mathematical logic. Dover, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  65. Ross, J. R. (1967). Constraints on variables in syntax. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  66. Rothmaler, P. (2000). An introduction to model theory. New York: Taylor and Francis Group.Google Scholar
  67. Sag I. A., Gazdar G., Wasow T., Weisler S. (1985) Coordination and how to distinguish categories. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 3(2): 117–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sag, I., Wasow, T., & Bender, E. M. (1999/2003). Syntactic theory: A formal introduction (2nd ed.). CSLI Lecture Notes: no. 152. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.Google Scholar
  69. Schachter P. (1962) Review of Lees 1963. International Journal of American Linguistics 28(2): 134–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sweet H. (1900) English grammar: Logical and historical (2 Vols.). Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  71. Tarski, A. (1935/1956). The concept of truth in formalized languages. In J. H. Woodger (Trans.) Logic, semantics, metamathematics (2nd ed., pp. 152–178). Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Edited and Introduced by J. Corcoran, Indianopolis, IN, Hackett Publishing Company).Google Scholar
  72. Thomason, R. (Ed.). (1974). Formal philosophy. The papers of Richard Montague. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Wasow, T. (1977). Transformations and the lexicon. In P. Culicover, A. Akmajian, & T. Wasow (Eds.), Formal syntax (pp. 327–360). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  74. Whitman N. (2004) Semantics and pragmatics of English verbal dependent coordination. Language 80(3): 403–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations