Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 31–66

The interaction of compositional semantics and event semantics

Open Access
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10988-014-9162-8

Cite this article as:
Champollion, L. Linguist and Philos (2015) 38: 31. doi:10.1007/s10988-014-9162-8


Davidsonian event semantics is often taken to form an unhappy marriage with compositional semantics. For example, it has been claimed to be problematic for semantic accounts of quantification (Beaver and Condoravdi, in: Aloni et al. (eds.) Proceedings of the 16th Amsterdam Colloquium, 2007), for classical accounts of negation (Krifka, in: Bartsch et al. (eds.) Semantics and contextual expression, 1989), and for intersective accounts of verbal coordination (Lasersohn, in Plurality, conjunction and events, 1995). This paper shows that none of this is the case, once we abandon the idea that the event variable is bound at sentence level, and assume instead that verbs denote existential quantifiers over events. Quantificational arguments can then be given a semantic account, negation can be treated classically, and coordination can be modeled as intersection. The framework presented here is a natural choice for researchers and fieldworkers who wish to sketch a semantic analysis of a language without being forced to make commitments about the hierarchical order of arguments, the argument-adjunct distinction, the default scope of quantifiers, or the nature of negation and coordination.


Event semantics Thematic roles Quantifiers Negation Coordination Conjunction For-adverbials 

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© The Author(s) 2014

Open AccessThis 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.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsNYUNew YorkUSA

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