Supplements within a Unidimensional Semantics I: Scope

  • Philippe Schlenker
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6042)


Potts (2005, 2007) claims that Grice’s ‘conventional implicatures’ offer a powerful argument in favor of a multidimensional semantics, one in which certain expressions fail to interact scopally with various operators because their meaning is located in a separate dimension. Focusing on Non-Restrictive Relative Clauses (= NRRs), we explore an alternative to Potts’s bidimensional account. In our analysis, (1) NRRs can be syntactically attached with matrix scope, despite their appearance in embedded positions; (2) NRRs can in some cases be syntactically attached within the scope of other operators (whether attitudinal or not), in which case they semantically interact with them; (3) NRRs are semantically conjoined with the rest of the sentence, but (4) they are subject to a pragmatic rule that requires that their content be relatively easy to accommodate – hence some non-trivial projection facts when NRRs do not have matrix scope. In this paper, we only develop (1) and (2), which pertain to the scopal behavior of NRRs. (1), which is in full agreement with the classic ‘high attachment’ analysis of NRRs, shows that Potts’s semantic machinery is not necessary: its effects follow from more conservative semantic assumptions once an adequate syntax is postulated. Because of (2), Potts’s machinery makes incorrect predictions when NRRs have a non-matrix attachment and interact scopally with other operators. Semantic arguments for (2) were given in Wang et al. 2005 and Amaral et al. 2007, but were re-analyzed in pragmatic terms in Harris and Potts 2009a, b; we provide new evidence that suggests that in some cases the latter analysis is implausible.


supplements appositives non-restrictive relative clauses 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amaral, P., Roberts, C., Allyn Smith, E.: Review of The Logic of Conventional Implicatures by Chris Potts. Linguistics and Philosophy 30, 707–749 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cinque, G.: Two Types of Non-Restrictive Relatives. In: Bonami, O., Cabredo Hofherr, P. (eds.) Empirical Issues in Syntax and Semantics, vol. 7, pp. 99–137 (2008)Google Scholar
  3. Del Gobbo, F.: Appositives at the Interface. PhD dissertation, University of California (2003)Google Scholar
  4. Harris, J.A., Potts, C.: Perspective-shifting with appositives and expressives. Ms., UMass Amherst and Stanford University (2009a) Google Scholar
  5. Harris, J.A., Potts, C.: Predicting Perspectival Orientation for Appositives. To appear in CLS 45 (2009b)Google Scholar
  6. Macià, J.: Presuposicion y significado expressivo. Theoria: Revista de Teoria, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 3(45), 499–513 (2002)Google Scholar
  7. McCawley, J.D.: The Syntactic Phenomena of English, vol. 2. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1988)Google Scholar
  8. Potts, C.: The Logic of Conventional Implicatures. Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2005)Google Scholar
  9. Potts, C.: The expressive dimension. Theoretical Linguistics 33(2), 165–197 (2007) Published with commentaries by several researchers, and replies by PottsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Potts, C.: Conventional implicature and expressive content. In: Maienborn, C., von Heusinger, K., Portner, P. (eds.) Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. DeGruyter (to appear)Google Scholar
  11. Potts, C., et al.: Expressives and Identity Conditions. Linguistic Inquiry 40(2), 356–366 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Sauerland, U.: Beyond unpluggability. Theoretical Linguistics 33(2), 231–236 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Schlenker, P.: A plea for monsters. Linguistics and Philosophy 26(1), 29–120 (2003)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  14. Schlenker, P.: Expressive presuppositions. Theoretical Linguistics 33(2), 237–245 (2007)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  15. Wang, L., Reese, B., McCready, E.: The projection problem of nominal appositives. Snippets 10, 13–14 (2005)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philippe Schlenker
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRSNew York University 

Personalised recommendations