Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Semantics and Pragmatics Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

369 Full-Text Articles 401 Authors 163,461 Downloads 64 Institutions

All Articles in Semantics and Pragmatics

Faceted Search

369 full-text articles. Page 1 of 13.

A Corpus Study Of The Development Of The Adjective Phrase In French Children, Avery Elizabeth Baggett 2022 University of Kentucky

A Corpus Study Of The Development Of The Adjective Phrase In French Children, Avery Elizabeth Baggett

Theses and Dissertations--Linguistics

In this thesis I attempt to answer three questions:

H1) Do children use proportionally more prenominal or post-nominal placement of adjectives than adults?

H2) Are children more conservative or more creative in their behavior in alternating prenominal and post-nominal placement of adjectives?

H3) If colored terms are more frequent in child speech will they pattern more like prenominal adjectives or more like post nominal adjectives, as in adult speech?

To do this, I examine two general semantic viewpoints, opting to use Scontras & Goodman (2017) subjectivity hypothesis. Next, I provide a general overview of First Language Acquisition research and then I ...


Finding The Means : The Bilingual Disparity In Semantic Context Use For Processing, Iyad Ghanim 2022 Montclair State University

Finding The Means : The Bilingual Disparity In Semantic Context Use For Processing, Iyad Ghanim

Theses, Dissertations and Culminating Projects

Early and late bilinguals both differ in the speed with which they comprehend language or in their processing of sentences compared to monolinguals. This is possibly a result of crosslanguage interference, differential allocation of cognitive resources, or some other difference in language-dependent processes. This dissertation presents research and review focusing on one such language dependent process — the use of sentential context and lexical-associative semantic information — to process sentences. In a series of studies, 34 bilinguals and 28 monolinguals complete a retroactive masked priming task, which provides an isolated measure of the use of semantic information to backwards recognize degraded visual ...


Linguistic Variation From Cognitive Variability: The Case Of English 'Have', Muye Zhang 2021 Yale University

Linguistic Variation From Cognitive Variability: The Case Of English 'Have', Muye Zhang

Linguistics Graduate Dissertations

In this dissertation, I seek to construct a model of meaning variation built upon variability in linguistic structure, conceptual structure, and cognitive makeup, and in doing so, exemplify an approach to studying meaning that is both linguistically principled and neuropsychologically grounded. As my test case, I make use of the English lexical item ‘have' by proposing a novel analysis of its meaning based on its well-described variability in English and its embed- ding into crosslinguistically consistent patterns of variation and change.

I support this analysis by investigating its real-time comprehension patterns through behavioral, electropsychophysiological, and hemodynamic brain data, thereby incorporating ...


“Living Document”: From Documents To Documentality, From Mimesis To Performative Indexicality, Ronald E. Day 2021 Indiana University - Bloomington

“Living Document”: From Documents To Documentality, From Mimesis To Performative Indexicality, Ronald E. Day

Proceedings from the Document Academy

In this article, in distinction to documentation as an epistemic understanding of documents, I will discuss the epistemology of documentality as an indexical theory of documental functions, which I will develop through Bruno Latour’s notion of information. This notion of indexicality is different than Suzanne Briet’s notion of indexicality (which I have discussed elsewhere (Briet, 2006)).

I will begin this paper with an historical problem that illustrates the issues of viewing documents as content representation. This is the problem identified by Vincent Debaene (Debaene, 2014) in early and mid-twentieth century French field anthropology of the “two book” phenomenon ...


The Syntactic And Semantic Atoms Of The Spray/Load Alternation, Michael A. Wilson 2021 University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Syntactic And Semantic Atoms Of The Spray/Load Alternation, Michael A. Wilson

Doctoral Dissertations

What is the relationship between the word spray in the sentence John sprayed the paint onto the wall and its identically pronounced counterpart in John sprayed the wall with the paint? At some level, we recognize these two uses of spray as the same word. But the fact that they combine with their arguments in different ways means they cannot be identical. The relationship between these two uses of spray—called the spray/load alternation—is productive in a way that a descriptively adequate grammar of English should capture. Other verbs show the same pattern, adults and children extend it ...


The Event Structure Of Attitudes, Deniz Özyıldız 2021 University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Event Structure Of Attitudes, Deniz Özyıldız

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation focuses on what it means to think that or to think whether something is the case. First, I show that the type of clause that think combines with makes a difference in the kind of attitude a thought report ascribes, and in the kind of eventuality that it describes. With a declarative complement, think entails belief and introduces an eventuality description that may (but need not be) stative. With a question complement, think introduces an eventuality description that is necessarily dynamic, and often deliberative. In this case, there is no entailment of belief, but one of agnosticism and ...


Does Justice Have A Syntax?, Steven L. Winter 2021 Wayne State University Law School

Does Justice Have A Syntax?, Steven L. Winter

Law Faculty Research Publications

No abstract provided.


Language As The Medium: A Literature Review. Harnessing The Prolific Power Of Dramatic Language As A Therapeutic Tool In Drama Therapy, Edward Freeman 2021 Lesley University

Language As The Medium: A Literature Review. Harnessing The Prolific Power Of Dramatic Language As A Therapeutic Tool In Drama Therapy, Edward Freeman

Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses

Language in and of the theatre, with its palate of variegated writing styles and playwrights from throughout time, has the potential to be harnessed, focused, and systematized for use as a therapeutic tool within drama therapy – the field’s artistic medium. Drama therapy could benefit from having a specific medium germane to its artform which has the potential to provide practitioners with a common resource and means of communication, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning, as well as align the field with other creative arts therapies. Language encompasses all forms of human communication – speaking, writing, signing, gesturing, expressing facially – and voice ...


Fable In Action: A Discourse Analysis Approach To The Life Of Aesop, Martha Hamilton McCafferty 2021 University of Mississippi

Fable In Action: A Discourse Analysis Approach To The Life Of Aesop, Martha Hamilton Mccafferty

Honors Theses

In this essay, I examine instances of fable-telling throughout the Life of Aesop in a new light by using linguistic theories from the subfield of Pragmatics in my analysis. I suggest that the author’s purpose in composing the Life of Aesop is to instruct his audience on how to use fable effectively, and that Aesop serves as both the positive and negative example for this lesson. I begin by considering the nature of fable and demonstrate why it is necessary to define fable in reference to the social action which it performs. I then address the complex position of ...


Shifting The Perspectival Landscape: Methods For Encoding, Identifying, And Selecting Perspectives, Carolyn Jane Anderson 2021 University of Massachusetts Amherst

Shifting The Perspectival Landscape: Methods For Encoding, Identifying, And Selecting Perspectives, Carolyn Jane Anderson

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation explores the semantics and pragmatics of perspectival expressions. Perspective, or point-of-view, encompasses an individual’s thoughts, perceptions, and location. Many expressions in natural language have components of their meanings that shift depending on whose perspective they are evaluated against. In this dissertation, I explore two sets of questions relating to perspective sensitivity. The first set of questions relate to how perspective is encoded in the semantics of perspectival expressions. The second set of questions relate to how conversation participants treat perspectival expressions: the speaker’s selection of a perspective and the listener’s identification of the speaker’s ...


The Non-Uniformity Of Chinese Wh-Indefinites Through The Lens Of Algebraic Structure, Zhuo Chen 2021 The Graduate Center, City University of New York

The Non-Uniformity Of Chinese Wh-Indefinites Through The Lens Of Algebraic Structure, Zhuo Chen

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

This dissertation investigates the non-uniformity of Chinese wh-indefinites. The different algebraic structures associated with the different wh-indefinites are shown to play a signif- icant role in determining their possible readings. Specifically, those wh-indefinites that are associated with an unordered algebraic structure can give rise to an epistemic reading in both positive and negative sentences. Those wh-indefinites that are associated with a structure of total ordering never have an epistemic reading. They have an existential reading in posi- tive sentences and generate an insignificance reading under a clausemate negation. Shenme ‘what’ is a special in that it straddles both types of ...


The Occurrence Of Fluency Disorders In Individuals With Down Syndrome And Autism Spectrum Disorders, Julia Thomas 2021 The University of Akron

The Occurrence Of Fluency Disorders In Individuals With Down Syndrome And Autism Spectrum Disorders, Julia Thomas

Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects

Including a comprehensive literature review of research studies in fluency disorders, this project will aim to observe how stuttering and fluency disorders affects individuals with Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The literature reviews will include case studies where the goal was to add techniques to everyday speech which reduced the overall occurrence of stuttering behavior and the negative psychosocial impacts on the individuals in the case studies. After thorough review of the case studies and other related literature, two surveys will be developed for possible administration to caretakers for people with Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders who stutter ...


Every Ambiguity Isn’T Syntactic In Nature: Testing The Rational Speech Act Model Of Scope Ambiguity, Sherry Yong Chen, Bob van Tiel 2021 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Every Ambiguity Isn’T Syntactic In Nature: Testing The Rational Speech Act Model Of Scope Ambiguity, Sherry Yong Chen, Bob Van Tiel

Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics

Utterances like ‘Every guest didn’t leave’ are ambiguous between a reading according to which no guest left and a reading according to which not all of the guests left. This ambiguity is often explained by assuming that ‘every-not’ utterances have two different syntactic parses. However, experimental studies have shown that pragmatic factors, such as prior probabilities and the question under discussion, also play an important role in the interpretation of ambiguous ‘every-not’ utterances. Recently, Scontras and Pearl (2020) put forward a probabilistic model of ambiguity resolution that makes it possible to quantify the relative contribution of syntactic and pragmatic ...


Vowel Harmony Viewed As Error-Correcting Code, Yvo Meeres, Tommi A. Pirinen 2021 University of Hamburg, Germany

Vowel Harmony Viewed As Error-Correcting Code, Yvo Meeres, Tommi A. Pirinen

Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics

Robustness reduces the risk of information loss. At present the notion of error-correcting codes (ECCs) is used to achieve robustness in technical fields only. Viewing fault-tolerant natural systems as systems equipped with error-correcting codes permits a formal comparison of natural and technical robustness.

Instancing natural language (NL), we show differences in technical and natural error-correcting approaches. By picking a specific grammar phenomenon which some NLs exhibit – vowel harmony (VH) – we show that (1) VH can be formalized as an ECC as well as (2) VH adds to the robustness of its NL. We provide empirical as well as formal evidence ...


‘Most’ Vs ‘More Than Half’: An Alternatives Explanation, Fausto Carcassi, Jakub Szymanik 2021 University of Amsterdam

‘Most’ Vs ‘More Than Half’: An Alternatives Explanation, Fausto Carcassi, Jakub Szymanik

Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics

While 'most' and 'more than half' are generally assumed to be truth-conditionally equivalent, the former is usually interpreted as conveying greater proportions than the latter. Previous work has attempted to explain this difference in terms of pragmatic strengthening or variation in meanings. In this paper, we propose a novel explanation that keeps the truth-conditions equivalence. We support this explanation with a computational model of usage in the Rational Speech Act framework. We find that the difference in typical proportions associated with the two expressions can be explained with previously independently motivated semantic and pragmatic mechanisms.


Predicting Scalar Inferences From "Or" To "Not Both" Using Neural Sentence Encoders, Elissa Li, Sebastian Schuster, Judith Degen 2021 Stanford University

Predicting Scalar Inferences From "Or" To "Not Both" Using Neural Sentence Encoders, Elissa Li, Sebastian Schuster, Judith Degen

Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics

No abstract provided.


Gendered Use Of Language In Facebook Status Updates Among Jordanian And American Youths: A Sociopragmatic Study, Ashraf Wenas Al Sad 2021 West Virginia University

Gendered Use Of Language In Facebook Status Updates Among Jordanian And American Youths: A Sociopragmatic Study, Ashraf Wenas Al Sad

Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports

The study examines the types of speech acts of Facebook status updates that are posted by Jordanian and American youth. The participants were from Yarmouk University which is located in northern Jordan and from West Virginia University which is located in the US. The data was elicited from 50 American males, 50 American females, 50 Jordanian males, and 50 Jordanian females. Searle’s taxonomy was used to do the content analysis of the data. Searle’s taxonomy and additional speech acts were found: directive, expressive, assertive, God’s invocation, humor, and quotation. The findings of the study indicate that the ...


The Emptiness Of The Present: Fronting Constructions As A Window To The Semantics Of Tense, Petr Kusliy 2020 University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Emptiness Of The Present: Fronting Constructions As A Window To The Semantics Of Tense, Petr Kusliy

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation is devoted to the temporal interpretation of fronting constructions in English and the phenomenon of the Sequence of Tense. It provides and analyzes previously unobserved data from verb phrase fronting constructions in which the simultaneous interpretation of a present tense embedded under a matrix past tense is available. These data are theoretically unexpected and challenging because most theories of English tense disallow this interpretation for Present-under-Past configurations.

An account that captures the new data is proposed. It establishes a connection between the simultaneous interpretation of Present-under-Past and the mode of semantic composition between a verb and its complement ...


Talking About Her(Self): Ambiguity Avoidance And Principle B. A Theoretical And Psycholinguistic Investigation Of Romanian Pronouns, Rudmila-Rodica Ivan 2020 University of Massachusetts Amherst

Talking About Her(Self): Ambiguity Avoidance And Principle B. A Theoretical And Psycholinguistic Investigation Of Romanian Pronouns, Rudmila-Rodica Ivan

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation answers a deceivingly simple question: why can her in Hermione talked about her refer to the sentence subject in Romanian, but not in English? The Romanian facts, which are surprising for both classic and competition-based accounts of the Binding Theory over the last 40 odd years, bring us to the following overarching question: what are the constraints on pronominal reference? To address these main questions, I carry out a psycholinguistic investigation of Romanian pronouns and argue that the distribution and interpretation of pronominal forms is jointly determined by pragmatic and morphosyntactic constraints.

I discuss evidence from four experiments ...


Representing Context: Presupposition Triggers And Focus-Sensitivity, Alexander Goebel 2020 University of Massachusetts Amherst

Representing Context: Presupposition Triggers And Focus-Sensitivity, Alexander Goebel

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation investigates the role of Focus-sensitivity for a typology of presupposition triggers. The central hypothesis is that Focus-sensitive triggers require a linguistic antecedent in the discourse model, whereas presuppositions of triggers lacking Focus-sensitivity are satisfied as entailments of the Common Ground. This hypothesis is supported by experimental evidence from two borne out predictions. First, Focus-sensitive triggers are sensitive to the salience of the antecedent satisfying their presupposition, as operationalized via the Question Under Discussion, and lead to interference-type effects, while triggers lacking Focus-sensitivity are indifferent to the QUD-structure. Second, Focus-sensitive triggers are harder to globally accommodate than triggers lacking ...


Digital Commons powered by bepress