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

Semantics and Pragmatics Commons

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

277 Full-Text Articles 295 Authors 137,968 Downloads 42 Institutions

All Articles in Semantics and Pragmatics

Faceted Search

277 full-text articles. Page 1 of 8.

Guess Who’S Coming (And Who’S Going): Bringing Perspective To The Rational Speech Acts Framework, Carolyn Jane Anderson, Brian W. Dillon 2019 University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Guess Who’S Coming (And Who’S Going): Bringing Perspective To The Rational Speech Acts Framework, Carolyn Jane Anderson, Brian W. Dillon

Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics

We present a Rational Speech Acts approach to modeling how conversation participants reason about perspectival expressions. The interpretation of perspectival expressions, such as the motion verbs 'come' and 'go', depends on the point-of-view from which they are evaluated. In order to interpret a perspectival expression, the listener must jointly reason about the speaker’s intended message and their choice of perspective. We propose a Bayesian approach to this inference problem and describe an extension of the Rational Speech Acts model that incorporates perspective. We lay out three sets of predictions that this model makes relating to the lexical semantics of ...


A Conceptual Spaces Model Of Socially Motivated Language Change, Heather Burnett, Olivier Bonami 2019 CNRS

A Conceptual Spaces Model Of Socially Motivated Language Change, Heather Burnett, Olivier Bonami

Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics

This paper outlines a formal model of socially motivated language change which unites insights from identity-oriented theories of language change with formal theories of language use and understanding. We use Gärdenfors's (2000) Conceptual Spaces framework to formalize socially motivated ideological change and use signaling games with an iterated best response solution concept (Franke, 2009; Frank and Goodman, 2012) to formalize the link between ideology, linguistic meaning and language use. We then show how this new framework can be used to shed light on the mechanisms underlying socially-motivated change in French grammatical gender.


Slurs And Register: A Case Study In Meaning Pluralism, Justina Diaz-Legaspe, Chang Liu, Robert J. Stainton 2018 The University of Western Ontario

Slurs And Register: A Case Study In Meaning Pluralism, Justina Diaz-Legaspe, Chang Liu, Robert J. Stainton

Robert J. Stainton

Most theories of slurs fall into one of two families: those which understand slurring terms to involve special descriptive/informational content (however conveyed), and those which understand them to encode special emotive/expressive content. Our view is that both offer essential insights, but that part of what sets slurs apart is use-theoretic content. In particular, we urge that slurring words belong at the intersection of a number of categories in a sociolinguistic register taxonomy, one that usually includes [+slang] and [+vulgar] and always includes [-polite] and [+derogatory]. Thus, e.g., what distinguishes ‘Chinese’ from ‘chink’ is neither a peculiar sort ...


22 - “Make Me A Sandwich” - “Poof, You’Re A Sandwich!”: Ditransitive Syntax In The Brain, Haley Shea J. Barfield 2018 University of North Georgia

22 - “Make Me A Sandwich” - “Poof, You’Re A Sandwich!”: Ditransitive Syntax In The Brain, Haley Shea J. Barfield

Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (GURC)

How does the brain distinguish between sentences with nearly identical structures? Neurolinguists have begun to form a fascinating picture of language in the brain in the decades since the first observation of event-related potentials during language tasks. A deeper understanding of syntactic activity—including pattern recognition, ambiguity resolution, and interpretation of functional constituents during sentence processing—would yield insights beneficial to the fields of language education, brain-computer interface, human-computer interaction, and neurolinguistic programs for language acquisition, speech therapy, and rehabilitation of communicative disorders.

To map the brain’s responses to sentence structures, we will use scalp electroencephalography (EEG) to measure ...


Replacing The Flawed Chevron Standard, Brian G. Slocum 2018 College of William & Mary Law School

Replacing The Flawed Chevron Standard, Brian G. Slocum

William & Mary Law Review

Judicial review of agency statutory interpretations depends heavily on the linguistic concept of ambiguity. Most significantly, under Chevron, judicial deference to an agency’s interpretation hinges on whether the court determines the statute to be ambiguous. Despite its importance, the ambiguity concept has been poorly developed by courts and deviates in important respects from how linguists approach ambiguity. For instance, courts conflate ambiguity identification and disambiguation and treat ambiguity as an umbrella concept that encompasses distinct forms of linguistic indeterminacy such as vagueness and generality. The resulting ambiguity standard is unpredictable and does not adequately perform its function of mediating ...


An Experimental Study Of The Differences Between "Just" And "Only": Npi Licensing And Modal Scope, Taletha Callahan-Kanik 2018 The Graduate Center, City University of New York

An Experimental Study Of The Differences Between "Just" And "Only": Npi Licensing And Modal Scope, Taletha Callahan-Kanik

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Throughout much of the theoretical semantic literature, the two exclusives only and just have been assumed identical in their structures and semantics. This manuscript contests that assumption, using parallel examples with negative polarity items (NPIs) and modals to demonstrate the asymmetry of these exclusives. After reviewing the existing theoretical literature, I utilize these examples to inform an experimental study centering around NPIs. This experiment (influenced by Chemla, Homer, and Rothschild (2011)) employs an acceptability judgment task where participants (n=90) are asked to judge sentences containing negation, only, and just (both with and without NPIs) on a 6-point scale.

Using ...


Amount Superlatives And Measure Phrases, E. Cameron Wilson 2018 The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Amount Superlatives And Measure Phrases, E. Cameron Wilson

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

This dissertation provides a novel analysis of quantity superlatives by bringing together research on three interrelated topics: superlative ambiguity, semantic constraints on measure constructions, and the internal structure of the extended nominal phrase. I analyze the quantity words, most, least, and fewest as superlatives of quantificational adjectives (Q-adjectives), but argue that these are often embedded inside a covert measure construction, rather than directly modifying the overt noun. I also introduce novel data showing that the measure phrases that appear in overt pseudopartitive constructions have more complex internal structure than previously assumed. Specifically, they may contain adjectives, including superlative inflection in ...


Recursive Neural Networks For Semantic Sentence Representation, Liam S. Geron 2018 The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Recursive Neural Networks For Semantic Sentence Representation, Liam S. Geron

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Semantic representation has a rich history rife with both complex linguistic theory and computational models. Though this history stretches back almost 50 years (Salton, 1971), recently the field has undergone an unexpected shift in paradigm thanks to the work of Mikolov et al., 2013(a & b) which has proven that vector-space semantic models can capture large amounts of semantic information. As of yet, these semantic representations are computed at the word level, and finding a semantic representation of a phrase is a much more difficult challenge. Mikolov et al., 2013(a&b) proved that their word vectors can be composed ...


The Variable Expression Of Transitive Subject And Possesor In Wayuunaiki (Guajiro), Andres M. Sabogal 2018 Universitiy of New Mexico

The Variable Expression Of Transitive Subject And Possesor In Wayuunaiki (Guajiro), Andres M. Sabogal

Linguistics ETDs

In Wayuunaiki, verbal affixes cross-reference clausal arguments in various ways. Most notably, there are two ways to express transitive subjects, and two ways to express possessors. Much like voice alternatives, the variable expression of subject and possessor impart different perspectives on a situation type, but unlike traditional voice categories, syntactic valence remains equal. This dissertation characterizes these constructions with a specific question in mind: what do these two cross-referencing alternations communicate and what influences their usage? To answer these questions, I consider the linguistic properties observed in the usage of these constructions in narratives (Jusayú 1986, 1994), and informal conversations ...


Hilltops And Marches: A Cultural And Semiotic Analysis Of Pepsi And Coca-Cola Advertising Strategies, Samuel Herrmann 2018 Liberty University

Hilltops And Marches: A Cultural And Semiotic Analysis Of Pepsi And Coca-Cola Advertising Strategies, Samuel Herrmann

Senior Honors Theses

The Coca-Cola Company released an advertisement in 1971 that had powerful themes of unity in a time of significant discord around the world. Almost 50 years later, the Pepsi Company released an advertisement that aimed to accomplish similar values of unity and commonality when the world seemed at odds with itself. While both advertisements sought to convey similar messages, the reception could not have been more different. Coca-Cola has experienced continued praise for their famous “Hilltop” advertisement while Pepsi was forced to take their advertisement down within 24 hours of its release. This paper utilizes semiotic theory to analyze the ...


The Effectiveness Of Code-Switching In Evangelism: The Use Of African American Vernacular English By Standard English Speakers, Cameron Joseph Myers 2018 Cedarville University

The Effectiveness Of Code-Switching In Evangelism: The Use Of African American Vernacular English By Standard English Speakers, Cameron Joseph Myers

Linguistics Senior Research Projects

Abstract

This paper evaluates the use of code-switching as a linguistic and pragmatic tool to build interpersonal relationships between members of the African American minority group and the Standard English “white majority” for the purpose to evangelize the Christian faith. Using the Shannon-Weaver (Shannon & Weaver, 1999) communication model as a foundation, the research suggests that changing the message is the best way to overcome barriers in interpersonal communication (namely evangelistic communication). The research varies in use of code-switching as a pragmatic tool for this message change. Ariffin (2009), Jørgensen (1998), and Madsen (2004) give positive evidence for code-switching, while Anderson ...


The Collaborative Function Of Verbal Aspect And Aktionsart: A Distributional Analysis Of English Verb-Types, Marc A. Agee 2018 Cedarville University

The Collaborative Function Of Verbal Aspect And Aktionsart: A Distributional Analysis Of English Verb-Types, Marc A. Agee

Linguistics Senior Research Projects

This paper reviews literature in aspect studies from modern linguistics and Biblical language studies and proposes syntheses of multiple definitions given for these often-confusing verbal categories as the discussion has progressed from the Nineteenth Century to the present day. To inform these definitions, key studies such as Bache (1982), Comrie (1981), Lyons (1977), and Porter (1989) are consulted. In addition to suggesting definitions for these, this paper also discusses the best way to understand aktionsart as it functions in several related languages, and as it relates to aspect in usage. An analysis of evidence for this description as it functions ...


What Did God Say? A Critical Analysis Of Dynamic Equivalence Theory, Katelyn R. Fisher 2018 Cedarville University

What Did God Say? A Critical Analysis Of Dynamic Equivalence Theory, Katelyn R. Fisher

Linguistics Senior Research Projects

This paper is a critical analysis of Eugene A. Nida’s theory of dynamic equivalence as it relates to Bible translation, largely through a comparative study of select passages from the biblical genres of poetry, proverbs, and Pauline epistles. In addition, a brief survey distributed to 72 students at Cedarville University provides both qualitative and quantitative data regarding which English Bible version they prefer and why. Identifying Nida’s contributions to translation studies and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of his theory in practice serves to provide implications for believers who are seeking to discern which English version is the ...


The Speech Act Of Naming In Context: A Linguistic Study Of Naming In The Old Testament, Lauren Yost 2018 Cedarville University

The Speech Act Of Naming In Context: A Linguistic Study Of Naming In The Old Testament, Lauren Yost

Linguistics Senior Research Projects

This research sought to study the act of naming in the context of the Old Testament using speech act theory. To analyze naming as presented in the Old Testament, I first studied the Hebrew words qārāʾ and šēm, creating from my findings the following extended definition: (naming is) the act of giving a name within particular specified circumstances by one with authority over the name-receiver, whose authority is respected by others such that the name spoken is hence used to identify and represent the receiver. This, along with an understanding of Alston (2000) and the example of Arcadi (2013), shaped ...


Revisiting Lockhart: A Case For A Conditional Operator, Eric J. Tsai 2018 The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Revisiting Lockhart: A Case For A Conditional Operator, Eric J. Tsai

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

This thesis presents a case for a binary modal conditional operator compatible with both circumstantial and epistemic modal bases. Certain contexts involving might conditionals require might to take wide-scope over a conditional proposition. A restrictor-view analysis of conditionals is unable to derive both the intuitive meaning of the might conditional and the necessary conditional proposition without positing a covert circumstantial necessity modal. However, based on observations of the temporal orientation of conditionals, such a modal lacks independent motivation. On the other hand, a binary modal conditional operator not only provides the necessary conditional proposition but is also able to derive ...


Pragmatic Functionality Of Punctuation On Twitter, Elizabeth M. Wright 2018 University of Kentucky

Pragmatic Functionality Of Punctuation On Twitter, Elizabeth M. Wright

Theses and Dissertations--Linguistics

This work presents an analysis of punctuation use in computer-mediated communication (CMC); in particular, the present study aims to describe the pragmatic functions of nonstandard punctuation on Twitter, providing a corpus-driven overview of the distribution and frequency of nonstandard punctuation use, and an analysis of sampled tweets at the individual tweet level to estimate noise levels in the overall corpus. A survey was also conducted which aimed to identify user understanding of the affective content of nonstandard punctuation strings and to identify any possible effects of character repetition. Survey results indicate that linguistic content was the strongest indicator of affective ...


Metaphor To Memory: Effects Of Spatiotemporal Metaphors On The Emotional Valence Of Autobiographical Memories, Jayne B. Williamson-Lee 2018 University of Colorado, Boulder

Metaphor To Memory: Effects Of Spatiotemporal Metaphors On The Emotional Valence Of Autobiographical Memories, Jayne B. Williamson-Lee

Undergraduate Honors Theses

English speakers conceptualize the passing of time in one of two ways: as events in time moving toward them (the time-moving perspective) or as themselves moving through time (the ego-moving perspective). Previous studies suggest that these construals of time have corresponding emotional valences (positive and negative, respectively), which influence perceptions of emotional experiences. This study investigates whether spatiotemporal metaphors evoke valence-specific memories – specifically whether the ego-moving perspective evokes positive memories and the time-moving perspective negative memories. Participants read statements depicting events in motion and wrote about autobiographical memories. Memories recalled were evaluated as positive or negative by the researcher. Results ...


The Head-Quarters Of Mandarin Arguments, Hsin-Lun Huang 2018 University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Head-Quarters Of Mandarin Arguments, Hsin-Lun Huang

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation looks at the syntactic distributions of various Mandarin arguments and develops an argument structure that takes into account the arguments’ semantic types. Theories of argument realization mostly build on a one-to-one correspondence between the syntactic positions of arguments and the thematic relations they bear to the verb in the underlying structure. And this correspondence is rooted in the assumption that the argument positions in the verb’s projection must be saturated before other semantic compositions can take place. This dissertation argues that the saturation requirement can be alleviated, depending on whether languages make a morphological distinction in their ...


Responding To Questions And Assertions: Embedded Polar Response Particles, Ellipsis, And Contrast, Jeremy Pasquereau 2018 University of Massachusetts Amherst

Responding To Questions And Assertions: Embedded Polar Response Particles, Ellipsis, And Contrast, Jeremy Pasquereau

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation studies the distribution of Polar Response Particles (i.e. yes/no particles) in embedded contexts with a focus on European French.


Meaning And Modality, Jesse Fitts 2018 University of Massachusetts Amherst

Meaning And Modality, Jesse Fitts

Doctoral Dissertations

I intended to write four papers whose topics faintly concerned separate issues in meaning and modality. As it turned out, chapters 1-3 all roughly concern the same topic: propositions. While I argue for two different theses in chapters 1 and 2, I try to understand the changing propositions literature in both. In addition to arguing for the respective theses in chapters 1 and 2, accounting for this change is a parallel goal for the chapters taken together. Chapter 3 examines particular propositional roles---the objects of the attitudes and the objects of credence. Finally, chapter 4 changes the subject to the ...


Digital Commons powered by bepress