Many of the readings are from the text book: Portner, Paul H. What is Meaning? Fundamentals of Formal Semantics. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005. ISBN: 1405109181. (Paperback)
Grice on Non-natural Meaning
Portner, Ch. 1
The following reading is optional for undergraduates in 24.903 and required for graduate students in 24.933:
Grice, H. P. "Meaning." The Philosophical Review 66, no. 3 (1957): 377-388.
Concepts of Meaning
More on Truth-Conditions
Meta-language vs. Object Language
Semantic Properties of Sentences
Some Obvious Shortcomings of Truth-Conditional Semantics (Slang, Honorifics)
Partee, Barbara H., Alice ter Meulen, and Robert E. Wall. "Statement Logic." In Mathematical Methods on Linguistics. Boston, MA: Kluwer, 1987, chapter 6, sections 6.1-6.4, pp. 97-112. ISBN: 9027722447.
Partee, Barbara H., Alice ter Meulen, and Robert E. Wall. "Basic Concepts of Logic and Formal Systems." In Mathematical Methods on Linguistics. Boston, MA: Kluwer, 1987, chapter 5, sections 6.5 and 6.6. ISBN: 9027722447.
De Morgan's Laws
The Material Conditional
The Material Conditional (cont.), as an analysis of "if"
Pragmatic Inferences (cont.)
Sentence (Truth-Conditional) Meaning vs. Speaker Meaning
"I'm not hungry"
Grice's Maxims of Conversation
Pragmatic Strengthening of "possible" (from Portner's Book)
Portner, Ch. 11
Gricean Quantity Implicatures (cont.)
Reasons to prefer a Pragmatic Approach over an Ambiguity Approach
Gricean Quantity Implicatures (cont.)
Applied to Strengthening of "some" and "or" (Truth-Conditionally: Inclusive, Pragmatically Strengthened to Exclusive)
|R1||Review Session 1|
|L10||Gricean Story about "or" again|| |
|L11||Supplementing Material Conditional Truth-Conditions for "if" with Pragmatic Inferences|
Problems for the analysis of "if" as Material Conditional + Pragmatic Implicatures
New Topic: Compositionality
Analyzing "Sheila barks"
Portner, Ch. 2
Proper names have as their semantic value individuals
Predicates have as their semantic value sets of individuals, or functions from individuals to truth-values
Brief Discussion of Vagueness
Transitive Predicates (Functions from Individuals to Functions from Individuals to Truth-Values)
Function Application as the Main Semantic Composition Principle
Portner, Ch. 3
Partee, Barbara H., Alice ter Meulen, and Robert E. Wall. Mathematical Methods on Linguistics. Boston, MA: Kluwer, 1987, chapters 1 and 2 (Sets, Relations, Functions). ISBN: 9027722447.
The Lambda-notation for Specifying Functions
Order of Arguments
First Introduction to Relative Clauses
Review of Semantic System
Different kinds of Transitivity Alternations, Implicit Arguments
Informal Discussion of Relative Clauses
Gaps, Variables, Fillers
Heim, Irene, and Angelika Kratzer. "Relative Clauses, Variables, Variable Binding." In Semantics in Generative Grammar. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1998, pp. 86-105. ISBN: 0631197125.
Example Calculation: "Shelby is smart"
Portner, Ch. 4
"smart dog" vs. "smart person"
Perhaps, adjectives are not one-place predicates but functions from one-place predicates to one-place predicates
Other Interesting Cases of Adjectives: "alleged murderer", "canine genius"
Perhaps, adjectives are one-place predicates after all, but context-dependent ones
"Pauline is a tall horse"
"The" as a function from one-place predicates to individuals
Partial function only defined for predicates that are true of exactly one individual
The "King of France"
Portner, Ch. 5.1, 5.2
Portner, Ch. 6.1, 6.2
Natural Language Quantifiers
Compared to Predicate Logic Quantifiers
The Meaning of "most"
Negative Polarity Items
Negative Polarity Items (cont.)
Licensing by Quantifiers in position of Downward Monotonicity (the Fauconnier-Ladusaw Hypothesis)
Portner, Ch. 6.3
Frege vs. Russell on the meaning of "the"
Attributive vs. Referential Uses of Definite Descriptions
Pragmatic analysis of the two uses of Definite Descriptions
Portner, Ch. 5.4.4, 5.4.5
Review of the analysis of "the killer of the black cat" (from problem set)
More on Referential vs. Attributive
Semantic Values Relative to a Time of Evaluation
The Past Tense
Existential Quantification or Referential?
Partee's Example "I didn't turn off the stove"
Also: "Last month, I went for a hike"
Portner, Ch. 8.1
|R2||Review Session 2|
|L28||More on the Past Tense and whether it is Referential or involves Existential Quantification (Contextually Restricted)|
Aspectual Classes: States, Activities, Achievements, Accomplishments
Instants vs. Intervals
Accomplishments are only true of Intervals
Portner, Ch. 8.2.1
"The World of Sherlock Holmes"
Shifting the World of Evaluation
Portner, Ch. 8.3
|R3||Review Session 3|
The Strict Implication Analysis
Conditionals again (cont.)
Stalnaker's Definite Analysis