From: Adrian Brasoveanu <abrsvngmail.com>
Subject: Structured Nominal and Modal Reference
Institution: Rutgers University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007
Author: Adrian Brasoveanu
Dissertation Title: Structured Nominal and Modal Reference
Dissertation URL: http://abrsvn.googlepages.com/diss.html
The dissertation argues that discourse reference in natural language
involves two equally important components with essentially the same
interpretive dynamics, namely reference to values, i.e. non-singleton sets
of objects (individuals and possible worlds), and reference to structure,
i.e. the correlation / dependency between such sets, which is introduced
and incrementally elaborated upon in discourse.
To define and investigate structured discourse reference, a new dynamic
system couched in classical (many-sorted) type logic is introduced which
extends Compositional DRT (CDRT, Muskens 1996) with plural information
states, i.e. information states are modeled as sets of variable assignments
(following van den Berg 1996a), which can be can be represented as matrices
with assignments (sequences) as rows. A plural info state encodes both
values (the columns of the matrix store sets of objects) and structure
(each row of the matrix encodes a correlation / dependency between the
objects stored in it). Given the underlying type logic, compositionality at
sub-clausal level follows automatically and standard techniques from
Montague semantics (e.g. type shifting) become available.
The idea that plural info states are semantically necessary is motivated by
examples with morphologically singular anaphors, in contrast to the
previous literature that argues for plural info states based on plural
anaphora. Plural Compositional DRT (PCDRT) enables us compositionally
account for a variety of phenomena, including: (i) mixed weak & strong
donkey anaphora, e.g. Every person who buys a computer and has a credit
card uses it to pay for it, (ii) quantificational subordination, e.g.
Harvey courts a girl at every convention. She always comes to the banquet
with him (Karttunen 1976), (iii) modal anaphora and modal subordination,
e.g. A wolf might come in. It would eat Harvey first (based on Roberts
1989) and (iv) naturally-occurring discourses exhibiting complex
interactions between modalized conditionals, donkey anaphora, modal
subordination and the entailment particle therefore, e.g. [A] man cannot
live without joy. Therefore, when he is deprived of true spiritual joys, it
is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures (Thomas Aquinas).
The PCDRT account of these phenomena explicitly and systematically captures
the anaphoric and quantificational parallels between the individual and
This Year the LINGUIST List hopes to raise $55,000. This money will go to help keep the
List running by supporting all of our Student Editors for the coming year.
See below for donation instructions, and don't forget to check out our Fund Drive 2007
LINGUIST List Superhero Adventure for some Fund Drive fun!
There are many ways to donate to LINGUIST!
You can donate right now using our secure credit card form.
Alternatively you can also pledge right now and pay later.
For all information on donating and pledging, including information on how to donate by
check, money order, or wire transfer, please visit:
The LINGUIST List is under the umbrella of Eastern Michigan University and as such can
receive donations through the EMU Foundation, which is a registered 501(c) Non Profit
organization. Our Federal Tax number is 38-6005986. These donations can be offset against
your federal and sometimes your state tax return (U.S. tax payers only). For more
information visit the IRS Web-Site, or contact your financial advisor.
Many companies also offer a gift matching program, such that they will match any gift
you make to a non-profit organization. Normally this entails your contacting your human
resources department and sending us a form that the EMU Foundation fills in and returns
to your employer. This is generally a simple administrative procedure that doubles the
value of your gift to LINGUIST, without costing you an extra penny. Please take a moment
to check if your company operates such a program.
Thank you very much for your support of LINGUIST!
Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue