Moving towards the edge
Michelle Sheehan, Wolfram Hinzen
July 2011
 

We argue that the basic formal ontology of semantics reflects grammatical distinctions. Following Arsenijevic and Hinzen (2010) and Hinzen (2011), this basic ontology is one of ‘objects’ in the nominal domain, ‘events’ in the verbal domain, and ‘propositions’ in the clausal domain. These three domains, which represent the basic referential dimensions of human language, are identifiable as the three major ‘phases’ of recent Minimalist grammatical theory. Within each of these ontological categories, finer distinctions can be made. Adapting a modified version of Longobardi’s model for the modes of nominal reference denotation to the clausal domain, with a view to providing a unified account, we argue that there are precisely three basic referential strategies that human language allows, and we give evidence from the syntax of embedded clauses in several languages to support this three-fold distinction in the clausal case. These denotational strategies allow for the broad generalization that as we move from the phase-interior to the phase-edge, intensional semantic information is converted into extensional semantic information. Reference, in the extensional sense, is in this way an ‘edge’ phenomenon
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001300
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Linguistic Analysis
keywords: reference, nominal/clausal parallels, factivity, embedded root phenomena, phases, semantics, syntax
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