Supplements within a Unidimensional Semantics II: Epistemic Status and Projection (2010)
Philippe Schlenker
April 2010

Potts (2005, 2007) has claimed that Grice’s ‘conventional implicatures’ offer a powerful argument in favor of a multidimensional semantics, one in which certain expressions fail to interact scopally with various operators because their meaning is located in a separate dimension. Focusing on Non-Restrictive Relative Clauses (= NRRs), we explore an alternative to Potts’s bidimensional account. In our analysis, (1) NRRs can be syntactically attached with matrix scope, despite their appearance in embedded positions; (2) NRRs can in some cases be syntactically attached within the scope of other operators (whether attitudinal or not), in which case they semantically interact with them; (3) NRRs are semantically conjoined with the rest of the sentence, but (4) they are subject to a pragmatic rule that requires that their content be relatively easy to accommodate (‘Translucency’) – hence some non-trivial projection facts for NRRs that do not have matrix scope. In Schlenker (to appear), we focused on (1)-(2), which pertain to the scopal behavior of NRRs. After summarizing some arguments that suggest that NRRs can sometimes have semantic scope under other operators, we concentrate on (3)-(4) and argue that in some such cases NRRs give rise to ‘projection patterns’ that are reminiscent of presupposition projection. But since their epistemic status is very different from that of presuppositions (Potts 2005), we cannot claim that supplements must be entailed by their local context (i.e. that they are locally trivial) given a context set C. Rather, we will suggest that if an NRR is uttered in a global context C, it should be possible to add to C uncontroviersial assumptions to obtain a context C+ in which the NRR is ‘locally trivial’. This accounts both for the epistemic difference between supplements and presuppositions, and for the similarity in (some of) their projection patterns.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002579
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Proceedings of NELS 2009
keywords: semantics, semantics
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