Situations, Alternatives and the Semantics of 'Cases'
Friederike Moltmann
September 2019
 

Talk about ‘cases’ is very common in every day speech. Yet, constructions with the noun 'case' have almost completely escaped the attention of linguists (and philosophers). This paper elaborates the overall view that NPs with the noun 'case' stand for situations in their role as truthmakers within a space of alternatives. These alternatives may be given by a sentence ('the cases in which a student was late') or an epistemic state of uncertainty ('the case in which John might return'). Case-constructions are important for philosophy of language since they provide expressions in the core (‘non-technical’ part) of language that make situations in their role as truthmakers explicit. Moreover, they give rise to conditionals ('In that case, S'), interact with attitude reports and epistemic modals, and compete with truth predicates (‘That S is the case’). Case-constructions are important for natural language semantics (and syntax) in that they bear on a range of central theoretical issues, such as alternative semantics and its relation to epistemic uncertainty, actuality entailments of lexical predicates, the syntax and semantics of relative clauses, and kind reference.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004652
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in Linguistics and Philosophy
keywords: situations, truthmaker semantics, alternative semantics, noun phrases, relative clauses, kind terms, relative clauses, semantics, syntax
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