Logic and Language

Lucas Champollion (NYU): The interaction of compositional semantics and event semantics

Speaker: Lucas Champollion (NYU)
Title: The interaction of compositional semantics and event semantics
Time: 16:00 - 17:30
Location: ILLC seminar room F1.15

The success of event-based semantic analyses in the wake of Davidson's seminal 1967 paper has not yet been matched by a clear picture of how events fit into the syntax-semantics interface. Allegedly, compositional accounts of various scope-taking elements are either problematic or require nontrivial theoretical commitments once events are introduced (as suggested by Beaver and Condoravdi (2007) for quantification,  Krifka (1989) for negation, and Lasersohn (1995, chapter 14) for conjunction). 

I suggest a novel perspective on event semantics that overcomes these difficulties. The main innovation is that the event quantifier is part of the lexical entry of the verb. The resulting framework combines with standard treatments of scope-taking elements in a well-behaved way. It is compatible with simple and intuitive accounts of the syntax-semanticsinterface of quantification, negation and conjunction. This result is relevant to syntacticians and semanticists who are interested in the extent to which a commitment to events favors various analyses of scope-taking expressions, or who would simply like to use events without taking sides in ongoing semantic debates.

The talk will feature a demonstration of the recently updated lambda calculator (Version 2.0 is joint work with Dylan Bumford).