Construction of Meaning Workshop Friday Oct. 25: Scott Martin

On Friday, October 25 at 3:30PM in the Greenberg Room, Scott Martin (OSU Linguistics Ph.D. 2012, now a researcher at Nuance Communications’ NLU lab) will give a talk at the Construction of Meaning Workshop. All are welcome!

“On the Dynamics of Sense and Implicature: Anaphora, ‘Presuppositions’, and CIs”

Abstract: In this talk, I’ll discuss some of the highlights of my recent dissertation, which is both a descriptive and formal effort to characterize implicatures, parts of the meanings of utterances that are separate from their sense, their main point. From the descriptive angle, I’ll lay out a new taxonomy of implicature that extends Grice’s seminal work based mainly on two criteria: (1) whether an implicature is conventional, and (2) whether it must be anchored to the speaker. In this taxonomy, some lexical items often treated as being presuppositional (factives, aspectuals, achievements) are characterized as merely giving rise to entailments. As corollaries, ‘presupposition’ and ‘anaphora’ become synonyms, and the process of accommodation takes on a much more limited role than is often assumed. I’ll then discuss a formal account of implicature in a compositional semantic framework that blends ideas from Karttunen and Peters, Potts, Beaver, and the dynamic tradition. This semantics uses the same mechanism to model implicatures associated both with anaphora and with Potts’s “CIs,” and allows the two types of implicature to interact, an advance from previous theories. It also provides a unified account of the (in)felicity of anaphora and CIs.