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The interaction of compositional semantics and event semantics

Authors: Champollion, Lucas
Keywords: event semantics;thematic roles;quantifiers;negation;coordination;conjunction;for-adverbials
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Champollion, Lucas (2015). The interaction of compositional semantics and event semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy, 38(1):31–66, 2015. doi: 10.1007/s10988-014-9162-8.
Abstract: Davidsonian event semantics is often taken to form an unhappy marriage with compositional semantics. For example, it has been claimed to be problematic for semantic accounts of quantification (Beaver and Condoravdi, in: Aloni et al. (eds.) Proceedings of the 16th Amsterdam Colloquium, 2007), for classical accounts of negation (Krifka, in: Bartsch et al. (eds.) Semantics and contextual expression, 1989), and for intersective accounts of verbal coordination (Lasersohn, in Plurality, conjunction and events, 1995). This paper shows that none of this is the case, once we abandon the idea that the event variable is bound at sentence level, and assume instead that verbs denote existential quantifiers over events. Quantificational arguments can then be given a semantic account, negation can be treated classically, and coordination can be modeled as intersection. The framework presented here is a natural choice for researchers and fieldworkers who wish to sketch a semantic analysis of a language without being forced to make commitments about the hierarchical order of arguments, the argument-adjunct distinction, the default scope of quantifiers, or the nature of negation and coordination.
Rights: © The Author(s) 2014. This article is published with open access at
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