• Ling/Cog-C. Alternatives in semantics and pragmatics

    (Clemens Steiner-Mayr, Universität Göttingen)

    This Seminar is available to all students. No background required.  Recommended for students interested in semantics and pragmatics

    One of the goals of participants in a conversation is to determine what the actual world is like. A way to come closer to this goal is by answering questions about the world. To aord this, the interpretive component of grammar makes use of alternatives: interrogative utterances highlight alternatives that the world might correspond to. Declarative utterances assert that one or a number of these alternatives is/are the case. Implicatures get factored into the meaning to exclude other alternatives. How much are these phenomena grammaticalized? The present course addresses this issue by giving an overview of a number of phenomena relying on alternatives.

    Lecture 1: Context and utterances
    Lecture 2: Asking questions
    Lecture 3: Answering exhaustively
    Lecture 4: Introducing alternatives: focus and topic
    Lecture 5: Scalar and ignorance inferences
    Lecture 6: Polarity
    Lecture 6: Redundancy and oddness
    Lecture 8: Maximizing presuppositions