Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication
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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1944-3676
Published by New Prairie Press [8 journals]
- Mass/Count Variation: A Mereological, Two-Dimensional Semantics
Authors: Peter R. Sutton et al.
Abstract: We argue that two types of context are central to grounding the semantics for the mass/count distinction. We combine and develop the accounts of Rothstein (2010) and Landman (2011), which emphasize (non-)overlap at a context. We also adopt some parts of Chierchia’s (2010) account which uses precisifying contexts. We unite these strands in a two-dimensional semantics that covers a wide range of the puzzling variation data in mass/count lexicalization. Most importantly, it predicts where we should expect to find such variation for some classes of nouns but not for others, and also explains why.
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:23:12 PST
- The Semantic Role of Classifiers in Japanese
Authors: Yasutada Sudo
Abstract: In obligatory classifier languages like Japanese, numerals cannot directly modify nouns without the help of a classifier. It is standardly considered that this is because nouns in obligatory classifier languages have ‘uncountable denotations’, unlike in non-classifier languages like English, and the function of classifiers is to turn such uncountable denotations into something countable (Chierchia 1998a,b, Krifka 2008, among many others). Contrary to this view, it is argued that what makes Japanese an obligatory classifier language is not the semantics of nouns but the semantics of numerals. Specifically, evidence is presented that numerals in Japanese cannot function as predicates on their own, which is taken as evidence that the extensions of numerals in Japanese are exclusively singular terms. It is then proposed that the semantic function of classifiers is to turn such singular terms into modifiers/predicates. It is furthermore claimed that the singular terms denoted by numerals are abstract entities (cf. Rothstein 2013, Scontras 2014a,b), and proposed that the reason why they cannot have modifier/predicate uses in obligatory classifier languages like Japanese is because the presence of classifiers in the lexicon blocks the use of a type-shifting operator that turns singular terms denoted by numerals into predicates (cf. Chierchia 1998a,b).
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:23:04 PST
- Classifiers and Plurality: evidence from a deictic classifier language
Authors: Filomena Sandalo et al.
Abstract: This paper investigates the semantic contribution of plural morphology and its interaction with classifiers in Kadiwéu. We show that Kadiwéu, a Waikurúan language spoken in South America, is a classifier language similar to Chinese but classifiers are an obligatory ingredient of all determiner-like elements, such as quantifiers, numerals, and wh-words for arguments. What all elements with classifiers have in common is that they contribute an atomized/individualized interpretation of the NP. Furthermore, this paper revisits the relationship between classifiers and number marking and challenges the common assumption that classifiers and plurals are mutually exclusive.
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:22:56 PST
- Counting and Measuring: a theoretical and crosslinguistic account
Authors: Susan Rothstein
Abstract: In this paper, I show that expressions like two glasses of wine are ambiguous between counting and measuring interpretations, and that each interpretation is associated with a different semantic representation. In each interpretation, glasses has a different function. In the counting interpretation, glasses is a relational noun, while in the measure interpretation, glasses is a measure head analogous to litre. This difference leads to a number of grammatical contrasts which can be explained by differences in the grammatical structure. I discuss whether these differences are only semantic or also expressed in the syntactic representation. The assumption that syntax directly reflects semantic interpretation leads to assigning counting NPs and measuring NPs two different syntactic structures: counting NPs are right-branching with two modifying glasses of wine, while in measure expressions the numeral and the measure head form a measure predicate two glasses which modifies the N. I show that in Modern Hebrew and Mandarin counting structures and measuring structures clearly do have different syntactic structures, reflecting the semantic differences between counting and measuring. While the evidence in the case of English is less strong, the assumption that syntax directly reflects compositional syntactic structure results in the same basic syntactic contrasts in English as well.
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:22:46 PST
- Container Constructions in Yudja: locatives, individuation and measure
Authors: Suzi Lima
Abstract: The possible interpretations of container phrases (such as ‘cups of sugar’) has been long debated in the formal semantics literature because container phrases can be associated with a variety of possible readings that go from individuation to measure. In this paper we explore the interpretation of container phrases in Yudja (Tupi stock, Brazil), a language where container phrases are optional in construction with numerals and are morphosyntactically identical to locative phrases. Based on experimental studies with Yudja children and adults we intend to show that these expressions are ambiguous in at least three ways (locative, individuation and measure) and that a locative reading might emerge even in scenarios where the verb and the context favor a measure interpretation. Furthermore, this paper provides evidence that there is no hidden container phrase when numerals are combined with notional mass nouns and that, supporting Partee and Borschev (2012), the results of the studies show that, indeed, the individuation reading is more “primitive”, i.e. it precedes measuring in language acquisition.
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:22:37 PST
- Iceberg Semantics For Count Nouns And Mass Nouns: Classifiers, measures
Authors: Fred Landman
Abstract: The background for this paper is the framework of Boolean semantics for mass and count nouns, and singular and plural count nouns, as developed from the work of Godehard Link in Link 1983 (see e.g. the expositions in Landman 1991, 2010).Link-style Boolean semantics for nouns (here called Mountain semantics) analyzes the oppositions mass-count and singular-plural in terms of the notion of atomicity: counting is in terms of singular objects, which are taken to be atoms. Consequently, Link bases his semantics on two separate Boolean domains: a non-atomic mass domain and an atomic count domain. Singular count nouns are interpreted as sets of atoms, and semantic plurality is closure under sum, so plural objects are sums of atoms.In this, sorted setup portions - like two portions of soup - are a puzzle: they are mass stuff - soup -, but count - two. But in order to be count they must be atoms. But they are not, because they are just soup. Mountain semantics can deal with portions, but at a cost.In the first part of this paper I outline Iceberg semantics, an alternative to Mountain semantics within the general framework of Boolean semantics.Iceberg semantics specifies a compositional mechanism which associates with the standard denotation of any noun phrase (here called the body) a base set, a set that generates the body under the sum operation ⊔. For count nouns, the base is the set in terms of which the members of the body are counted and to which distribution takes place. In Iceberg semantics, what allows counting to be correct is the requirement on the interpretations of count nouns that the base of their interpretation is (contextually) disjoint.Already at this level we see two salient properties of Iceberg semantics:-Atoms and atomicity play no role in the theory, so we can assume an unsorted interpretation domain for mass nouns and count nouns. In Iceberg semantics, mass and count can be seen as different perspectives on the same stuff (different bases for the same body). This means that we can do away with the extreme body-sorting and body-gridding that atomicity entails.With this we allow a simpler and more elegant analysis of mass-count interactions. For instance, portions can just be 'mass' stuff, evaluated relative to a count base.-The mass-count distinction is formulated in terms of disjointness of the base. Iceberg semantics associates bases not just with the interpretations of lexical nouns, but with NPs in general and with DPs. This means that Iceberg semantics provides a compositional semantic theory of the mass-count distinction, and hence it provides a framework in which the mass-count nature of complex NPs and of DPs can be fruitfully studied.It is the analysis of complex NPs and their mass-count properties that is the focus of the second part of this paper. There I develop an analysis of English and Dutch pseudo- partitives, in particular, measure phrases like three liters of wine and classifier phrases like three glasses of wine. We will study measure interpretations and classifier interpretations of measures and classifiers, and different types of classifier interpretations: container interpretations, contents interpretations, and - indeed - portion interpretations. Rothstein 2011 argues that classifier interpretations (including portion interpretations) of pseudo partitives pattern with count nouns, but that measure interpretations pattern with mass nouns. I will show that this distinction follows from the very basic architecture of Iceberg semantics.
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:22:28 PST
- Functional Unit Classifiers in (Non)-Classifier Russian
Authors: Keren Khrizman
Abstract: It has often been argued that functional individuating classifiers and plural count nouns ought to be in complementary distribution (e.g. Borer 2005, Chierchia 2010). This apparently works neatly for Chinese and English. Russian, however, is an interesting case. On the one hand it has count nouns which can be directly modified by numerals. On the other hand it has three classifiers, štuka ‘item’, čelovek ‘person’ and golova ‘head’, which optionally occur in numeral constructions with plural nouns and look very much like functional individuating classifiers (cf. Sussex 1976, Yadroff 1999). I show that a closer look at the data reveals that apparently count constructions using these optional classifiers have properties of measure constructions such as five liters of water. Based on that I argue that these classifiers are not individuating classifiers but are measure words which measure mass denotations in terms of natural units in the sense of Krifka (1989, 1995).
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:22:20 PST
- Crime Investigations: The Countability Profile of a Delinquent Noun
Authors: Scott Grimm
Abstract: This paper aims to broaden our understanding of countability beyond what is found with concrete nouns, providing a one-word case study of the countable and non-countable uses of the noun crime. I show that the behavior of crime runs counter to a variety of expectations inherited from the literature on countability: its countable use cannot be directly grounded in atomic acts or events, nor is its non- countable use simply equivalent to a plural individual composed of individual crimes, as one might expect on analogy with certain analyses of furniture. Additionally, while crime has a use as a bare plural, that use does not refer to a kind. A quantitative study supports these conclusions. Altogether, crime demonstrates a novel noun type with respect to its nominal semantics and countability behavior, which is also an indication of the large empirical terrain that awaits exploration for eventive and abstract nouns.
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:22:12 PST
- The Semantics of Motion Verbs in Russian
Authors: Maria Gepner
Abstract: Within the group of imperfective motion verbs in Russian there exists a further subdivision into determinate and indeterminate verbs. Traditionally the distinction is said to lie in the direction of motion the verbs encode: motion in one direction or in different directions. In this paper I am going to argue that this distinction is not enough. I will claim that determinate verbs encode singular eventualities and indeterminate verbs are pluractional. Thus in the normal case, imperfective verbs are plural predicates which include singular and plural events in their denotations, in the case of motion verbs, imperfective denotations are subdivided into a singular and a pluractional predicate.
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:22:03 PST
- Bare Nouns in Brazilian Portuguese: An experimental study on grinding
Authors: Kayron Beviláqua et al.
Abstract: Much literature has explored the interpretation of the bare singular (BS) in Brazilian Portuguese. Pires de Oliveira and Rothstein (2011) claim that BS nouns are mass because they denote kinds and argue that this explains why only the BS in Brazilian Portuguese can have a non-cardinal interpretation. In this paper, based on an experimental task with Brazilian Portuguese adult speakers, we explore one of their predictions, namely that the ‘volume interpretation’ of the BS cannot be explained as a case of Grinding. Our results show that Grinding and Volume readings of a BS noun are not equivalent (in favor of their hypothesis). We also show that a volume interpretation of a noun is never preferred when a cardinal interpretation is available, but that this can be explained by other lexical and pragmatic factors. We conclude by suggesting that Rothstein’s (in press) distinction between counting and measuring accounts for the fact that non-cardinal readings are not grinding.
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:21:53 PST
- Editors' Introduction
Authors: Susan Rothstein et al.
Abstract: This volume contains a selection of the papers presented at the 11th International Symposium on Cognition, Logic and Communication which took place in Riga, at the University of Latvia on December 10-11 2015. The choice of topic reflected a growing understanding in the community of linguists and cognitive scientists that fundamental grammatical features of language, in particular the mass/count distinction, use of number words, and plurality, reflect our grasp of non-linguistic numerical operations, in particular individuation and measurement.
PubDate: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:21:43 PST
- Describing Images using a Multilayer Framework based on Qualitative
Authors: Tao Wang et al.
Abstract: To date most research in image processing has been based on quantitative representations of image features using pixel values, however, humans often use abstract and semantic knowledge to describe and analyze images. To enhance cognitive adequacy and tractability, we here present a multilayer framework based on qualitative spatial models. The layout features of segmented images are defined by qualitative spatial models which we introduce, and represented as a set of qualitative spatial constraints. Assigned different semantic and context knowledge, the image segments and the qualitative spatial constraints are interpreted from different perspectives. Finally, the knowledge layer of the framework enables us to describe the image in a natural way by integrating the domain-specified semantic constraints and the spatial constraints.
PubDate: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:55:22 PST
- On the Polysemy Of the Lithuanian Už. A Cognitive Perspective
Authors: Inesa Šeškauskienė et al.
Abstract: Adhering to the principle of motivated polysemy, this paper sets out to demonstrate how the principle works in interpreting numerous senses of the Lithuanian preposition už ‘behind, beyond’. The present investigation relies on the cognitive linguistic framework employed, first of all, by Lakoff (1987), Langacker (1987), Talmy (2000), Tyler and Evans (2003), and Tyler (2012), who mainly worked on English, and such linguists as Tabakowska (2003, 2010) and Shakhova and Tyler (2010), who attempted to investigate inflecting languages, such as Polish and Russian. Based on such semantic principles as types of Figure and Ground, their relationship (geometric, functional, etc.), contextual clues and pattern of usage, etc., the present paper demonstrates that the polysemy of už used with two cases, Genitive and Accusative, is not an array of arbitrary senses, but rather a motivated network. It posits a central sense of už based on Figure located in the back region of Ground. All other senses, namely, those of function, control, obstacle, sequential location, hiding and covering, boundary or border, spatial distance, temporal distance, quality distance, replacement, retribution and remuneration, and benefactive, are directly or indirectly derived from the central sense.
PubDate: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:55:20 PST
- Language, Culture and Spatial Cognition: Bringing anthropology to the
Authors: Norbert Ross et al.
Abstract: Languages vary in their semantic partitioning of the world. This has led to speculation that language might shape basic cognitive processes. Spatial cognition has been an area of research in which linguistic relativity – the effect of language on thought – has both been proposed and rejected. Prior studies have been inconclusive, lacking experimental rigor or appropriate research design. Lacking detailed ethnographic knowledge as well as failing to pay attention to intralanguage variations, these studies often fall short of defining an appropriate concept of language, culture, and cognition. Our study constitutes the first research exploring (1) individuals speaking different languages yet living (for generations) in the same immediate environment and (2) systematic intralanguage variation. Results show that language does not shape spatial cognition and plays at best the secondary role of foregrounding alternative possibilities for encoding spatial arrangements.
PubDate: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:55:19 PST
- Antonymy In Space And Other Strictly Ordered Domains
Authors: Jessica Rett
Abstract: Natural language references different types of entities. Some of these entities (e.g. degrees, locations, times) are strictly ordered with respect to one another; others (e.g. individuals, possible worlds) are not. The empirical goal of this paper is to show that some linguistically encoded relations across these domains (e.g. under, slower than) display a polar asymmetry, while others do not. The theoretical goal of this paper is to argue that this asymmetry – and its restriction to only certain relations – is due to intrinsic properties of strictly ordered domains, coupled with a bias in how language users perceive these domains.
PubDate: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:55:17 PST
- The Lay of the Land: Sensing and Representing Topography
Authors: Nora S. Newcombe et al.
Abstract: Navigating, and studying spatial navigation, is difficult enough in two dimensions when maps and terrains are flat. Here we consider the capacity for human spatial navigation on sloped terrains, and how sloping terrain is depicted in 2D map representations, called topographic maps. First, we discuss research on how simple slopes are encoded and used for reorientation, and to learn spatial configurations. Next, we describe how slope is represented in topographic maps, and present an assessment (the Topographic Map Assessment), which can be administered to measure topographic map comprehension. Finally, we describe several approaches our lab has taken with the aim of improving topographic map comprehension, including gesture and analogy. The current research reveals a rich and complex picture of topographic map understanding, which likely involves perceptual expertise, strong spatial skills, and inferential logic.
PubDate: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:55:16 PST
- A Description Of Space Relations In An NLP Model: The ABBYY Compreno
Authors: Aleksey Leontyev et al.
Abstract: The current paper is devoted to a formal analysis of the space category and, especially, to questions bound with the presentation of space relations in a formal NLP model. The aim is to demonstrate how linguistic and cognitive problems relating to spatial categorization, definition of spatial entities, and the expression of different locative senses in natural languages can be solved in an artificial intelligence system. We offer a description of the locative groups in the ABBYY Compreno formalism – an integral NLP framework applied for machine translation, semantic search, fact extraction, and other tasks based on the semantic analysis of texts. The model is based on a universal semantic hierarchy of the thesaurus type and includes a description of all possible semantic and syntactic links every word can attach. In this work we define the set of semantic locative relations between words, suggest different tools for their syntactic presentation, give formal restrictions for the word classes that can denote spaces, and show different strategies of dealing with locative prepositions, especially as far as the problem of their machine translation is concerned.
PubDate: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:55:15 PST
- Aspects of Space
Authors: Marcus Kracht
Abstract: It is argued that spatial expressions come together with an encoding of the space called "aspect", which changes as we climb up the syntactic tree. The changing nature of aspect is necessary in order to simplify the meanings of elements. What appears to be a rather peculiar property of an element will be perfectly natural once we acknowledge that the elements compute on the space viewed in a particular way. Coordinates are always rooted in the landmark, for example. Thus, for the purpose of the distinction between static and dynamic it is not the "absolute" motion of the figure that counts, but the motion relative to the landmark.
PubDate: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:55:13 PST
- Intuitive Direction Concepts
Authors: Alexander Klippel et al.
Abstract: Experiments in this article test the hypothesis that formal direction models used in artificial intelligence correspond to intuitive direction concepts of humans. Cognitively adequate formal models of spatial relations are important for information retrieval tasks, cognitive robotics, and multiple spatial reasoning applications. We detail two experiments using two objects (airplanes) systematically located in relation to each other. Participants performed a grouping task to make their intuitive direction concepts explicit. The results reveal an important, so far insufficiently discussed aspect of cognitive direction concepts: Intuitive (natural) direction concepts do not follow a one-size-fits-all strategy. The behavioral data only forms a clear picture after participants' competing strategies are identified and separated into categories (groups) themselves. The results are important for researchers and designers of spatial formalisms as they demonstrate that modeling cognitive direction concepts formally requires a flexible approach to capture group differences.
PubDate: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:55:12 PST
- The Geometry Of Preposition Meanings
Authors: Peter Gärdenfors
Abstract: This article presents a unified approach to the semantics of prepositions based on the theory of conceptual spaces. Following the themes of my recent book The Geometry of Meaning, I focus on the convexity of their meanings and on which semantic domains are expressed by prepositions. As regards convexity, using polar coordinates turns out to provide the most natural representation. In addition to the spatial domain, I argue that for many prepositions, the force domain is central. In contrast to many other analyses, I also defend the position that prepositions have a central meaning and that other meanings can be derived via a limited class of semantic transformations.
PubDate: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:55:10 PST