LINGUIST List 14.3340

Thu Dec 4 2003

Diss: Semantics: Nouwen: 'Plural Pronominal...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. rick.nouwen, Plural Pronominal Anaphora in Context

Message 1: Plural Pronominal Anaphora in Context

Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 06:12:19 -0500 (EST)
From: rick.nouwen <>
Subject: Plural Pronominal Anaphora in Context

Institution: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Program: Syntax and Semantics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Rick Nouwen 

Dissertation Title: Plural Pronominal Anaphora in Context: Dynamic
Aspects of Quantification

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: Semantics 

Dissertation Director 1: Prof. Dr. Henriette de Swart 
Dissertation Director 2: Prof. Dr. Jan van Eijck

Dissertation Abstract: 

This dissertation presents a formal model of plural pronominal
discourse anaphora. It focuses on the question of how to model the
contextual interpretation of plural pronouns. Specifically, it
develops a non-representational dynamic semantics of quantification.

A quantificational sentence has several sets associated with it, each
of which is a potential antecedent for a subsequent plural pronoun. It
is argued that one of these sets, the so-called complement set, is
only accessible through inference, while other sets are contextually
introduced by quantificational structures as salient antecedents. The
formal model of context and context change presented in this work
deals with these sets made salient by quantification. A complicating
factor, however, is that quantificational structures also introduce
dependencies. That is, pronouns have access to correspondences between
salient sets. Accordingly, the notion of context has to be
structured. Furthermore, it turns out that a more complex account of
the accessibility of (dependent) antecedents is also called
for. Consideration of these and other issues ultimately leads to the
development of an incremental dynamic semantics of quantification.

This study is of interest to researchers concerned with the formal
semantics of quantification, plurality and anaphora, and to scholars
interested in more general issues concerning the semantics and
pragmatics of discourse anaphora.
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