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LINGUIST List 19.3849

Tue Dec 16 2008

Diss: Semantics/Syntax: Živanović: 'Quantificational Aspects of LF'

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        1.    Sašo Živanović, Quantificational Aspects of LF


Message 1: Quantificational Aspects of LF
Date: 15-Dec-2008
From: Sašo Živanović <saso.zivanovicguest.arnes.si>
Subject: Quantificational Aspects of LF
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Institution: University of Ljubljana
Program: Department of General Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Sašo Živanović

Dissertation Title: Quantificational Aspects of LF

Dissertation URL: http://spj.ff.uni-lj.si/tiki-download_wiki_attachment.php?attId=74

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
                            Syntax

Dissertation Director:
Marija Golden

Dissertation Abstract:

The dissertation is an attempt at unifying syntax and formal semantics. In
the Minimalist Program two levels of representation are postulated: Logical
Form (LF) and Phonological Form (PF). Semantic theories postulate the
existence of an additional representational system, call it Semantic Form
(SF). Adopting the view that mind is a modular system, it is argued in the
dissertation that LF and SF should be identical.

It is well known that the meanings of some natural language constructions
are inexpressible in ordinary predicate logic (PLO). Specifically, PLO is
insufficient for representing the meaning of English superlative determiner
(SD) 'most'. Logical language L*, employed and further developed in the
dissertation, is an extension of PLO that overcomes this problem.
Furthermore, it allows for formal characterization of directional
entailingness environments, and the notion of conservativity known from the
theory of generalized quantifiers.

Empirically, the adequacy of language L* is argued for based on an original
cross-linguistic prediction stemming from the analysis of the English
definite determiner (DD) 'the', English SD 'most' and Slovenian SD
'največ'. The prediction is that a language having an English-like SD also
has a DD.

The possibility of having identical LF and SF is demonstrated by
constructing an isomorphism between the two representational levels.
Roughly, its main features are the following. Variables of L* correspond to
sequences of functional projections in head-complement relation. Predicates
of L* correspond to (conceptual and) formal features of LF. Feature
projection in LF is predication in L*. There are no explicit quantifiers in
LF/L*: the scope of quantifiers is predictable from the occurrences of
variables.

In the dissertation syntactic/semantic analysis of a wide range of
constructions is given, the emphasis being on superlative and comparative
constructions, and focus. A unified analysis of these constructions is
provided. Importantly, negative gradable adjectives receive a completely
non-stipulative account.



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