|Title:||Category Neutrality: A type-logical investigation||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||Neal Whitman||Update Dissertation|
|Email:||click here to access email|
|Institution:||Ohio State University, Department of Linguistics|
|Linguistic Subfield(s):||Semantics; Syntax;|
|Abstract:||In formal grammars, there has come to be more and more emphasis on the lexicon as the location of grammatical information, and more emphasis on how to structure the lexicon. A fundamental question is when two or more senses of a word correspond to multiple lexical entries, and when they correspond to a single one. A conventional assumption is that if a word's different meanings require different syntactic categories, then multiple lexical entries exist (a situation usually referred to as AMBIGUITY). On the other hand, it is usually assumed that if a word can be used with more than one sense at once, then a single lexical entry covers those senses (a situation known as VAGUENESS or
GENERALITY). However, there are several cases in English where a word with different meanings and different syntactic categories can be used with both meanings simultaneously, and would thus be ambiguous by the first assumption, and vague by the second. These cases thus defy conventional wisdom about the lexicon, and the term CATEGORY NEUTRALITYis introduced to refer to them.
The framework of type-logical grammar (TLG) is used in developing the analyses for these cases. Specifically, the conjunction constructor /\\ is used to encode category neutrality. Whereas other type-logical discussions of category neutrality have also employed a disjunction constructor \\/, category neutrality here is encoded exclusively by /\\.
Empirically informed analyses are developed for several English linguistic phenomena that have remained underanalyzed, using naturally occurring data (including corpus data) where possible, and in some cases, psycholinguistic experimentation. The linguistic phenomena are:
- Mixed-wh interrogatives, a class of coordinated-wh interrogatives.
- Verbs participating in various argument alternations.
- Predicative phrases.
- Adverbial nouns.
The existence of category neutrality in natural language raises troubling questions about the nature of ambiguity and neutrality. It turns out that it is theoretically impossible to distinguish ambiguity from neutrality in TLG as currently defined. Therefore, either TLG needs to be redefined to allow this distinction, or there is no real difference between ambiguity and neutrality that needs to be captured. It is concluded that the latter possibility should be