|Title:||Stativity, Genericity and Temporal Reference||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||E Katz||Update Dissertation|
|Email:||click here to access email|
|Institution:||University of Rochester, Department of Linguistics|
|Abstract:||In this thesis the semantic distinction between stative and non-stative predicates is discussed. The hypothesis that statives are predicates of times, but non-statives are predicates of events is argued for at length. Ramifications of this hypothesis are explored.
In the first chapter, the logical and distributional distinction among the traditional Vendlerian aspectual categories are drawn. There is a discussion of the logic of plurals and masses, and this is related to the logic of time. Times are modeled as a certain type of mass individuals and temporal quantifiers such 'all day' are taken to be logically analogous to mass quantifiers such as 'all of the water'. The distinction between events and situations is drawn, and the stative/non-stative distinction is made on this basis.
In the second chapter, six contexts which distinguish stative and non-stative predicates are examined in detail. These contexts are: the temporal interpretation of sentences in discourse, the interpretation of quantificational adverbs and of time-span adverbials, the interpretation of the past tense and of the present tense, and the interpretation of 'when'-clause modification. Each of these contrasts is shown to follow, more or less, directly from the hypothesized contrast between statives and non-statives. The relationship of adverbials to the interpretation of sentences is considered.
Finally, in the third chapter, there is an extended discussion of genericity and habituality. Habituals are argued to be quantificational. This quantificationality accounts for their aspectual stativity. In the course of this discussion an account of the distinction between 'stage-level' predicates, such as 'be happy', and 'individual-level' predicates, such as `be tall' is given. This account rejects the recent proposals of Diesing in favor of a treatment which takes individual-level predicates to be inherently habitual. Semantically, then, the sentence 'Texans are tall', is taken to have the same representation as the habitual sentence `Boys eat beans'. This account explains the quantificational variability of bare plural subjects in a natural way.