Semantics & Pragmatics Kareem Khalifa Philosophy Department Middlebury College Overview I. Dimensions of language II. Truth-conditional semantics III. A sampler of pragmatics I. Different Dimensions of Language A. Syntax, Semantics, & Pragmatics B. Denotation & Sense C. Lexical & Structural D. Categorematic & Syncategorematic E. Structural Features II. Truth Conditional Semantics A. Denotations B. Possible Worlds C. Truth-Based Relations Exercise 1 a. What is the extension of alarm clock? – The set of all alarm clocks in the actual world. b. What is the extension of Cairo? – The city, Cairo, in the actual world. c. What is the intension of fishknife? – The set of all fishknives in all possible worlds. d. What is the truth set for Jones has a new game console? – The set of all possible worlds in which it’s true that Jones has a new game console. Exercise 3 Problems with truth-sets of following sentences: i. The following will be true in all possible worlds, because they are tautologies. a. b. c. That tigress is a female. A tigress is, by definition, female. Every circle in the pattern was round. A circle is, by definition, round. Either God exists or God doesn’t exist. Tautology. ii. These will be true in no possible worlds, because they are contradictions. a. b. Two plus two is five. Two plus two can never equal five. Spain is bigger than Iceland and Iceland is bigger than Spain. This is a contradiction. III. Pragmatics Sampler A. Implicature Exercise 4: Implicatures Example Implicatures Ally: Do your children eat greens? Britt: Well, David eats spinach. David is Britt’s child. Identifying implicatures: Most of Britt’s children don’t eat Principles Relevance many greens. Informativeness 1 Abe: Did you fix the blind? Brian: I tried to. Brian did not fix the blind. Informativeness 1 Alicia: Do you love me? Bob: I’m very fond of you. Bob doesn’t love Alicia. Informativeness 1 Aelfric: Did you stack the dishes and load the washing machine? Beowulf: I’ve stacked the dishes. Beowulf did not load the washing machine. Informativeness 1 Abdul: Let’s try that new French restaurant. Saladin: I’m on a low-fat diet. French restaurants do not offer low-fat meals; we shouldn’t try the new French restaurant. Relevance III. Pragmatics Sampler A. B. C. D. Implicature Indexicals Anaphors Presupposition Exercise 10. Consider the examples below: (a) seems to convey that the terrace and conservatory are hot, and (b) that the Pompidou and the National Theatre are ugly. But (c) and (d) do not convey respectively, that Sam is old or young. Is the effect in (a) or (b) a presupposition? Use the diagnostic tests to check this. a. In the afternoons the terrace is hotter than the conservatory. b. The Pompidou building is uglier than the National Theatre. c. Sam is older than Annette. d. Sam is younger than Annette. BRIEF NOTE: These examples appear to rely exclusively on linguistic intuitions. I don’t have strong intuitions about them, but perhaps I’m weird. (a) First test: • If, in the afternoons, the terrace is hotter than the conservatory, then the terrace and conservatory are hot. This doesn’t seem to be true; the conservatory could be quite cold in the afternoons. • If, in the afternoons, the terrace is no hotter than the conservatory, then the terrace and conservatory is hot. This also doesn’t seem to be true. (a) Second test: • Hey! Wait a minute! I had no idea that the terrace and conservatory are hot. That seems like a weird response. (b) First test: • If the Pompidou is uglier than the National Theatre, then the Pompidou and National Theatre are ugly. This doesn’t seem true to me. Much like (a), the National Theatre might be a relatively appealing. • If the Pompidou is not uglier than the National Theatre, then the Pompidou and National Theatre are ugly. The Pompidou might be relatively beautiful building. (b) Second test: • Hey! Wait a minute! I had no idea that the Pompidou and National Theatre were ugly. I suppose that this is a reasonable response.