Why is aspect meaningful?
Observe the world affairs Use verbs to describe states, actions and properties as well as relations Verbs change forms along with perspectives Verb forms mean situation types
Perfective aspect in Chinese and English
Chinese: perfective le……le le……le past le English: perfective (have/had + V +ed) past (V+ -ed)
Perfective in Arabic
Perfective refers to the past, e.g. Harbat alal-bint min al-madrasa. alrun away.3f.sg PERF the-girl from the-school thethe“The girl ran/has run away from the school.” school.”
Perfective in Russian
Perfective non-past refers to the future, e.g. nonJa napisu pis’ pis’mo. I write PERF. NON-PAST a letter NON“I’ll write a letter.” letter.”
Perfective as a state
Point of time Instantaneous Resultant state Completed state
Epistemic modality: It is possible for you to drive this car. Deontic modality: You have my permission to drive this car. Mood Adverbs (possibly, very unlikely)and modal verbs (can, may, must etc)
Belongs to Epistemic modality: To mark the attitude towards the factuality of a proposition/To communicate one’s attitude to the source of his one’ information She was rich. I saw that she was rich. I read that she was rich. She was rich, so they say. I’m told she was rich. She was rich, it seems. Apparently she was rich.
Gina raised the car with a jack. jack. There are three entities related by the verb raise and the preposition with. with. The roles of the three entities: (1)Actor; (2)Acted upon; (3)the Means
Agent: David jumped out of the ditch. Patient: The sun melted the ice. ice. Theme: The book is in the library. Experiencer: Mary saw the smoke. Beneficiary: They baked me a cake. Instrument: He cut the meat with a knife. knife. Location: The cat is sitting on the mat. mat. Goal: She told her story to her friends. friends. Source: John borrowed the money from the bank. bank.
Patient vs theme role
Fred shattered the rock. (patient) 2. Fred threw the rock. (theme) Questions: What are the criteria for the classification of thematic roles? Is there any difference between thematic roles and semantic roles?
Animacy and volition
John took the book from the bookshelf. John received the book from Mary. The car ran over the hedgehog. Is John animate or not? Is the car volitional or not?
Mr Wheeler jumped off the cliff. Is Mr Wheeler both agent and theme? Margarita received a gift of flowers. Is Margarita the Goal/Recipient, or the Beneficiary, or both?
“There must be a one-to-one correspondence one-tobetween noun phrases and thematic roles.” roles.” A different view: “One entity might fulfill more than one role.” role.” What do you think about it?
Role and Speaker’s viewpoint Speaker’
A speaker’s choice of participant roles has two speaker’ aspects: the choice of a verb and the choice of grammatical relations for the roles.
Grammatical relations and thematic roles
Passive vs active voice John broke the glass. glass. The glass was broken by John
Thematic role omission
John broke the ice with a pickaxe. pickaxe. The pickaxe broke the ice. ice. The ice broke.
Agent > Recepient/Benefective>theme/patient > Instrument>location The leftmost elements are the preferred, most basic and expected subjects. Moving rightward along the string gives us less expected subjects.
Can “location” be the subject? location”
In Chinese, it is OK, e.g. 桌子上有五本書。 桌子上有五本書。 In English, it is difficult unless in This cottage sleeps five adults. The table seats eight. eight.
Verbs and thematic role grids
Put V: <agent, theme, location> Put is a three-argument verb or threePut is a ditransitive verb. Read V: <agent, theme> Walk V: <agent> Participant roles vs non-participant roles non-
Properties of agent role
Volitional involvement in the event or state Sentience (and/or perception) Causing an event or change of state in another participant Movement (relative to the position of another participant)
Properties of Patient role
Undergoes change of state Incremental theme Causally affected by another participant Stationary relative to movement of another participant
Flexibility in thematic roles
The captain sank the ship with a torpedo. The torpedo sank the ship. The ship sank. Sink1 <x, y, z> Sink2 <x, y> Sink3 <x>
Aims of investigating thematic roles
To explain linking rules in verbal argument structure; To reflect semantic classes of verbs; To predict a verb’s participation in argument verb’ structure alternations; To describe morphological rules adequately
Active Bill groomed the horse. Passive The horse was groomed by Bill. Agent vs patient as the subject of the sentence Are they structurally the same? No! Are they semantically the same? No! What is the same with the two?
Different points of departure of the same situation
The house stood in front of the cliff. The cliff stood behind the house. Lexical relation between in front of and behind
Foregrounding of roles in passive
Active: agent role being foregrounded Passive: patient role being foregrounded Other roles in passive: Theme: This money was donated to the school. Percept: The UFO was seen by just two people. Recipient: He was given a camera by his father.
The object position in passive
He sprayed pint on the car. Paint was sprayed on the car. He sprayed the car with paint. *The car was sprayed paint on. The car was sprayed with paint. *Paint was sprayed the car with. Arguments in object position can be passivized while arguments in PP cannot.
Be-passive vs get-passive
John was punished eventually. John got punished eventually. How are these two sentences differ? Is it that they differ in the amount of control over the event associated with John? Or that they differ in the semantics of be and get? get?
Context and inference
Semantics vs pragmatics
Semantics conventional meaning/linguistic meaning Pragmatics hearers combine semantic knowledge with other types of knowledge and make inferences in order to interpret a speaker’s meaning speaker’
NonNon-linguistic context: Background knowledge Deixis (Greek deiknymi ‘to show, point out’) out’ Deictic: property of elements in language being contextually bound
Knowledge as context
Speakers who choose how to make reference to an entity must make estimations of what their hearers know. Consider the physical context; Consider what has already been said; Consider the common knowledge WHO is speaking to WHOM about WHAT; HOW and WHY etc.
Discourse as context
Topic of a discourse determines the meaning. Ronan did. (?) Me too. (?) Who moved these chairs? Ronan did. I’m starving. Me too.
What is the title of the article?
Rocky slowly got up from the mat, planning his escape. He hesitated a moment and thought. Things were not going well. What bothered him was being held, especially since the charge against him had been weak. He considered his present situation. The lock that held him was strong, but he thought he could break it. A Prisoner Plans His Escape A Wrestler in a Tight Corner
Background knowledge as context
Cultural knowledge A: Come over next week for lunch. B: It’s Ramadan. It’ If A and B are Muslims then A will infer that B’s B’ reply means ‘No’. No’ Prediction Experience Particular context
Philosopher’ Philosopher’s definition of MK: S and A mutually know a proposition P, iff S knows that P A knows that P S knows that A knows that P A knows that S knows that P … and so on
How can speakers and hearers compute an infinite series of propositions in a finite piece of time? How do S and A ever coordinate what they mutually believe if there’s always one more there’ belief statement to be established?
Background knowledge and Artificial Intelligence
Background knowledge and language understanding Design computer programs to process and store information from texts Human readers make inferences to understand texts. Inferences are based on background knowledge. To model this background information
Formation of a full text
A Script Inferences based on the script SAM (a computer program to interpret a text) responds to questions Replacing scripts with more flexible and shared components of knowledge representations
Co-reference CoI fell down a hole yesterday. It was very deep. Bridging inference I looked into the room. The ceiling was very high. John went walking out at noon. The park was beautiful.
Making inferences in conversations
A: Did you give Mary the money? B: I’m waiting for her now. I’ Inference: B did not give Mary the money.
Paul Grice Cooperative principle (for making inferences in interactions and exchanges in communication) The famous Four Maxims: (1)The Maxim of Quality (2)That of Quantity (3)That of Relevance (4)That of Manner
Maxim of quality
Try to make your contribution one that is true, i.e. a. do not say what you believe is false b. do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
Maxim of quantity
Make your contribution as informative as is required for the current purposes of the exchange (i.e. not more or less informative).
Maxim of relevance
Make your contributions relevant.
Maxim of Manner
Be perspicuous, and specially:
a. b. c. d.
Avoid ambiguity Avoid obscurity Be brief Be orderly.
What is the implicature?
A: Can I borrow ?5? B: My purse is in the hall. Implicature: Yes.
A: Did you do the reading for this week’s week’ seminar? B: I intended to. Implicature: No.
Violating the maxims
Literal language Figurative language
Metaphors Hyberbole …
Measure the boy’s behavior boy’ with the Maxims
Not too bright, that particular lad. A salesman found him sitting on the doorstep one day. ‘Is your mother at home sonny?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ sonny?’ Yes,’ replied the boy. So the salesman knocked on the door for a few minutes, then tried ringing the bell; finally he resorted to bashing on the window – all to no avail. ‘I thought you said your mother was at home,’ he snapped at the home,’ boy. ‘She is,’ came the reply, ‘only this isn’t your is,’ isn’ house.’ house.’