[WS129] The semantics and pragmatics of logical words: a cross-linguistic perspective


Authors: Jacques Moeschler, Caterina Mauri, Johan van der Auwera

Title: The semantics and pragmatics of logical words: a cross-linguistic perspective

Logical words such as not and connectives (and, or, if) have linguistic counterparts in most if not all natural languages. Nevertheless, their linguistic properties are not identical: many cross-linguistic differences characterize their linguistic realizations (see Mauri 2008). The first purpose of the workshop is to give a general picture about the various ways in which natural languages express logical meanings such as negation, conjunction, disjunction and condition. The second purpose of the workshop is to explore the connection, if there is some, between the logical semantics of negation and connectives and their pragmatic meaning. One observation is that their pragmatic meaning is a restriction on their semantic one: a negative sentence is used to communicate a true negative proposition, and not a false one; a disjunction is typically used in its exclusive and not in inclusive meaning; conditionals are interpreted as bi-conditionals or as counterfactuals, which are both restrictions on the truth-conditions of the material implication; finally, and is pragmatically non symmetrical, because of its temporal and causal meanings. Are these restrictions in meaning universal? And how can we explain the way logical meaning can be connected to the specific uses and meanings of logical words? The third purpose of the workshop is to explore the various ways in which natural languages express the meanings of logical words beyond the content covered in logic: some languages rely on pragmatics (as in French and English), whereas other languages (such as Serbo-Croatian for instance) have specific connectives for pragmatic meanings (cf. the pa/a opposition, respectively for sequential and non-sequential meanings of and, or the use of the conditional mood both in the antecedent and the consequence in French). Cross-linguistic variation in linguistic form and in the nature of the meaning (linguistic vs. pragmatic) should be systematically and cautiously explored (cf. also Mauri and van der Auwera 2012). Finally, as far as negation is concerned, the relation between the descriptive uses and the metalinguistic ones is still an open question (cf. Moeschler 2010). Is metalinguistic negation a specific echoic use? Or does it involve a much broader domain, that of presupposition and implicature cancelation and of uptailing vs. downtailing uses? If metalinguistic uses cover a broader domain, how can one explain the relations between these multiple uses? And how can we explain the scope properties of negation related to its descriptive and metalinguistic uses? The organizers are expecting contributions on the following topics:

  1. Cross-linguistic variation in the morphosyntactic realization of negation and logical connectives
  2. Cross-linguistic variation in the realization of pragmatic meaning for conjunction, disjunction and conditionals
  3. The semantic-pragmatic interface of logical words: how to derive pragmatic meanings from logical ones?
  4. Scope properties of negation, at the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels
  5. The relation between descriptive and metalinguistic uses of negation.
  6. The connection between presupposition and implicature cancelling uses of metalinguistic negation.



Mauri, Caterina (2008). Coordination Relations in the Languages of Europe and Beyond. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Mauri, Caterina & van der Auwera, Johan (2012). Connectives. In: Kasia. M. Jaszczolt and Keith Allan (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Moeschler, Jacques (2010). Negation, scope and the descriptive/metalinguistic distinction. Generative Grammar in Geneva 6, 29-48.

25.07.2013   10:30-12:30

Title: From Aristotle to Pragmatics
Chair: Jacques Moeschler

10:30 - 11:00 Jacques MOESCHLER
The LogPrag project
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11:00 - 12:00 Laurence HORN
The Singular Square: Contrariety and double negation from Aristotle to Homer
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12:00 - 12:30 Kathryn DAVIDSON
Aristotle isn’t only in Arizona: Coordination in American Sign Language
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25.07.2013   14:00-16:00

Title: Conditionals
Chair: Johan van der Auwera

14:00 - 14:30 Seiko FUJII
Non-predictive conditionals
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14:30 - 15:00 Stefan HINTERWIMMER
A comparison of the conditional complementizers falls and if
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15:00 - 15:30 Takashi TOYOSHIMA
The exjunction Ka: existential V disjunction
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15:30 - 16:00 Steve NICOLLE
Expressing conjunction and conditionals in Digo through TAM marking
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25.07.2013   16:30-18:30

Title: Negation
Chair: Jacques Moeschler

16:30 - 17:30 Denis DELFITTO
On the models of analysis for negation: Clause-types, pragmatic enrichment, and processing
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17:30 - 18:00 Elena ALBU
Insights into metarepresentational negation [not(X) but (X’)]
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18:00 - 18:30 Elitzur BAR-ASHER SIEGAL
The case of sentential negations in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic (=JBA)
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26.07.2013   10:30-12:30

Title: Conjunction and disjunction
Chair: Caterina Mauri

10:30 - 11:00 Mira ARIEL
Or: questioning meaning and use
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11:00 - 11:30 Katja JASINSKAJA et al.
The (A)symmetry of the additive particle And
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11:30 - 12:00 Joanna BLOCHOWIAK
Towards a unified approach to logical and non-logical connectives – the example of ‘and’ and ‘because’
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12:00 - 12:30 Eric PEDERSON
Irrealis or 1-place disjunction
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26.07.2013   14:00-16:00

Title: Crosslinguistic and theoretical perspectives
Chair: Jacques Moeschler

14:00 - 14:30 Tijana ASIC
Temporal relations between negated predicates: a case of Serbian
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14:30 - 15:00 Napoleon KATSOS et al.
Crosslinguistic patterns in the acquisition of logical words: the case of quantifiers
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15:00 - 15:30 Stavros ASSIMAKOPOULOS
On the encoded content of logical connectives: a cognitive reanalysis
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15:30 - 16:00 Johan VAN DER AUWERA et al.
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