Maria Aloni, Michael Franke, and Floris Roelofsen
Dear Jeroen, Martin and Frank,
We are delighted to present this collection of essays to you, written by many friends and colleagues of yours. We hope that they will take you on a joyful ride through the history of our field, in which you played such a vital role, and that they will also offer some inspiring thoughts and new perspectives on topics that you are currently working on.
Bibliographical details and instructions to order a hardcopy
Title: The dynamic, inquisitive, and visionary life of ϕ, ?ϕ, and ◊ϕ
Subtitle: A festschrift for Jeroen Groenendijk, Martin Stokhof, and Frank Veltman
Editors: Maria Aloni, Michael Franke, and Floris Roelofsen
Cover photos: Steve Pyke
Year of publication: 2013
Hardcopies can be ordered here.
Pictures and videos of the Festschrift presentation
The Festschrift was presented to Jeroen, Martin, and Frank on December 18, 2013, the first day of the 19th Amsterdam Colloquium. Below are some pictures of the event, as well as two videos (the first two thumbnails). The pictures were taken by Nadine Theiler, and the videos were made by Thomas Jongstra.
Maria Aloni and Ivano Ciardelli
A logical account of free choice imperatives
Since Ross’s observation that the instruction Post this letter does not entail Post this letter or burn it, imperatives have constituted a challenge for the logician. Building on ideas from inquisitive semantics, we propose an account in which imperatives are regarded as partial specifications of a set of options. We show that this account avoids Ross’s paradox and gives rise to a sensible notion of imperative entailment.
Johan van Benthem
We engage in some light looking back on the work of Groenendijk, Stokhof and Veltman, raising a few thoughts about the intellectual trajectory of our shared home, the ILLC.
Tense, Mood, and Centering
I propose that tense and mood paradigms are grammatical centering systems. Specifically, English tenses form a temporal centering system, which monitors and updates topic times, whereas Kalaallisut moods form a modal centering system, which monitors and updates modal discourse referents. Nevertheless, English and Kalaallisut translation equivalents converge on the same truth conditions, due to the ‘commonplace effect’ of speech acts (see (Stalnaker, 1978)).
Reinhard Blutner and Peter beim Graben
Dynamic Semantics and the Geometry of Meaning
Adrian Brasoveanu and Anna Szabolcsi
Presuppositional Too, Postsuppositional Too
One of the insights of dynamic semantics in its various guises (Kamp 1981, Heim 1982, Groenendijk & Stokhof 1991, Kamp & Reyle 1993 among many others) is that interpretation is sensitive to left-to-right order. Is order sensitivity, particularly the default left-to-right order of evaluation, a property of particular meanings of certain lexical items (e.g., dynamically interpreted conjunction) or is it a more general feature of meaning composition? If it is a more general feature of meaning composition, is it a processing ‘preference’ or should it be captured as a ‘harder’ constraint on the type of meanings and operations over meanings involved in natural language interpretation? This squib draws attention to the symmetrical A-too B-too construction (found in a variety of languages, e.g., Hungarian, Japanese, Romanian, Russian) in this context. It argues that any semantic analysis of its main ‘symmetrical-meaning’ characteristic should also allow for subtler interactions between this construction and items that are clearly sensitive to evaluation-order effects, e.g., anaphoric adjectives like next and other. We suggest that the notion of postsupposition embedded in a broader dynamic framework is better able to account for both the symmetric nature of this construction, its non-symmetric variant A-too, and its interaction with items that are evaluation-order sensitive. We briefly compare this proposal with a couple of possible alternative accounts.
Boudewijn de Bruin
A letter to Jeroen, Martin, and Frank
Balder ten Cate
Question entailment: a puzzle
One of the things I have enjoyed tremendously ever since my my first days a PhD student under supervision of Jeroen Groenendijk and Paul Dekker, is the impressive cross-fertilization between logic, linguistics, and computer science that permeates the work of many researchers at the ILLC, and, in in particular, is palpable in many of the influential publications of Jeroen Groenendijk, Martin Stokhof, and Frank Veltman. In this note, as a tribute to Jeroen, Martin and Frank, and as a small contribution to this cross-fertilization, I will discuss a puzzle regarding question entailment, taken from recent literature in database theory (it will not come as a surprise that questions, answerhood conditions, and question entailment play an important role in database theory, too).
Kees van Deemter
Close Encounters With The Holy Trinity
What's in a planet?
This Festschrift piece is the occasion to put forth some reflections on lexical meaning and on the internalism-externalism debate. I discuss, based on some of Frank Veltman’s considerations about the pragmatic meaning of vague terms, the dynamic view whereby speaker and hearer jointly elaborate the meaning of general terms in the course of their transactions, and the question of whether general terms have a core meaning.
Peter van Emde Boas
Rangnarok – een duik in het fotoarchief bij het vertrek van Martin, Jeroen en Frank
Het officiele afscheid van een collega is telkens een goede gelegenheid het grote fotoarchief te bezoeken op zoek naar sporen van deze collega en diens omgeving. Tegenwoordig meent men echter, ongetwijfeld omwille van de efficientie, dit soort evenementen te moeten bundelen. Drie collega's die tegelijkertijd, zij het op wisselende wijze, vertrekken. Waarmee zij tegelijkertijd duidelijk een eindmarkering plaatsen voor de actieve bemoeienis van de generatie van onze oprichters met ons ILLC. Ik kan hier maar een duiding aan geven: Godenschemering, Rangnarok, het einde van de wereld. Ik vrees dan ook dat voor lieden van mijn signatuur in de toekomst nog slechts een bescheiden rol zal zijn te vervullen binnen ons instituut: die van Waldorf en Stattler bij de muppets.
Partitions representing change homogeneously
An adaptationist criterion for signal meaning
To think that use constitutes meaning is an appealing idea, but also notoriously difficult to make precise. After reflecting on the notion of use-constituted meaning that signaling theory, in the vein of Lewis (1969) and Skyrms (2010), gives us, I suggest a notion of signal meaning that draws on adaptationist theories of biological communication. Such a criterion has interesting consequences, such as that just because language use is vague does not necessarily entail that language is vague.
A plea for covert operations
Bart Geurts and Jaap van der Does
Unary quantification redux
Inquisitive assertions and nonveridicality
In this brief note, I discuss how basic is, in natural language, the distinction between an assertion and a question. The question is currently debated within inquisitive semantics and in addressing it, I look at sentences with modal verbs, questions, and disjunctions. These seem to form a natural class in terms of conveying epistemic states that allow p and not p, they are therefore nonveridical. Given that allowing p and not p is also the hallmark of inquisitive sentences (questions), we can think of nonveridical assertions as ’inquisitive assertions’. So, if we take (non)veridicality into consideration, the distinction between assertion and question is not categorical: assertions do not form a natural class, and nonveridical assertions pattern epistemically with questions. This means that the division of labor between informativity and inquisitiveness cannot be categorical either. These conclusions support the original tenet of inquisitive semantics that meaning is semantically non-dichotomous. I also include discussion of the difference between questions on the one hand, and universal modal assertions on the other. I argue that the former convey a true nonveridical equilibrium between p and not p, whereas universal modal assertions have bias towards p. This bias creates partial informativity in universal modal assertions— and when present, in questions.
Theo M.V. Janssen
Applications of IF-logic
Dick de Jongh
Real and Fake Past
This little piece is divided into two parts, first some memories concerning Frank, Jeroen and Martin, and secondly an attempt to start a discussion about a linguistic puzzle: the fake past. Since my time with the three of them was so Dutch I decided to relate the first part in that language.
For Jeroen Groenendijk, Martin Stokhof, and Frank Veltman
Michiel van Lambalgen
Time in the Critique of Pure Reason
This note is dedicated to Frank, Jeroen and Martin, whose intense engagement with semantics first opened my eyes to the beauty of a topic that combines formal precision with philosophical reflection and cognitive experimentation. In particular the problem of the cognitive import of formal semantic representations has been the subject of countless discussions, especially with Martin. Tense and aspect seemed a promising area in which to look for semantic representations with cognitive import. The present essay investigates how to reconcile a cognitive desideratum, finiteness, with the expressive richness required by tense and aspect: completeness and incompleteness of events, granularity, continuous vs. discrete change etc. Because Kant had considered several of these issues in the Critique of Pure Reason, this essay approaches the issues just mentioned bt describing a model that satisfies Kant's synthetic a priori principles for time. For those unmoved by Kantian considerations, it suffices to take a brief look at the principles listed below, after which the technical development should make sense.
Countable, Neat and Messy Nouns
This paper is a translation of a talk I gave in Dutch at the Tiende bijeenkomst van docenten Neerlandistiek in het Middellandse Zeegebied in Tel Aviv in November of 2010. The Dutch version appeared as Landman 2013. An earlier version of the material in this talk was first presented at Palmyr IX: Logic and the Use of Language in June 2010 at ILLC in Amsterdam, where I was invited by Frank Veltman and his co-organizers to give a presentation.
My teachers Renate Bartsch, Jeroen Groenendijk, Martin Stokhof and Frank Veltman provided me with a thorough training in the handcraft of using formal techniques in the study of natural language semantics. Nevertheless, during my apprentice time with them, we would often contemplate as an aesthetic ideal the model of Frege's little papers: accomplished, formally complex papers without any formal details. The present paper is an attempt in that direction. I dedicate it to them: to Renate on her retirement a few years ago, and to Jeroen, Martin and Frank on their forthcoming retirements, with pride at having been their student.
Mathias Winther Madsen
The Ideology of Linguistics: Frequently Asked Questions
Data Semantics and Linguistic Semantics
Barbara H. Partee
The Amsterdam Three and their Part in a Glorious History
A bare bone attentive semantics for might
This paper introduces a semantic framework in which the meaning of a sentence embodies both its informative and its attentive content. This framework allows for an improved implementation of the analysis of might proposed in Ciardelli, Groenendijk, and Roelofsen (2009), which in turn builds on an idea from Groenendijk, Stokhof, and Veltman (1996). The analysis sheds new light on the way in which might interacts with conjunction, disjunction, and negation, which is puzzling for the standard modal account of might, as well as its treatment in update semantics.
Robert van Rooij
Vagueness: insights from Martin, Jeroen, and Frank
Collections and Paradox
Harry P. Stein
The Logical Impossibility of Heaven and Hell as Instruments for Moral Reward and Punishment
Henriette de Swart
Aspectual sensitivity of already
Some impressions of Frank Veltman
Richmond H. Thomason
Interrogative Semantics in Perspective
Taking as its departure Groenendijk and Stokhof’s work on questions in their Ph.D. dissertation and in a 1982 Linguistics and Philosophy article, this note reexamines the question of what semantic type to assign to interrogative constructions.
Richmond H. Thomason
Frank Veltman’s Logics for Conditionals Revisited
Going back to Frank Veltman’s dissertation, this note contrasts that approach to conditionals with one that starts with causality and separates epistemology from the interpretation of conditionals.
Propositional attitudes, stereotyping and the mental lexicon
Updates that Grow on Trees
In this paper we solve the following problem: what is to Update Semantics as Discourse Representation Theory is to Dynamic Predicate Logic?
A note on equivalence of two semantics for epistemic logic of shallow depths
This short note establishes the equivalence of the indexed semantics of Wang (2006) and the epistemic world semantics of Kaneko and Suzuki (2003) for epistemic logic of bounded depths.
Galit Weidman Sassoon
Adjectives are typically felicitous in within-predicate comparisons—constructions of the form ‘X is more A than y’, as in This is bigger than that, but are often infelicitous in between-predicate comparisons—constructions of the form ‘X is more A than (y is) B’, as in *Tweety is bigger than (it is) heavy. Nouns, by contrast, exhibit the inverse pattern. The challenge is to account for their felicity in between-predicate comparisons, as, for instance, in This bird is more a duck than a goose, while capturing their infelicity in within-predicate comparisons, as in #This bird is more (of) a duck than that one. Postulating either semantic gradability, or even only ad-hoc, meta-linguistic gradable interpretations for nouns to capture the meaning of between-noun comparisons results in wrong predictions for within-noun comparisons and other gradable constructions (#very duck; too duck). The paper presents a solution to this problem, using the psychological notion of a contrast-set. The solution correctly predicts inference patterns and truth value judgments pertaining to between-noun constructions.
Where the air is thin, but the view so much clearer
Thirty years after Groenendijk and Stokhof’s (1984) dissertation, the exhaustive interpretation of answers is still one of the central topics in semantics and pragmatics. Groenendijk and Stokhof identified three main problems for a pragmatic account of exhaustivity, which to this date remain largely open. In the present paper I show how these can be resolved by adopting a richer notion of meaning, and taking into account its pragmatic thrust. The resulting theory may be the only one to this date that explains exhaustivity, from start to end, as a genuine case of Gricean conversational implicature.
Personal notes on the retirement of Groenendijk, Stokhof, Veltman, Janssen and Scha
Implicit Probabilities in Update Semantics