CRISSP is happy to announce a CRISSP Lecture Series with Chris Barker on October 14-16, 2015. The title of the Lecture Series is ‘Continuations and Natural Language’.
Scope-taking is a hallmark of natural language: not only is it widespread in the world’s languages, it is pervasive within individual languages. It is so familiar to us linguists that it is sometimes hard to appreciate just how astonishing it is for an expression to take material that surrounds it as its semantic argument. For instance, in “Ann gave everyone cookies”, the semantic argument of the quantificational DP “everyone” is the property constructed by abstracting over the direct object position, i.e., “\x.Ann gave x cookies”. Clearly, a deep and complete understanding of scope-taking is of foundational importance. Building on joint work with Chung-chieh Shan, I will bring to bear insights and techniques from the theory of programming languages, in particular, the concept of a CONTINUATION. One potential advantage of continuations over other approaches is that continuations allow fine-grained control over the order of evaluation. This allows a new account of sensitivity to linear order in weak crossover, reconstruction, negative polarity licensing, and dynamic anaphora. I will go on to explain how continuations allow understanding the traditional method of Quantifier Raising not as an ad-hoc heuristic for constructing so-called “logical forms”, but as a bone fide logical inference rule in the context of a substructural logic. This will lead to an account of parasitic scope and recursive scope, as in adjectives such as “same” and “different”, as well as of sluicing as a kind of anaphora, including accounts of sprouting examples (“Ann left, but I don’t know when”) and Andrews Amalgams (“Ann ate I don’t know what yesterday”).