Pragmatic Apparatus – A probabilistic pragmatics for English singular some

Cited by Lee Sonogan

PDF] Pragmatic priming and the search for alternatives | Semantic Scholar

Abstract by Lewis Esposito, Christopher Potts

When English some combines with a singular NP, the resulting phrases reliably convey affective meanings not shared by variants with a(n) or plural NPs. Prior research has traced these effects to semantic properties of some that entail that the speaker cannot identify a unique referent for the phrase. In this paper, we present attested examples that conflict with this generalization. In addition, we argue that semantic accounts miss an important generalization: some is reliably affective only if a is available as an alternative. These facts suggest a pragmatic source for the relevant meanings. To capture them, we argue that a given context can make different modes of identification for entities relevant and that singular some signals a lack of engagement with these modes. We analyze the pragmatics of this signaling using the “lexical uncertainty” version of the Rational Speech Acts model and show how it can be used to characterize the observed affective meanings.

Publication: SALT Procedings – Semantica and Linguistic Theory (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: 2021 Doi:

Keywords: Probalistic Pragmatics,Singular Some, Indefinites,) (Plenty more sections and references in this research article)

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