[developers] Subordinating Pairs Analysis
gete2 at cam.ac.uk
Mon Jun 19 22:13:38 CEST 2017
Specifically for Mandarin, there are clauses of the form:
although X, but Y
although X, Y
X, but Y
Obviously, the last one has a slightly different meaning, but "comma
splicing" like this is very common in Mandarin. I add it here because one
option would be to have an although+but_rel which is a subtype of a generic
coord_rel, and the presence of either "although" or "but" would specify the
To complicate things, there are also multiple words for "although" and
"but", and as Kristen mentioned, there are also adverbs with a similar
meaning to the conjunctions, but which behave differently syntactically
(appearing in the middle of the clause, rather than at the edge). My
Mandarin isn't good enough to say what the difference in meaning is, if any.
2017-06-19 20:55 GMT+01:00 Kristen Howell <kphowell at uw.edu>:
> Thanks Ann and Emily. I think in many cases it is not optional to omit the
> adverb in the main clause. If "although" or "if" is present in the
> subordinate clause "but" or "if" is required in the main clause. Ann, I you
> are suggesting that optionality would be a reason for omitting "but", so if
> it's not optional, it does require its own EP? Am I interpreting that
> right? I'm inclined to think that if it's required, it's meaning can be
> captured by the EP for "although", but if it's optional, giving "but" its
> own EP allows us to capture the distinction between cases when it is
> present or absent.
> On Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 11:35 AM, Ann Copestake <aac10 at cl.cam.ac.uk>
>> So the question is whether the "but" should be part of the semantics? I
>> think the "although" part clearly has to be there.
>> Reasoning along the same lines as English "if ... then", the "then" is
>> optional and doesn't seem to convey additional meaning, so if the analogous
>> situation held, there would be an argument for omitting the "but".
>> That said, I do see a contrast between:
>> If they win, I'll regret saying the manager was an idiot.
>> If they win, THEN I'll regret saying the manager was an idiot.
>> I can imagine that not having anything in the MRS corresponding to `then'
>> might make accounting for that more difficult. I'm not suggesting a change
>> in the ERG, just thinking it has some possible downsides and shouldn't
>> necessarily be taken as determining what's done in other grammars in this
>> All best,
>> On 19/06/2017 18:06, Emily M. Bender wrote:
>> Thank you, Ann. I think one of our questions is whether we should ever
>> treat the adverbs
>> as contentful, and if so what that looks like. Mandarin gives us several
>> examples of these,
>> including pairs like"虽然 ... 但是" ('although ... but'; I'm not at the
>> office today, so I can't
>> look through my grammar books). It seems like rather than treating one
>> (or both) as semantically
>> empty, we might want something like:
>> h4 qeq h5, h3 qeq h6
>> Does that sound sensible?
>> On Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 5:25 AM, Ann Copestake <aac10 at cl.cam.ac.uk>
>>> Hi Kristen,
>>> I can discuss the way the MRS might look, though not the details of how
>>> you get there.
>>> If there's a semantic relationship between the two clauses, then there
>>> needs to be some sort of two-place predicate taking the LTOP of each clause
>>> as an argument (usually via a qeq). If the two elements of the pair
>>> always go together, and there is a restricted range of options, this
>>> two-place predicate might be the only element of the semantics. If both
>>> elements are adverbial, the semantics might have to be associated with the
>>> construction rather than trying to do it via unusual semantics for an
>>> Looking at the ERG demo and delphin-viz, it seems that if_x_then is used
>>> for a range of situations, including ones without any lexical marking -
>>> "Had I slept, it rained." (actually I find that ungrammatical, but never
>>> mind ... "Had I slept, it would have rained." is fine)
>>> In terms of the actual semantics, one could say there are two things
>>> going on with if_x_then - one is a causality relationship and the other is
>>> a hypotheticality marking.
>>> "I slept, so it rained."
>>> is just causality. So one could analyse
>>> if X then Y.
>>> as (schematically)
>>> X so Y
>>> I don't think this would be a good idea for English (too much
>>> decomposition, so it probably doesn't capture the nuances), but it might be
>>> more convenient for other languages.
>>> It is not the case that we can always capture the meaning directly for
>>> English. For instance:
>>> "I slept and, as a consequence, it rained."
>>> implies causality, but we won't capture that directly in the MRS. I'd
>>> say that what's going on is that `and' gives a two place relationship of
>>> the right form, but highly underspecified. "as a consequence" means it has
>>> to be interpreted causally.
>>> In context:
>>> "I slept and it rained."
>>> can do the same thing.
>>> To sum up, what I'm saying is that I think you'll always want some type
>>> of two-place clausal connective, but it might be underspecified to some
>>> extent with additional meaning conveyed via additional predications on
>>> individual clauses.
>>> All best,
>> Emily M. Bender
>> Professor, Department of Linguistics
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