[developers] Subordinating Pairs Analysis
aac10 at cl.cam.ac.uk
Tue Jun 20 10:07:49 CEST 2017
So the reason why the optionality is an issue, if the semantics is the
same when it's present or absent, is the desire to make sentences which
are direct paraphrases of each other have the same MRS. Since that's
not achievable in general, and since there often seem to be subtle
distinctions between different phrasings, it shouldn't be an absolute
If it's not optional, but the semantics can be entirely captured by the
"although" part, there's an argument from simplicity to just have the
"although". Again, that's not absolute, so if the "but" part can occur
independently, I wouldn't think it's worth spending a lot of effort
making the "but" disappear. On the other hand, if it really just occurs
in that construction, I would feel inclined not to give it its own
On 19/06/2017 20:55, Kristen Howell wrote:
> 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
> <mailto:aac10 at cl.cam.ac.uk>> wrote:
> 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 respect.
> 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 <mailto:aac10 at cl.cam.ac.uk>> wrote:
>> 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 adverb.
>> 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 - e.g.,
>> "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
>> Check out CLMS on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/uwclma
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