June 10th: Stephanie Solt (Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft) – Utrecht

We are happy to announce that on Wednesday, June 10th, Stephanie Solt (Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin) will give a ROSE/LUSH talk in Utrecht. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Wednesday, June 10th, 2014

Time: 15:30 – 17:00

Location: Utrecht, Kromme Nieuwegracht 80, room 1.06 (Ravensteynzaal)

Speaker: Stephanie Solt

Title: Varieties of range approximations

Abstract: Natural languages have a wide variety of means to express approximations. One sort which has received relatively little attention is range based expressions such as those in (1)-(2):

(1) There were between 15 and 20 students at the lecture.
(2) There were 15 or 20 students at the lecture.

I will pursue a semantic analysis of this class, taking as a starting point some unexpected differences between (1) and (2). Specifically, (1) is a precise statement of a range (it would be false if 14 students attended), while (2) has fuzzy boundaries (not entirely incompatible with 14). Furthermore, any ascending pair of numbers may occur in a between statement such as (1) (e.g. between 17 and 23 students), whereas only certain number yield an approximation reading for a disjunction such as (2) (e.g. 17 or 23 students cannot be read as an approximation).

I show that these and other differences can be accounted for in via a theory of scale granularity, and discuss more general implications for the semantics of approximation and approximators.


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