Time: April 13,2018, 13:30-16:05
Venue: Xinzhai301, Tsinghua University
Speaker: DENGDun(Tsinghua University)
ZHANG Liying (Central University ofFinance and Economics)
Section1: Event types, Mandarin semelfactives and the noun-verb parallel
Vendler(1967) proposes a quadripartite classification of eventualities, namely states, activities, accomplishments and achievements, using three parameters: whether the eventuality is dynamic (states are not), telic (activities are not) andinstantaneous (accomplishments are not). Given its linguistic relevance,linguists have been investigating morphological, syntactic, semantic as well aspragmatic issues regarding the“Vendler classes”. In this talk, I rely on datafrom Mandarin to discuss two closely related and controversial issues. I willshow that a special type of functional words, namely so called“verbal classifiers”(cf. Zhu 1982), can help to pick out a class of verbs whose denotation is different from all the four Vendlerian types. I argue that this class of Mandarin verbs corresponds to what Smith (1991) calls“semelfactives”,which have overt morphological marking in Slavic languages like Russian.Drawing on evidence from Mandarin semelfactives and also facts about verb reduplication,I defend and revise Bach’s (1981) classic proposal that the mass-countdistinction in the nominal domain is parallel to the atelic-telic distinctionin the verbal domain, contra Rothstein’s (2008) claim.
Section2:Interpreting generics: how to tolerate with exceptions?
By张立英ZHANG Liying (Central University of Finance and Economics)
Generic sentences, such as‘birds fly’,‘ducks lay eggs’, express rules or laws. Unlike universal sentences, generic sentences tolerate exceptions. Even when there isno positive example in the real world (for example,‘unicorns have one horn’),we sometimes accept a generic sentence, which makes generic sentences intensional. This talk will introduce some classic theories on generics such as stereotype theory, rule-based theories (default logic, autoepistemic reasoning), relevant quantification, circumscription, prototype theory, modal conditional approaches, double normal semantics, sense semantics and probability approach. After that, we will discuss the way we tolerate with exceptions.
Tsinghua University-University of Amsterdam Joint Research Centra for Logic, Department of Philosophy, Tsinghua University