"Persistent and Changeable Properties in Context the Case of"
Persistent and Changeable Properties in Context: the Case of Mental State Adjectives in Italian Irene Russo Department of Linguistics University of Pisa firstname.lastname@example.org Overview Adjectival meaning can be modulated by linguistic context: different senses can arise in context thanks to the compositional interaction of semantic representations theorized by Generative Lexicon theory (Pustejovsky 1995). Data: mental state adjectives (Bouillon 1997) in Italian copular sentences classified as individual-level or stagelevel predicates. Beyond IL-SL distinction: shifts in meanings and interpretations caused by different argument structures or triggered by Prepositional Phrases (locative or temporal modifiers). Theoretical background The individual-level/ stage-level distinction (henceforth ILPs and SLPs) was originally proposed by (Carlson 1977). This distinction has been drawn in the verbal domain but it is also relevant in the adjectival domain because a frequent grammatical realization of this partition is the copular sentence with an adjectival predicate: 1 (a) The boy is tall. → Permanent property. (b) The boy is drunk. → Temporary property. Theoretical background The formal semantic approach of Carlson (1977) to IL-SL distinction assume that these semantic classes are well defined. ILPs: altruistic, clever, tall, blond, intelligent, etc. SLPs: available, drunk, tired, hungry, etc. Different grammatical manifestations. In English sentences with the progressive show a strong tendency toward a particular interpretation: 2 (a) Maria is being happy. (b) ! Gianni is being clever. (c) Maria was happy. Theoretical background The clear- cut distinction is an oversimplification. Kratzer (1995): there is a syntactic distinction between stage-level and individual- level predicates realized in different argument structure. But… If a distinction between stage-level and individual-level predicates is operative in natural language, it cannot be a distinction that is made in the lexicon of a language once and for all. Stage-level predicates and individual-level predicates differ in argument structure. That is, the argument structure of having brown hair changes when you start using it as a stage-level predicate. Against the dichotomy 3 (a) Maria è felice. “Maria is happy.” (b) Ieri Gianni era abile a sparare. “Yesterday Gianni was skilful at shooting.” Generative Lexicon framework (Pustejovsky 1995) is useful: the ILPs- SLPs distinction is a semantic difference realized syntactically. Persistent and changeable realizations of properties could be described as part of lexical knowledge codified in adjectives’ qualia structure and inferred by syntagmatic contexts. Against the dichotomy SLP/ ILP distinction is not a grammatical manifestation of a static conceptual difference but instead linguistic contexts express different ways of conceptualizing a property. Adjectives could be analyzed as event- denoting predicates, qualia roles can be treated as temporally ordered relative to each other (Pustejovsky 2000). We can bind the behaviour of potentially independent event descriptions to the persistent behaviour of the head it modifies. Mental state adjectives Mental state adjectives (Bouillon 1997) can denote an emotional state (emotional adjectives) or a competence (agent- oriented adjectives). Emotional adjective: sad, angry/furious, irritated, happy, bored. Agent-oriented adjective: clever, skilful, dextrous. Mental state adjectives Syntactic polyvalency: several distinct contexts with optional complement structure. In the case of emotional state adjectives, the complement expresses the cause of the emotional state and may be realized in Italian as an infinitive with di or with a prepositional phrase. In the case of agent- oriented adjectives, the complement expresses the manifestation of the state and can be realized as an infinitive with nel / a or with a prepositional phrase. Mental state adjectives There is no neat distinction temporary vs. permanent properties but rich conceptual knowledge about typical or possible temporal extensions of properties. This gradience depends on: - the event that causes the state for emotional adjectives; - the preposition that introduces the verbal phrase for agent- oriented adjectives; - locative and temporal modifiers. Mental state adjectives Somebody (x) is in a state because of an experiencing event (e2) which can have a further manifestation (e3) Mental state adjectives Somebody is in a state (e1) which can have a manifestation (e3) Mental state adjectives The headless MSAs in contexts are unspecified: the stative and eventual meanings can combine in different ways. Bouillon’s classification of MSAs based on the head position: - if in a context the adjective has the head on the formal role, it has a stative sense; - if in a context the adjective has the head on the telic role, it has a manifestation sense; - if in a context the adjective has the head on the agentive role, it has a causative sense. The data (6) a. Maria è felice/ triste. “Mary is happy/ sad”. b. A Venezia Maria è felice/ triste. “In Venice Mary is happy/ sad”. c. Maria è felice/ triste di partire. “Mary is happy/ sad to leave”. d. Maria è felice/ triste nel suonare il piano. “Maria is happy/ sad at playing the piano”. (7) a. ! Marco è abile. b. Marco è abile negli scacchi. “Marco is skilful at chess”. c. Marco è abile nello sparare. “Marco is skilful at shooting”. d. Marco è abile a sparare. “Marco is skilful at shooting”. The data 6 (a) Maria è felice/ triste. “Mary is happy/ sad”. Two persistent properties that hold simultaneously. The data 6 (b) A Venezia Maria è felice/ triste. “In Venice Mary is happy/ sad”. Transitory properties are situated but can regularly occur: “When Maria is in Venice, she is happy” OR “Maria is constantly in Venice, therefore she is happy” (ILP). The data 6 (d) Maria è felice/ triste nel suonare il piano. “Maria is happy/ sad at playing the piano”. If the event is a manifestation of Maria’s sadness, the property sad is unspecified from a temporal point of view: is it an ILP or a SLP? The data 6 (c) Maria è felice/ triste di partire. “Mary is happy/ sad to leave”. Maria is happy when the event to leave has its accomplishment: her happiness has a strong peak. The data 7 (c) Marco è abile nello sparare. “Marco is skilful at shooting”. (d) Marco è abile a sparare. “Marco is skilful at shooting”. Two different temporal mappings of the same event, realized through a different preposition. Different temporal mappings of the same event 8 (a) Oggi Marco è abile nello sparare. → Marco has acquired an ability. (b) Oggi Marco è abile a sparare. → In temporal interval, Marco display an ability. There are two different modes of “coming into being” of an individual and this information is encoded in the AGENTIVE role (Busa 1996). An event which is interpreted relative to an ability is fully intensional – it’s a stative predicate -. When we interpret an event relative to habit, an extensional component is introduced. Different temporal mappings of the same event 7 (c) Marco è abile nello sparare. “Marco is skilful at shooting”. (d) Marco è abile a sparare. “Marco is skilful at shooting”. In (7c) we have a kind of activity that usually is performed well while in (7d) this activity is performed well in temporal intervals that can be specified pragmatically. Conclusion (with an open question) We can conceptualize not just prototypical IL/SL properties The stage- level/individual- level distinction is not a purely grammatical distinction reflecting an underlying conceptual opposition. The same property can have different temporal extensions modulated by linguistic contexts. Are semantic representations encoded by GL a good ground for light forms of pragmatic enrichment? The data 6 (b) A Venezia Maria è felice/ triste. “In Venice Mary is happy/ sad”. Transitory properties are situated but can regularly occur: “When Maria is in Venice, she is happy” OR “Maria is constantly in Venice, therefore she is happy” (ILP).