•  303
    Based on a crowdsourced truth value judgment experiment, we provide empirical evidence challenging two classical views in semantics, and we develop a novel account of counterfactuals that combines ideas from inquisitive semantics and causal reasoning. First, we show that two truth-conditionally equivalent clauses can make different semantic contributions when embedded in a counterfactual antecedent. Assuming compositionality, this means that the meaning of these clauses is not fully determined b…Read more
  •  253
    Donkeys under Discussion
    with Dylan Bumford and Robert Henderson
    Semantics and Pragmatics. forthcoming.
    Donkey sentences have existential and universal readings, but they are not often perceived as ambiguous. We extend the pragmatic theory of nonmaximality in plural definites by Križ (2016) to explain how context disambiguates donkey sentences. We propose that the denotations of such sentences produce truth-value gaps — in certain scenarios the sentences are neither true nor false — and demonstrate that Križ’s pragmatic theory fills these gaps to generate the standard judgments of the literature. …Read more
  •  241
    The word 'and' can be used both intersectively, as in 'John lies and cheats', and collectively, as in 'John and Mary met'. Research has tried to determine which one of these two meanings is basic. Focusing on coordination of nouns ('liar and cheat'), this article argues that the basic meaning of 'and' is intersective. This theory has been successfully applied to coordination of other kinds of constituents (Partee & Rooth 1983; Winter 2001). Certain cases of noun coordination ('men and women') ch…Read more
  •  237
    Rigid and flexible quantification in plural predicate logic
    with Justin Bledin and Haoze Li
    Semantics and Linguistic Theory 27. forthcoming.
    Noun phrases with overt determiners, such as <i>some apples</i> or <i>a quantity of milk</i>, differ from bare noun phrases like <i>apples</i> or <i>milk</i> in their contribution to aspectual composition. While this has been attributed to syntactic or algebraic properties of these noun phrases, such accounts have explanatory shortcomings. We suggest instead that the relevant property that distinguishes between the two classes of noun phrases derives from two modes of existential quantification,…Read more
  •  214
    The main goal of this paper is to investigate the relation between the meaning of a sentence and its truth conditions. We report on a comprehension experiment on counterfactual conditionals, based on a context in which a light is controlled by two switches. Our main finding is that the truth-conditionally equivalent clauses (i) "switch A or switch B is down" and (ii) "switch A and switch B are not both up" make different semantic contributions when embedded in a conditional antecedent. Assuming …Read more
  •  61
    This document describes my dissertation proposal, “Aspect, plurality and quantification”, for a nonlinguist audience for the purposes of Penn’s SAS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. The dissertation proposal is available online on my website, http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~champoll/, as well as a handout with a description targeted at a linguist audience
  •  55
    The interaction of compositional semantics and event semantics
    Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (1): 31-66. 2015.
    Davidsonian event semantics is often taken to form an unhappy marriage with compositional semantics. For example, it has been claimed to be problematic for semantic accounts of quantification Proceedings of the 16th Amsterdam Colloquium, 2007), for classical accounts of negation Semantics and contextual expression, 1989), and for intersective accounts of verbal coordination. This paper shows that none of this is the case, once we abandon the idea that the event variable is bound at sentence leve…Read more
  •  54
    In this talk, I first systematize the analogies and complete the picture in some corners. Then, I formally relate the three constructions, and I derive their properties from a single operator. Previous analyses were not designed to account for all three constructions at the same time. Accordingly, I not only assess how well they generalize beyond their intended purpose, but I also evaluate them in their own right. Even so, this analysis improves on previous accounts in several ways. Although I wi…Read more
  •  44
    LTAG-spinal and the Treebank
    with Aravind K. Joshi
    We introduce LTAG-spinal, a novel variant of traditional Lexicalized Tree Adjoining Grammar (LTAG) with desirable linguistic, computational and statistical properties. Unlike in traditional LTAG, subcategorization frames and the argument-adjunct distinction are left underspecified in LTAG-spinal. LTAG-spinal with adjunction constraints is weakly equivalent to LTAG. The LTAG-spinal formalism is used to extract an LTAG-spinal Treebank from the Penn Treebank with Propbank annotation. Based on Propba…Read more
  •  44
    Psycholinguistic experiments show that pronouns tend to be resolved differently depending on whether they occur in main or subordinate clauses. If a pronoun in a subordinate clause has more than one potential antecedent in the main clause, then the pronoun tends to refer to the antecedent which has a certain thematic role (depending on the verb and on the subordinating conjunction). In contrast, pronouns in main clauses tend to refer back to the subject of the previous main clause, and this tend…Read more
  •  39
    Quantification and Negation in Event Semantics
    The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6 (1). 2010.
    Recently, it has been claimed that event semantics does not go well together with quantification, especially if one rejects syntactic, LF-based approaches to quantifier scope. This paper shows that such fears are unfounded, by presenting a simple, variable-free framework which combines a Neo-Davidsonian event semantics with a type-shifting based account of quantifier scope. The main innovation is that the event variable is bound inside the verbal denotation, rather than at sentence level by exis…Read more
  •  39
    The goal of this dissertation is twofold. First, we aim to identify the source of distributivity in natural language. Our hypothesis is that throughout the grammar, distributivity can be tracked down to a single operator. Two converging lines of reasoning help us identify this operator. One line emerges as a result of generalizing and unifying previously disparate treatments of distributivity in the domain of nominal quantifiers. The other line comes from analyzing the meaning of durative adverbi…Read more
  •  38
    Covert distributivity in algebraic event semantics
    Semantics and Pragmatics 9 (15): 1-66. 2016.
    This is the first in a pair of papers that aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of the semantic phenomenon of distributivity in natural language. This paper investigates and formalizes different sources of covert distributivity. Apart from lexical distributivity effects, which are modeled by meaning postulates, phrasal distributivity is captured via two covert operators: (i) a D operator distributing over atoms only (Link 1987), and (ii) a cover-based Part operator, which can also distribute …Read more
  •  35
    Lexicalized Non-Local MCTAG with Dominance Links is NP-Complete
    Journal of Logic, Language and Information 20 (3): 343-359. 2011.
    An NP-hardness proof for non-local Multicomponent Tree Adjoining Grammar (MCTAG) by Rambow and Satta (1st International Workshop on Tree Adjoining Grammers 1992 ), based on Dahlhaus and Warmuth (in J Comput Syst Sci 33:456–472, 1986 ), is extended to some linguistically relevant restrictions of that formalism. It is found that there are NP-hard grammars among non-local MCTAGs even if any or all of the following restrictions are imposed: (i) lexicalization: every tree in the grammar contains a te…Read more
  •  33
    Overt distributivity in algebraic event semantics
    Semantics and Pragmatics 9 (16): 1-65. 2016.
    This is the second in a pair of papers that aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of the semantic phenomenon of distributivity in natural language. This paper describes and explains observable cross-linguistic differences in overt distributive items in the framework of Neo-Davidsonian algebraic event semantics. The previous paper, Champollion 2016, postulated two covert distributivity operators, D and Part, in the grammar, even though the semantic effects of D can be subsumed under the working…Read more
  •  29
    • Beaver and Condoravdi (2007): NO “In Davidsonian Event Semantics the analysis of quantification is problematic: either quantifiers are treated externally to the event system and quantified in (cf. Landman, 2000), or else the definitions of the quantifiers must be greatly (and non-uniformly) complicated (cf. Krifka, 1989)”.
  •  29
    (1) adapted from (Higginbotham, 2006): (black instead of red) a. Do you see the man in (or: wearing) the black hat? b. #Do you see the man in (or: wearing) a black hat?
  •  25
    This paper presents a diagnostic for identifying distributive constructions and shows that it applies to pseudopartitives and for -adverbials. On this basis, a unified account is proposed for the parallels between the constructions involved. This account explains why for -adverbials reject telic predicates (*run to the store for five hours), why pseudopartitives reject count nouns (*five pounds of book ), and why both reject certain measure functions like temperature and speed (*30 of water, *dr…Read more
  •  22
    The traditional answer is: they must be atelic. But as we will see, this notion is imprecise. We will improve on it, without rejecting it. (Basically we’ll end up with temporally vs. spatially telic.).
  •  21
    What licenses the use of a definite description? The formal and philosophical literature has approached this question in two ways. The uniqueness approach (Frege, 1892; Russell, 1905; Strawson, 1950) holds that we may use a definite determiner only if the property denoted by its complement holds of exactly one individual in some domain: Sentence (1) and (2) can only be true if there is exactly one king of France, and exactly one American governor, respectively. Since this is not the case in the ac…Read more
  •  20
    Binding Theory in LTAG
    with Williams Hall
    This paper provides a unification-based implementation of Binding Theory (BT) for the English language in the framework of feature-based lexicalized tree-adjoining grammar (LTAG). The grammar presented here does not actually coindex any noun phrases, it merely outputs a set of constraints on co- and contraindexation that may later be processed by a separate anaphora resolution module. It improves on previous work by implementing the full BT rather than just Condition A. The main technical innovat…Read more
  •  4
    This is a description of the collection of scripts which I'm submitting as a term project for the CIS530 course, what their purpose is, and how to use them. Note that at the moment I'm writing this, the tool is installed on alpha.nlp.liniac.upenn.edu in the directory /home/champoll/tblplus. It will most likely not run anywhere else at the moment, though it can be adapted easily if the relevant packages (especially fnTBL) are installed. See below fore more details
  • This book uses mathematical models of language to explain why there are certain gaps in language: things that we might expect to be able to say but can't. For instance, why can we say I ran for five minutes but not *I ran to the store for five minutes? Why is five pounds of books acceptable, but *five pounds of book not acceptable? What prevents us from saying *sixty degrees of water to express the temperature of the water in a swimming pool when sixty inches of water can express its depth? And …Read more