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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation deals with the cognitive act of perception and the linguistic form of perceptual reports, and the linguistic mechanism of anaphoric processes involved in the semantics of atomic "events" in human language. It has been claimed that the notion of "events" should be incorporated into formal grammar. Adopting this insight, our main concern in the present thesis is how "events" are realized in syntactic and semantic structures. I show that Japanese is a suitable language to demonstrate that an "event" is a fundamental notion of human thought and language. I follow Davidson's (1967) original conception of event semantics, and I illustrate that human language has a variety of devices for marking events, and that our language architecture does reflect the event structure of the human mind. More specifically, following the ontological discussion of Bach (1981, 1989), I provide evidence that supports Higginbotham (1985, 1987, 1996) and Higginbotham and Ramchand (1996), who claim that every predicate (including stative predicates) has an implicit event argument that can be bound by either overt or non-overt operators. For this purpose, I look at data from three general areas. The first area is the cognitive judgment style of thetic assertion and its syntactic realization in perceptual reports. I show that thetic sentences are sentences in which an event variable e&barbelow; is obligatorily existentially closed. The second area I address involves anaphoric processes of reciprocity and eventualities in linguistics semantics. Specifically, I investigate otagai and V-aw, the so-called "reciprocals" in Japanese. The properties of otagai and V-aw give rise to the seeming appearance of reciprocity. However, I illustrate that "reciprocals" in Japanese are not like the reciprocals in English. I propose that otagai is a dual existential quantifier over event positions, and that it binds event variables in predicates. The third area is the semantics of zibun (the so-called "reflexive" in Japanese) and otagai with regard to "intensional context". This analysis reveals the different stage-phases of the properties of the Japanese pro-forms. Throughout the chapters, I pursue the question of how "stageness" is captured and computed in human language devices.
Degree ProgramGraduate College