UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Experimenting with the King of France -- Topics, verifiability and definite descriptions

Abrusan, M; Szendroi, K; (2013) Experimenting with the King of France -- Topics, verifiability and definite descriptions. Semantics and Pragmatics , 6 (10) 1 - 43. 10.3765/sp.6.10. Green open access

[img]
Preview
Text
Abrusan and Szendroi 2013.pdf

Download (514kB) | Preview

Abstract

Definite descriptions with reference failure have been argued to give rise to different truth-value intuitions depending on the local linguistic context in which they appear. We conducted an experiment to investigate these alleged differences, thereby contributing new data to the debate. We have found that pragmatic strategies dependent on verification and topicalisation, suggested in the context of trivalent/partial theories, indeed play a role in people's subjective judgments. We discuss the consequences of these findings for all major approaches to definite descriptions (i.e. Russellian, Strawsonian, pragmatic). Finally, we offer a discussion of the relative contribution of verificational and topicality effects on truth values, reaching the conclusion that verification is primarily relevant and topicality is dependent on that. We thus support von Fintel's (2004) position on the primacy of verification, but not his dismissal of topicality as a factor.

Type: Article
Title: Experimenting with the King of France -- Topics, verifiability and definite descriptions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3765/sp.6.10
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/sp.6.10
Language: English
Additional information: ©2013 Márta Abrusán and Kriszta Szendr˝oi This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons NonCommercial License (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0).
Keywords: definite descriptions; presupposition; experimental pragmatics; verifiability; topics
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1327626
Downloads since deposit
167Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item