Jacques Moeschler travaille actuellement sur plusieurs projets de recherche.
CAUSE: Pragmatique lexicale et non-lexicale de la causalité en français: approches descriptives, théoriques et expérimentales
- Cécile Grivaz: Automatic extraction of causal knowledge from natural language texts
- Joanna Blochowiak: Porteurs d'explication: analyse linguistique, pragmatique et expérimentale des marques de l’explication en français et dans d’autres langues
Documents joints: Résumé du projet (résumé.pdf), Rapport scientifique final
COMTIS: Improving the Coherence of Machine Translation Output by Modeling Intersentential Relations
- Groupe Linguistique: Bruno Cartoni, Cristina Grisot, Jacques Moeschler, Sandrine Zufferey
- Objet de recherche: connecteurs pragmatiques et temps verbaux, dans une approche contrastive, orienté corpus, outils d'aide à la traduction automatique
- Thèse en cours
- Cristina Grisot: Un modèle multilingue de description sémantico-pragmatique des temps verbaux pour améliorer la traduction automatique
LogPrag: The semantics and pragmatics of logical words: negation and connectives
Résumé du projet de recherche
This research project is about logical words (LWs) in natural languages with a special focus on French. More precisely, the linguistic counterpart of logical connectives and negation will be studied in the general framework of the semantics-pragmatics interface.
The investigation of LWs is essential for the understanding of some fundamental issues in linguistics and human cognition: (i) all natural languages have words for negation (‘ne…pas’ in French) and logical connectives as ‘et’ (‘and’), ‘ou’ (‘or’) and ‘si’ (‘if’); (ii) all natural languages have pragmatic meanings for these LWs which systematically differ from their logical meanings; (iii) the linguistic properties (mainly syntactic) of LWs are not universal but greatly vary cross-linguistically and intra-linguistically; (iv) human cognition seems to be firmly based on the logical properties of LWs, as supported by reasoning abilities and argumentation usages; (v) for reasons of communication human cognition seems to develop specific pragmatic meanings diverging from logical ones in very systematic ways.
Our main hypothesis is that the pragmatic meanings of LWs are restrictions on their logical meanings, which we assume to constitute their basic semantics. These restrictions in meaning are not specific to a particular language, but they are widespread in natural languages. For instance, in French, 'et' (‘and’) has as semantic meaning the truth-conditions of the logical connective (LC) of conjunction, whereas its pragmatics includes temporal and causal meanings; French 'ou' (‘or’) has as semantic meaning the truth-conditions of the LC of the inclusive disjunction whereas its pragmatics is that of the exclusive disjunction; the French LC 'si' (‘if’) has as semantic meaning the truth-conditions of the conditional LC (material implication) whereas in most cases its pragmatics is the bi-conditional meaning realized in the equivalence LC 'si et seulement si' (‘if and only if’); finally, logical negation has the logical property of taking wide scope, i.e. it scopes over a whole proposition, whereas negation in natural languages is restricted, in its descriptive use, to a local domain in syntax as well as in semantics – for instance the VP domain.
Hence, LogPrag is setup to address the following three issues: (i) to describe how the logical properties of LWs can yield pragmatically more restricted meanings; (ii) to compare the pragmatic behaviors of various LWs in order to confirm the ‘restriction domain hypothesis’ (RDH); (iii) to design a series of experimental studies to test RDH empirically (on negation, conjunction, disjunction and conditionals).
More generally, LogPrag will examine three types of relationships:
(a) the code-inference interface, which has been, since the Gricean turn, a pervasive issue in pragmatic theory;
(b) the semantics-pragmatics interface, which addresses the issue of how to account for the relationship between logical and pragmatic meanings, as well as the scope of negation and quantifiers;
(c) the lexicon-context interface, which addresses the issue of the mutual contribution of lexical information and contextual import in pragmatic interpretation.
Finally, LogPrag will address some issues beyond the semantics-pragmatics interface concerning reasoning and argumentation: logical words play a key role in reasoning (especially the conditional reasoning) and negation plays a crucial role in counter-argumentation. The linguistic and pragmatic properties of metalinguistic negation will be essential in the study of the semantics of negation.