A Montagovian semantics for discourse connectives

Timothée Bernard, Université Paris Diderot


Using tools from continuation semantics, we present a Montagovian treatment of the anaphoric character of discourse connectives (so, instead, etc.). Considering discourse arguments as event-like objects from the Davidsonian tradition allows us to naturally extend previous accounts of pronominal anaphora to adverbial connectives (1). The same set of ideas can be used to formally model the observation that causal subordinate connectives (e.g. because) restrict the interpretation of verbs of report to an intensional use (2) while contrastive ones (e.g. although) are compatible with both intensional (3.a) and evidential (3.b) interpretations.

(1) Fred came to the party. So, he is tired today.
(2) Fred came to the party because Sabine said she wanted to see him.
(3) a. Fred came to the party although Sabine said she didn't want to see him.
b. Fred came to the party although Sabine said he hadn't finished writing his research proposal.