(For CC,c.3/5. From Taylor)
1. Losing money. The following sentences contain the identical expression I lost $1,000. (i) a. I lost $1,000 in the street. (My wallet containing the bills fell out of my pocket.) b. I lost $1,000 on the Stock Exchange. (I made a bad investment.) In both cases, I end up $1,000 the poorer. From this point of view, I lost $1,000 has the same meaning in both sentences. Yet the actual process of losing the money, whether on the street or on the Stock Exchange, is differ- ent. Note that the two situations give rise to different entailments. (ii) a. If I Iose $1,000 in the street (because my wallet containing the bills falls out of my pocket), there is a chance that I might find my $1,000 again. b. If I Iose $1,000 on the Stock Exchange (because of a bad investment), there is the possibility that I might recover my $1,000 (by making another, more successful investment), but there is no possibility that I might find my $1,000 again. How might one explain these different entailments? Is the verb lose poly- semous? Is the expression $1,000 polysemous? Does find have one, or more than one meaning? What conditions have to be met for it to be appropriate for me to say that I `found' $1,000? And what conditions would have to be met for me to be able to say that I found my $1,000 `again'? 2. Leaving the University. The following has two distinct interpretations. (i) Mike left the University a short time ago. (If you find it difficult to get the two interpretations, try replacing a short time ago, first, with ten minutes ago, and then with ten years ago.) Which words, if any, in this sentence can reasonably be regarded as polysemous? What inferences can you draw about Mike and his relationship to the University on the two interpretations? 3. Full of beer. Consider the ways in which the following sentences are interpreted: (i) The bottle is full of beer. (ii) The container is full of beer. (iii) The fridge is full of beer. Is the manner in which the beer 'fills' the bottle in (i) analogous to the manner in which the beer `fills' the fridge in (iii)? What kind of container do you imagine in (ii)? How could one account for these effects? 4. In. In its spatial uses, in designates a relation of containment. The following seems to hold: (i) If a is in b, a occupies a place that is contained within the place that is occupied by b. While this characterization may be generally true, the manner of containment is conceptualized differently, according to the nature of the container and the contained. How is the containment relation conceptualized in the following? (ii) the water in the vase the crack in the vase the flowers in the vase the umbrella in my hand the car in the street the money in my hand the diamond in the ring the light bulb in the socket Sometimes, more than one conceptualization is available: (iii) the cigarette in my mouth the splinter in my hand ten children (standing) in a circle Given the characterization in (i), the following should hold. (Technically, in expresses a transitive relation.) (iv) if a is in b, and b is in c, then a is in c. Does (iv) apply to the following? ` (v) The money is in my briefcase. My briefcase is in my car. Therefore, the money is in my car. (vi) The documents are in my car. My car is in the car park. Therefore, the documents are in the car park. (vii) The flowers are in the vase. The vase is in my hand. Therefore, the flowers are in my hand. 5. Near the house. Chomsky (2000: 35-6) drew attention to some (for him) curious aspects of the word house. If you paint the house brown, you (typically) paint only the exterior shell of the house. (Not all parts of the exterior, though; you wouldn't paint the window panes brown, for example.) It you see the house, you see its exterior; you are not able (accord- ing to Chomsky) to `see the house' if you are sitting inside it. House, in these examples, therefore designates the exterior walls of a building. Suppose, now, that two people, Irene and Olga, are each located three metres from the exterior wall of a house. lrene is inside the house, three metres from the wall; Olga is outside the house, three metres from the wall. We could say that Olga is `near the house', but we could not say the same of Irene. How can we explain this, given that house is able to designate the exterior walls of a building? Another question raised by Chomsky's observations is the following: What do you do if you clean the house? Is the expression open to different inter- pretations? Consider what a house-painter might mean, if he has to `clean the house' before painting it. Which facets of a house are involved if we say that the house is a mess?