Crossing the appositive / at-issue meaning boundary

Scott AnderBois, Adrian Brasoveanu, Robert Henderson


Our goal is to provide systematic evidence from anaphora, presupposition and ellipsis that appositive meaning and at-issue meaning, e.g. as contributed by the relative appositive and the main clause in John, who nearly killed a woman with his car, visited HER in the hospital, have to be integrated into a single, incrementally evolving semantic representation. While previous literature has provided partial arguments to this effect (Nouwen 2007 for anaphora, Amaral et al 2007 and Potts 2009 for both anaphora and presupposition), the systematic nature of this evidence – in particular, the evidence from ellipsis we will introduce – has been previously unnoticed. We propose an analysis of these phenomena that integrates the dynamic account of anaphora and ellipsis as discourse reference to individuals and properties (respectively) with an account of at-issue meaning as a proposed update of the input Context Set (CS) that is to be negotiated and of appositive meaning as an actual / imposed update of the CS that is not up for negotiation.


appositives, dynamic semantics, ellipsis, propositional anaphora

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