Kjell Johan Sæbø researches
A fifth category – Miscellaneous papers – is a selection of less well-published work.
Almost all papers are supplied with links to accessible files, in some cases via public repositories.
Selected journal articles
- (2019) Co-authored with Alexandra Spalek: To finish in German and Mainland Scandinavian: Telicity and incrementality. Journal of Semantics 36(2). 349-375. doi: 10.1093/jos/ffz003. PostprintInvestigates the ways to say finish in German and Norwegian and analyzes the verbal particle fertig/ferdig in such a way that the telicity constraint and the theme incrementality constraint shared with English finish both follow.
- (2019) The explicative genitive and close apposition. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 37(3). 997–1027. doi: 10.1007/s11049-018-9421-4. PostprintInvestigates the so-called explicative genitive or genitive of apposition and argues that it encodes the inverse of iota, that it is polymorphic, and that close apposition involves a covert genitive.
- (2016) How questions and the manner-method distinction. Synthese 193(10). 3169–3194. doi: 10.1007/s11229-015-0924-9. PostprintInvestigates the many ways to respond to how questions and their correlations with answer partiality/completeness and the distinction between manners and methods, and distinguishes between manner questions where how modifies a predicate and method questions where how is an argument of an abstract predicate.
- (2015) Lessons from Descriptive Indexicals. Mind 124(496). 1111–1161. doi: 10.1093/mind/fzv031. PostprintAims to show that there is a division of labor between the two principal methods for analyzing de re readings of definite descriptions in intensional contexts, the actuality method and the acquaintance method, and to identify criteria for choosing among alternative ways to model the latter method.
- (2013) Reports of Specific Indefinites. Journal of Semantics 30(3). 267–314. doi: 10.1093/jos/ffs015. PostprintSpecific indefinites can be reported with referential terms if the original speaker had the individual in mind but could not use such a term. To account for this, I propose that speech reports reflect the sort of contexts where indefinites can denote individuals, speakers' contexts, so that epistemic specificity here becomes visible.
- (2012) Co-authored with Atle Grønn: A, The, Another: A Game of Same and Different. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 21(1). 75–95. doi: 10.1007/s10849-011-9148-7. PostprintWe ask ourselves in what circumstances, and for what reasons, an indefinite has a novelty effect, and get the answer: rarely (in fact, only when the determiner another is somehow incapacitated or there is a bias for a novelty interpretation), and, it has less to do with antipresupposition than with Quantity.
- (2009) Judgment ascriptions. Linguistics and Philosophy 32(4). 327–352. doi: 10.1007/s10988-009-9063-4. PostprintOn subjective attitude predicates like Norwegian synes or Swedish tycka, presenting both a relativist and a contextualist treatment but arguing from facts about coordination and (non-)at-issue meaning for the latter.
- (2009) Possession and pertinence: The meaning of have. Natural Language Semantics 17(4). 369–397. doi: 10.1007/s11050-009-9047-5. PostprintA paper on the verb have, focussing on the case where the object is a small clause and arguing that the object is always a small clause, and that all the verb means is abstraction over a variable; this variable is often given, overtly or covertly, but often it must be inferred through some, typically possessive, relation.
- (2007) Focus interpretation in Thetic statements: Alternative Semantics and Optimality Theory Pragmatics. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 16(1). 15–33. doi: 10.1007/s10849-006-9021-2. PostprintOffers an account of lexical and contextual constraints on broad focus and theticity as mirror images of focus presuppositions in a bidirectional OT enriched Alternative Semantics.
- (2004) Conversational contrast and conventional parallel: Topic implicatures and additive presuppositions. Journal of Semantics 21(2). 199–217. doi: 10.1093/jos/21.2.199. PostprintAdditive presupposition triggers like too and again are obligatory because the context contradicts a contrast implicature arising from the associate and because the trigger adds the presupposed alternative to the associate, so that the contrast implicature does not concern that alternative.
- (2004) Co-authored with Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen: In a mediative mood: The semantics of the German reportive subjunctive. Natural Language Semantics 12(3). 213–257. doi: 10.1023/B:NALS.0000034514.27887.d9. PreprintWe develop an account of the German Konjunktiv I, signalling that the proposition is an indirect quotation, in terms of a presupposition which is verified or accommodated intra- or intersententially.
- (2001) The semantics of Scandinavian Free Choice items. Linguistics and Philosophy 24(6). 737–788. doi: 10.1023/A:1012788916366. PreprintArgues that Scandinavian Free Choice items are universal quantifiers which have to raise from modal contexts and models this by decomposing the determiner into a universal and a component denoting the identity function on propositions.
- (1996) Anaphoric presuppositions and zero anaphora. Linguistics and Philosophy 19(2). 187–209. doi: 10.1007/BF00635837. PostprintA theory of Null Complement Anaphora, embedded in Discourse Representation Theory: A zero argument is anaphoric if and only if it participates in a presupposition triggered by the predicate.
Selected papers in collections
- (2014) Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans: More on Missing. In Daniel Gutzmann, Jan Köpping and Cécile Meier (eds.), Approaches to Meaning: Composition, Values, and Interpretation. Leiden: Brill. 105–127. doi: 10.1163/9789004279377_006. PostprintI elaborate on Ede Zimmermann's (2010) suggestion that sentences like Most of the panes are missing are best analyzed by quantifying over individual concepts, strengthening the case for this 'intentionalist' stance.
- (2011) Co-authored with Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen: Behabitive reports. In Elke Brendel, Jörg Meibauer and Markus Steinbach (eds.), Understanding Quotation. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 85–106. doi: 10.1515/9783110240085.85. PostprintA paper on report verbs like criticize, showing that the embedded proposition can play two different semantic roles, the object or the content of the speech act, and relating the two readings to a common format.
- (2008) The structure of criterion predicates. In Johannes Dölling, Tatjana Heyde-Zybatow and Martin Schäfer (eds.), Event Structures in Linguistic Form and Interpretation. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 127–147. doi: 10.1515/9783110925449.127. PostprintThis paper aims to show that both manner-neutral causatives and what Kate Kearns called criterion predicates have a slot for a more specific predicate and that instrumental by adjuncts serve to fill that slot by unification.
- (2001) Necessary conditions in a natural language. In Caroline Féry and Wolfgang Sternefeld (eds.), Audiatur vox Sapientiae. A Festschrift for Arnim von Stechow. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag. 427–449. doi: 10.1515/9783050080116.427. Published versionMy paper on what came to be called anankastic conditionals, showing that Kratzer's theory of modals and conditionals as it stands (or stood) cannot predict their meaning and giving a semi-compositional analysis in an augmented theory.
- (1999) Discourse linking and discourse subordination. In Peter Bosch and Rob van der Sandt (eds.), Focus: Linguistic, Cognitive, and Computational Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 322–335. PostprintGeneralizes the Rule for distribution over a set obtained by Abstraction (Kamp and Reyle 1993) to discourse linked DPs, quantificational adverbs, and modals, subsuming the relevant contexts under a general notion of discourse subordination.
Selected proceedings papers
- (2011) Appositives in Modal Contexts. In Ingo Reich, Eva Horch and Dennis Pauly (eds.), Sinn und Bedeutung 15. Proceedings. Universaar – Saarland University Press. 79–100.I argue that nominal appositives are building blocks of propositions and that so-called non-speaker oriented readings are de dicto readings of presuppositions in modal contexts. Downward entailing modal contexts – typically, surprise contexts – provide the key to this conclusion.
- (2007) On the Quantity and Quality of Contexts in Discourse Semantics. In Jon Cihlar, Amy Franklin, Dave Kaiser and Irene Kimbara (eds.), CLS 39-2: The Panels. Papers from the 39th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Chicago Linguistic Society. 319–340. PostprintReviews old and new research on additive particles to show that in discourse semantics, it is necessary to consider authentic data in sufficient breadth – both in the syntagmatic and in the paradigmatic dimension. The chief insight: Constructed examples are too short and misguide analyses.
- (2007) A whether forecast. In Balder ten Cate and Henk Zeevat (eds.), Logic, Language, and Computation. TbiLLC 2005 (LNCS vol. 4363). Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer. 189–199. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-75144-1_14. PostprintThe fact that believe is infelicitous with interrogative complements is attributed to the competition from factive know, blocking the only possible interpretation; the fact that emotive (surprise) predicates like amazing are infelicitous with i.a. whether complements is attributed to the competition with that complements.
- (2004) Optimal Interpretations of Permission Sentences. In Rusudan Asatiani (ed.), Proceedings of the 5th Tbilisi Symposium on Language, Logic and Computation. Tbilisi: CLLS, Tbilisi State University. 137–144. PostprintOffering a pragmatic solution to the problem of Free Choice Permission (you may take an apple or a pear) in terms of the probability of the intended interpretation in the framework of Bidirectional Optimality Theory.
- (2003) Presupposition and Contrast: German aber as a Topic Particle. In Matthias Weisgerber (ed.), Proceedings of SuB7. Constance: University of Constance. 257–271.I propose to analyse the German contrast item aber as a topic-sensitive presupposition trigger, essentially the negative counterpart of the additive item auch. Special interpretations like Concession and Denial of Expectation are argued to be Relevance-based implicatures arising through the alternativeness relation.
- (1997) Topic, Focus, and Quantifier Raising. In Paul Dekker, Martin Stokhof and Yde Venema (eds.), Proceedings of the 11th Amsterdam Colloquium. Amsterdam: ILLC, University of Amsterdam. 67–72. PostprintArguing that Quantifier Raising is information structurally driven, more specifically, that it is covert Contrastive Topic raising.
- (1992) The generation of noun phrases: adequacy and anaphora. In Paul Dekker and Martin Stokhof (eds.), Proceedings of the 8th Amsterdam Colloquium. Amsterdam: ILLC, University of Amsterdam. 531–546. FacsimileI present an algorithm set in a Prolog program for generating discourses with definite and indefinite DPs, including definite descriptions containing pronouns, from discourse representations, and develop a formal definition of the Principle of Adequacy (Dale 1988) and show how it must be modified.
- (1988) A Cooperative Yes-No Query System Featuring Discourse Particles. In Dénes Vargha (ed.), Proceedings of COLING '88, The 12th International Conference on Computational Linguistics. Budapest: John von Neumann Society for Computing Sciences. 549–554. FacsimileI present an algorithm set in a Prolog program for generating cooperative, complex responses to polar questions where the logical discourse relations between the response particle and the continuation as well as within the continuation are reflected by appropriate discourse particles.
Selected handbook articles
- (2020) Anankastic Conditionals. In Daniel Gutzmann, Lisa Matthewson, Cécile Meier, Hotze Rullmann and Ede Zimmermann (eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Semantics. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons. 26 pp. 10.1002/9781118788516.sem107. Postprint
- (2016) Information structure and presupposition. In Caroline Féry and Shinichiro Ishihara (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Information Structure. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 128–146. 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199642670.013.012. Postprint
- (2011) Adverbial clauses. In Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn and Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics. An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning<. Volume 2. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 1420–1441. 10.1515/9783110255072.1420. Postprint
- (1991) Causal and purposive clauses. In Arnim von Stechow and Dieter Wunderlich (eds.), Semantics: an International Handbook of Contemporary Research. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 623–631. Postprint
- (2010) On the semantics of "embedded exclamatives". Studia linguistica 64(1). 116–140. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9582.2010.01165.x. Postprint Asks what distinguishes embedded exclamatives from embedded interrogatives. The general conclusion: It is safe to say that the intension of a wh- clause, whether used as an exclamation or a question, assigns to any world a proposition true in it.
- (2009) Focus, sensitivity, and the Currency of the Question. In Arndt Riester and Edgar Onea (eds.), Focus at the Syntax-Semantics Interface (SinSpeC. Working Papers of the SFB 732 3). University of Stuttgart. 87–99. A paper taking issue with the contention by Beaver and Clark (2008) that (i.a.) exclusive particles and focus are invariably sensitive to the same salient set of propositions, the Current Question.
- (2009) Self intensification and focus interpretation. In Bergljot Behrens and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen (eds.), Structuring information in discourse (Oslo Studies in Language 1). University of Oslo. 109–129. Elaborates on Bergeton's proposal that the selv in complex reflexives is the intensifier selv, embedding it in Eckardt's theory of selbst and supplementing a bidirectional OT component to show why intensification is often necessary.
- (2004) Natural language corpus semantics: The Free Choice controversy. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 27(2). 197–218. doi: 10.1017/S0332586504001210. Postprint An essay on the methodology of semantics, arguing the need to base semantic analysis on corpus studies and illustrating the argument through the long-standing controversy over the proper analysis of Free Choice Items.
- (2003) Corpus linguistics and language contrast: Cases for compensation. Logos and Language 4(2). 19–29. Facsimile An essay on what translation corpora can tell us about how comparative gaps in the grammar or lexicon of a language can or must be compensated for, concluding, in the light of three case studies, that they can tell us some but not all.
- (2001) An analysis of the anticausative alternation. Manuscript. University of Oslo. A paper explicating, in a Distributed Morphology framework, von Stechow's suggestion that the reflexive in anticausatives is an object expletive, proposing that the inchoative v variant, while semantically unary, is still syntactically binary.
- (1993) Anaphoric Presuppositions and Zero Anaphora. In Hans Kamp (ed.), Presupposition. DYANA-2 Deliverable R2.2.A Part II. ILLC, Amsterdam. 135–192. Postprint This long paper, investigating the anaphoricity of anaphoric presuppositions and basing a theory of zero anaphora, aka Null Complement Anaphora, on that, underlies the 1996 journal article with the same title.
- (1991) Partition Semantics and cooperative response. In Harold Somers (ed.), Working Papers in Computational Semantics, Dialogue and Discourse. Centre for Computational Linguistics, UMIST, Manchester. 5–22. Postprint A formalization of the Gricean Maxim of Quantity in terms of partial answers in the framework of the Groenendijk and Stokhof theory of questions, with an algorithm set in a Prolog program.
- (1980) Infinitive perfect and backward causation. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 3(2). 161–173. doi: 1017/S0332586500000561. If counterfactural dependence is interpreted along the lines of branching possible worlds, causative constructions with present perfect effect sentences can be shown – under certain assumptions – to be systematically contradictory.