What is Super Semantics? *

  title={What is Super Semantics?
  author={Philippe Schlenker},
  journal={Philosophical Perspectives},
  • P. Schlenker
  • Published 1 December 2018
  • Psychology
  • Philosophical Perspectives
Formal semantics was born from an attempt to state explicit rules to predict the truth conditions of natural language sentences. But this goal can be extended beyond language stricto sensu, to a variety of representational systems in nature. This was part of the program of semiotics (e.g. Morris 1938), construed as a general theory of signs; but it never got integrated to the research program of formal semantics. We argue for such an integration, on two general grounds. First, the class of… 
Musical Meaning within Super Semantics*
As part of a recent attempt to extend the methods of formal semantics beyond language ('Super Semantics'), it has been claimed that music has an abstract truth-conditional semantics, albeit one that
Meaningful Blurs: the sources of repetition-based plurals in ASL
It is argued that in ASL (American Sign Language), punctuated and unpunctuated repetitions are unlikely to be an exclusively grammatical mechanism, as they can be found with purely iconic (word-free) representations.
Iconic presuppositions
Why are some linguistic inferences treated as presuppositions? This is the ‘Triggering Problem,’ which we attack from a new angle: we investigate highly iconic constructions in gestures
Tagging: Semantics at the Iconic/Symbolic Interface
Tagging is the phenomenon in which regions of a picture, map, or diagram are annotated with words or other symbols, to provide descriptive information about a depicted object. The interpretive
A superlinguistics of hyperlink ‘pointing’
It is shown that one is able to give acceptability judgments for hyperlink placement and use, allowing us to define a precise syntax and semantics of hyperlinks.
Map Semantics and the Geography of Meaning
Maps are rich with potential for meaning. Their geographic contents are what enable simple acts of wayfinding, say from the grocery store to the gas station. But they can also reinforce the tectonic
Sapiens Animalis. La pensée spécifie-t-elle l’humain ?
Les fonctions cognitives superieures sont souvent considerees comme l’apanage de l’humain. Dans cet article, nous soutenons que les recherches en ethologie et en neurosciences nous montrent que l’on


Visible Meaning: Sign language and the foundations of semantics
It is argued that sign languages have a crucial role to play in the foundations of semantics, and that the full extent of Universal Semantics can only be studied in sign languages.
Sign Language and the Foundations of Anaphora
This work discusses two kinds of insights that sign language research can bring to the foundations of anaphora: the availability of situation-denoting variables in natural language and theavailability of binding without c-command.
Linguistic inferences without words
A successful “one-shot learning” of linguistic meanings is observed, with four of the main inference types (implicatures, presuppositions, supplements, homogeneity) replicated with gestures and animations, suggesting a deeper cognitive source for the inferential typology than usually thought.
Quotation, demonstration, and iconicity
This paper argues that these two types of verbal iconicity can, and should, incorporate their iconic elements in the same way using event modification via the notion of a context dependent demonstration, and proposes a unified formal account of quotation and classifier predicates.
Iconic features
Sign languages are known to display the same general grammatical properties as spoken languages (‘Universal Grammar’), but also to make greater use of iconic mechanisms. In Schlenker et al.’s ‘Iconic
The syntax of sign language agreement: Common ingredients, but unusual recipe
This paper argues that sign language agreement does represent an instance of agreement proper, as familiar from spoken language, that is fully governed by syntactic principles, and proposes an explicit formal analysis couched within the Minimalist Program that is modality-independent and only involves mechanisms that have been independently proposed for the analysis of agreement in spoken language.
Gestural semantics
  • P. Schlenker
  • Philosophy
    Natural Language & Linguistic Theory
  • 2018
We argue that a large part of the typology of linguistic inferences can be replicated with gestures, including some that one might not have seen before. While gesture research often focuses on
Iconic pragmatics
Recent comparative semantics suggests that sign language makes use of the same logical resources as spoken language, but has richer mechanisms of iconic enrichment. It is often thought that when
Iconic variables
We argue that some sign language loci (i.e. positions in signing space that realize discourse referents) are both formal variables and simplified representations of what they denote; in other words,
Interpreting plural predication: homogeneity and non-maximality
A theory in which sentences containing plural definite expressions trigger a family of possible interpretations, and where general principles of language use account for their interpretation in various contexts and syntactic environments is offered.