syntax and semantics of sequentials....

Vincent DeCaen decaen at
Mon Dec 4 09:21:08 EST 2000

dear b-haverim,

after five years of puzzling and puzzling till my puzzler was sore, i
think i can finally (!?) redeem the big IOU in my doctoral work. I was
lacking an insightful treatment of the semantics of the sequentials within
a framework of strict compositionality (generative syntax and semantics).
i also have an interesting prosodic analysis of stress shifting in both
sequentials within an incorporation analysis. the result also accounts for
negation with sequentials and the terminal use of weqatal in wayyiqtol

briefly, the insight was related to the semantics of weqatal in if-then
constructions. there is no if-then in natural language semantics. but
there is an elimination of the conditional using "&": ~(A & ~B). the
insight was that sequence is general could be unified using the positive
version of this representation:  (A & ~B). this seems counterintuitive,
since you would think simple conjunction ought to be (A & B), but...

there are numerous implications if i could work this out (halfway home

1. truth-functional semantics of actual natural language.
2. representation and interaction of tense and mood.
3. mood ((ir)realis) as global negation.
4. use and interpretation of multiple/stacked negations.
5. syntax of coordination and asymmetry
6. syntax beyond the clause and discourse analysis/textlinguistics
7. word order and mood.
8. crosslinguistic analysis of sequential systems

pretty exciting..... ;-)

Dr Vincent DeCaen     <decaen at>
c/o Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, 4 Bancroft Ave., 2d floor
University of Toronto, Toronto ON, CANADA, M5S 1A1

Hebrew Syntax Encoding Initiative,
Love work. Hate authority.  --Shemaiah, from Avot

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