Semantics

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By Pauline Jacobson

This booklet offers an creation to compositional semantics and to the syntax/semantics interface. it truly is rooted in the culture of version theoretic semantics, and develops an particular fragment of either the syntax and semantics of a wealthy element of English.

Professor Jacobson adopts an immediate Compositionality procedure, wherein the syntax builds the expressions whereas the semantics concurrently assigns every one a model-theoretic interpretation. along this procedure, the writer additionally provides a competing view that uses an intermediate point, Logical shape. She develops parallel remedies of quite a few phenomena from either issues of view with special comparisons. The booklet starts off with uncomplicated and primary options and progressively builds a extra complicated fragment, together with analyses of extra complex subject matters comparable to concentration, damaging polarity, and a number of themes centering on pronouns and binding extra normally. workouts are supplied all through, along open-ended questions for college kids to think about. The routines are interspersed with the textual content to advertise self-discovery of the basics and their applications.

The ebook presents a rigorous beginning in formal research and version theoretic semantics and is appropriate for complicated undergraduate and graduate scholars in linguistics, philosophy of language, and comparable fields.

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Extra resources for Compositional Semantics: An Introduction to the Syntax/Semantics Interface

Example text

If the syntax and semantics work together, then the analysis given above leads to the conclusion that in the syntax a relative clause like who is graduating in December combines with linguistics major rather than with the tallest linguistics major. But this very question regarding the syntax of relative clauses has been debated in the literature since the 1960s, and many researchers have claimed that the syntactic constituent structure of the tallest linguistics major who is graduating next year is not the structure that was used above for the semantic analysis.

Zacky ! Abe Yonnie ! Abe Shelley ! Bert Baba ! David (20) a. f(Zacky) = Abe f(Yonnie) = Abe f(Shelley) = Bert f(Baba) = David Or, sometimes it is more convenient to list out the domain on the left and the co-domain on the right and connect them with arrows as in (21): (21) Zacky Abe Yonnie Bert Shelley Carl Baba David Which notation is chosen makes no difference; the choice should be dictated by clarity. 1. 3. 2. 4. 1. Model-theoretic semantics The primary focus of this book is the syntax/semantics interface—that is, how the syntax and semantics work so that sentences (and other wellformed linguistic expressions) are paired with a meaning.

This notion is easiest to grasp with some concrete examples. ” Then this can be seen as a set of ordered pairs; if we are restricting this to items from our little 1-2-3 set, this would be the set {(2,1), (3,1), (3,2)}. Now suppose we instead take the following set of ordered pairs: {(2,1), (3,1), (3,2), (1,1), (2,2), (3,3)}. ” Or, take the set {(1,1), (2,2), (3,3)}. That is the relation “is equal to” (defined for the set of integers {1,2,3}). In other words, what we are calling a relation is just some set of ordered pairs.

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