Semantics

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By William Frawley

This quantity is a complete, up to date, and readable advent to linguistic which means. whereas keen on conceptual and typological ways, the publication additionally offers effects from formal methods. all through, the focal point is on grammatical which means -- the way in which languages delineate common semantic house and encode it in grammatical shape.

matters lined through the writer contain: the area of linguistic semantics and the elemental instruments, assumptions, and problems with semantic research; semantic houses of entities, occasions, and thematic roles; language and house; demanding, point, and the inner constitution and temporal ordering of occasions; modality, negation, and the epistemology of the speaker; and amendment and attribution. unlike most present remedies of semantics, this booklet is on the market to the start pupil of semantics and linguistics and in addition precious to the complicated practitioner. A textbook and reference paintings in one quantity, it may be utilized in a couple of disciplines: psychology, machine technology, and anthropology in addition to linguistics.

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The logical study of meaning has a long history, and here we can hope only to survey some of the results and present the spirit of logical analysis (clear accounts of logical semantics as a whole are given by Allwood et al. 1977; Bach 1989; Ladusaw 1988; and McCawley 1981). Consequently, we limit our exposition to the nature and requirements of formal semantics, to certain general problems that formal semantics poses for the description of grammatical meaning in empirical terms, and, in the end, to a consideration of how formal and nonformal semantics may be fruitfully brought together.

Where is the punctuality? In the world, the extension, punch does not pick out a momentary event at all. Extensionally, punch refers to a set of events that do take up time: the folding of the fist, the movement of the arm, the contact of the fist with another object, and the subsequent recoil of the arm. In actual fact, the event of punching has duration, but in linguistic fact, it does not: 4a. It took five minutes to punch him. b. I spent an hour punching him. Example (4a) is disallowed because it attributes duration to the event; example (4b) is understandable only if it is seen as describing repeated actions of punching, not an extended single act.

From a formal standpoint, all three quantifiers are treated alike, but their content matters and so in practice, they must be treated differently. Now, what about the second problem, that formal semantics treats some things differently that linguistic semantics treats alike? Previously it has been 2. FIVE APPROACHES TO MEANING 33 shown that negation is a gradient: from categorical denial to attenuated negation to uncertainty, respectively illustrated: 12a. Bob did not go. (denial) b. Bob rarely went.

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