Compositionality and model-theoretic interpretation

The present paper studies the general implications of theprinciple of compositionality for the organization of grammar.It will be argued that Janssen''s (1986) requirement that syntax andsemantics be similar algebras is too strong, and that the moreliberal requirement that syntax be interpretable into semanticsleads to a formalization that can be motivated and applied more easily,while it avoids the complications that encumber Janssen''s formalization.Moreover, it will be shown that this alternative formalization evenallows one to further complete the formal theory of compositionality, inthat it is capable of clarifying the role played by translation,model-theoretic interpretation and meaning postulates,of which the latter two aspects received little or no attention inMontague (1970) and Janssen (1986).
Keywords compositionality  formal semantics  Frege's principle  interpretability  many-sorted algebra  meaning postulates  model-theoretic interpretation  Montague grammar  semiotics  similarity  syntax-semantics interface  translation  universal algebra  universal grammar
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DOI 10.1023/A:1026592526654
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