David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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This dissertation is based on the compositional model theoretic approach to natural language semantics that was initiated by Montague (1970) and developed by subsequent work. In this general approach, coordination and negation are treated following Keenan & Faltz (1978, 1985) using boolean algebras. As in Barwise & Cooper (1981) noun phrases uniformly denote objects in the boolean domain of generalized quanti®ers. These foundational assumptions, although elegant and minimalistic, are challenged by various phenomena of coordination, plurality and scope. The dissertation solves these problems by developing a ¯exible process of meaning composition, as ®rst proposed by Partee & Rooth (1983). Flexible interpretation involves semantic operations without any phonological counterpart, which participate in the interpretation process and change meanings of overt expressions. The dissertation introduces a novel ¯exible system where a small number of operations describe the behaviour of complex phenomena such as `non-boolean' and, the scope of inde®nites and the semantics of collectivity with quanti®cational NPs. The proposed theory is based on a distinction between two features of meanings in natural language.
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