Vectors as relative positions: a compositional semantics of modified PPs

Journal of Semantics 14 (1):57-86 (1997)
The interpretation of modified PPs, like one meter behind the disk, far outside the village, or right under the lamp, has never received much attention in the literature about prepositions. However, as this paper shows, the modification of PPs presents an intriguing problem for a compositional semantics of PPs. This problem can be solved when the PP is interpreted, not as a set of points or mereological portions of space, but as a set of vectors, that represent positions relative to the reference object. Modifiers map a set of vectors to a subset For example, if behind the desk denotes the set of vectors pointing backward from the desk, then one meter behind the desk denotes the subset consisting of those vectors that have a length of one meter. Given the familiar operations on vectors, the denotations of PPs can be studied in a systematic way, by formulating formal properties that characterize empirically relevant subclasses of locative PPs or that provide general constraints on their denotation. The examples are taken from Dutch, but the conclusions are valid for all languages that have the kind of PP modification that exists in Dutch and English
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Joost Zwarts (2005). Prepositional Aspect and the Algebra of Paths. Linguistics and Philosophy 28 (6):739 - 779.
    Wlodek Zadrozny (1994). From Compositional to Systematic Semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy 17 (4):329 - 342.
    Anna Szabolcsi (2010). Quantification. Cambridge University Press.
    Dag Westerståhl (2004). On the Compositional Extension Problem. Journal of Philosophical Logic 33 (6):549-582.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    13 ( #100,596 of 1,089,053 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    3 ( #30,944 of 1,089,053 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.