Mass Terms and Model-Theoretic Semantics

Cambridge University Press (1985)
Abstract
'Mass terms', words like water, rice and traffic, have proved very difficult to accommodate in any theory of meaning since, unlike count nouns such as house or dog, they cannot be viewed as part of a logical set and differ in their grammatical properties. In this study, motivated by the need to design a computer program for understanding natural language utterances incorporating mass terms, Harry Bunt provides a thorough analysis of the problem and offers an original and detailed solution. An extension of classical set theory, Ensemble Theory, is defined, and this provides the conceptual basis of a framework for the analysis of natural language meaning which Dr Bunt calls Two-level model-theoretic semantics. The validity of the framework is convincingly demonstrated by the formal analysis of a fragment of English including sentences with quantified and modified mass terms. Separate chapters of the book are devoted to an axiomatic definition of Ensemble Theory and a detailed discussion of its status as a mathematical formalism.
Keywords Semantics  Grammar, Comparative and general Mass nouns  Logic, Symbolic and mathematical  Set theory
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Call number P325.B85 1985
ISBN(s) 0521105919   052125681X  
DOI 10.2307/2274538
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Mass Nouns and Plural Logic.David Nicolas - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2):211-244.
Independent Set Readings and Generalized Quantifiers.Livio Robaldo - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 39 (1):23-58.
Distributivity, Collectivity, and Cumulativity in Terms of (In)Dependence and Maximality.Livio Robaldo - 2011 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 20 (2):233-271.
Bare Nouns and Number in Dëne Sųłiné.Andrea Wilhelm - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (1):39-68.

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