Red watermelons and large elephants: A case against compositionality?

Theoria 15 (38):263-280 (2000)
The standard argument against the compositionality of adjective-noun compounds containing "red" says that "red" does not make the same semantic contribution because a red car has to be red outside whereas a red watermelon has to be red inside. Fodor's reply to that argument is that the inside/outside feature is semantically irrelevant because "red F" just means F which is red for Fs. That account agrees with our intuitions concerning analyticity; but it seems to be in conflict with a central test for understanding: a person who knows nothing else about these expressions than what is offered by Fodor is far from applying them successfully
Keywords Adjective  Competence  Compositionality  Language  Meaning  Noun  Semantics  Fodor, J
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DOI theoria200015222
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