This paper studies a distinction that was proposed in previous works between total and partial adjectives. In pairs of adjectives such as safe–dangerous, clean–dirty and healthy–sick, the first (“total”) adjective describes lack of danger, dirt, malady, etc., while the second (“partial”) adjective describes the existence of such properties. It is shown that the semantics of adjective phrases with modifiers such as almost, slightly, and completely is sensitive to whether the adjective is total or partial. The interpretation of such modified constructions (...) is accounted for using a novel scale structure for total and partial adjectives. It is proposed that the standard value of a total adjective is always fixed as the lower bound of the corresponding partial adjective. By contrast, the standard value of partial adjectives can take any point on the partial scale. The effects of this theoretical distinction on the behavior of modified constructions are studied in detail, and their ramifications for the semantic theory of adjectives are discussed. Some other phenomena are surveyed that show evidence for total and partial adjectival constructions with various comparatives and exceptive phrases. (shrink)
Sentences with multiple occurrences of plural definites give rise to certain effects suggesting that distributivity should be modeled by polyadic operations. Yet in this paper it is argued that the simpler treatment of distributivity using unary universal quantification should be retained. Seemingly polyadic effects are claimed to be restricted to definite NPs. This fact is accounted for by the special anaphoric (dependent) use of definites. Further evidence concerning various plurals, island constraints, and cumulative quantification is shown to support this claim. (...) In addition, it is shown that the evidence against a simple atomic version of unary distributivity is not decisive either. In the (uncommon) cases where distributivity with definites is not strictly atomic, they can be analyzed as dependent on implicit quantifiers. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
This paper introduces a compositional semantics of locativeprepositional phrases which is based on a vector space ontology.Model-theoretic properties of prepositions like monotonicity andconservativity are defined in this system in a straightforward way.These notions are shown to describe central inferences with spatialexpressions and to account for the grammaticality of prepositionmodification. Model-theoretic constraints on the set of possibleprepositions in natural language are specified, similar to the semanticuniversals of Generalized Quantifier Theory.
The Strongest Meaning Hypothesis of Dalrymple et al (1994,1998), which was originally proposed as a principle for the interpretation of reciprocals, is extended in this paper into a general principle of plural predication. This principle applies to complex predicates that are composed of lexical predicates that hold of atomic entities, and determines the pluralities in the extension of the predicate. The meaning of such a complex predicate is claimed to be the truth-conditionally strongest meaning that does not contradict lexical properties (...) of the simple predicates it contains. Weak interpretations of reciprocals (as in the books are stacked on top of each other), plural predicate conjunction (e.g. the books are old and new) and ’atomic’ distributivity in general are derived by a unified mechanism, which ’weakens’ the basic universal meanings of strong reciprocals, boolean conjunction and quantification over atomic entities. (shrink)
In formal semantics, structure is treated as the essential ingredient in the creation of sentence meaning from individual word meaning. This book introduces some of the foundational concepts, principles and techniques in the formal semantics of natural language and outlines the mathematical principles that underlie linguistics meaning. Using English examples, Yoad Winter presents the most useful tools and concepts of formal semantics in an accessible style and includes a variety of practical exercises so that readers can learn to utilize these (...) tools effectively. For readers with an elementary background in set theory and linguistics or with an interest in mathematical modelling, this fascinating study is an ideal introduction to natural language semantics. Designed as a quick yet thorough introduction to one of the most vibrant areas of research in modern linguistics today this volume reveals the beauty and elegance of the mathematical study of meaning. (shrink)
This article studies the monotonicity behavior of plural determinersthat quantify over collections. Following previous work, we describe thecollective interpretation of determiners such as all, some andmost using generalized quantifiers of a higher type that areobtained systematically by applying a type shifting operator to thestandard meanings of determiners in Generalized Quantifier Theory. Twoprocesses of counting and existential quantification thatappear with plural quantifiers are unified into a single determinerfitting operator, which, unlike previous proposals, both capturesexistential quantification with plural determiners and respects theirmonotonicity (...) properties. However, some previously unnoticed factsindicate that monotonicity of plural determiners is not always preservedwhen they apply to collective predicates. We show that the proposedoperator describes this behavior correctly, and characterize themonotonicity of the collective determiners it derives. It is proved thatdeterminer fitting always preserves monotonicity properties ofdeterminers in their second argument, but monotonicity in the firstargument of a determiner is preserved if and only if it is monotonic inthe same direction in the second argument. We argue that this asymmetryfollows from the conservativity of generalized quantifiers innatural language. (shrink)
This paper develops a version of Natural Logic – an inference system that works directly on natural language syntactic representations, with no intermediate translation to logical formulae. Following work by Sánchez, we develop a small fragment that computes semantic order relations between derivation trees in Categorial Grammar. The proposed system has the following new characteristics: It uses orderings between derivation trees as purely syntactic units, derivable by a formal calculus. The system is extended for conjunctive phenomena like coordination and relative (...) clauses. This allows a simple account of non-monotonic expressions that are reducible to conjunctions of monotonic ones. A decision procedure for provability is developed for a fragment of Natural Logic. (shrink)
In this paper we introduce a theoretical framework and a logical application for analysing the semantics and pragmatics of contrastive conjunctions in natural language. It is shown how expressions like although, nevertheless, yet, and but are semantically definable as connectives using an operator for implication in natural language and how similar pragmatic principles affect the behaviour of both contrastive conjunctions and indicative conditionals. Following previous proposals, conditions on contrast in a conjunction are analysed as presuppositions of die conjunction. Further linguistic (...) evidence leads to a distinction between restrictive and non-restrictive connectives of contrast, and consequently between direct and indirect contrast, which are given a precise definition. A general interface for a theory of contrast using possible world semantics for implication is then presented. As a test case, we show how this interface is applicable to the semantics for conditionals that was introduced by Veltman in his article 'Data semantics and the pragmatics of indicative conditionals' (1986). This application yields an extension of Veltman's Data Logic, called Contrastive Data Logic Once appropriate modifications are added to Veltman's pragmatic considerations, we show that contrastive data logic provides an adequate tool for the analysis of substantial linguistic data concerning contrast and implication in natural language. (shrink)
We give a complete characterization of the class of upward monotone generalized quantifiers Q1 and Q2 over countable domains that satisfy the scheme Q1 x Q2 y φ → Q2 y Q1 x φ. This generalizes the characterization of such quantifiers over finite domains, according to which the scheme holds iff Q1 is ∃ or Q2 is ∀ (excluding trivial cases). Our result shows that in infinite domains, there are more general types of quantifiers that support these entailments.
This paper develops an inference system for natural language within the ‘Natural Logic’ paradigm as advocated by van Benthem, Sánchez and others. The system that we propose is based on the Lambek calculus and works directly on the Curry-Howard counterparts for syntactic representations of natural language, with no intermediate translation to logical formulae. The Lambek -based system we propose extends the system by Fyodorov et~al., which is based on the Ajdukiewicz/Bar-Hillel calculus Bar Hillel,. This enables the system to deal with (...) new kinds of inferences, involving relative clauses, non-constituent coordination, and meaning postulates that involve complex expressions. Basing the system on the Lambek calculus leads to problems with non-normalized proof terms, which are treated by using normalization axioms. (shrink)
By highlighting relations between experimental and theoretical work, this volume explores new ways of addressing one of the central challenges in the study of language and cognition. The articles bring together work by leading scholars and younger researchers in psychology, linguistics and philosophy. An introductory chapter lays out the background on concept composition, a problem that is stimulating much new research in cognitive science. Researchers in this interdisciplinary domain aim to explain how meanings of complex expressions are derived from simple (...) lexical concepts and to show how these meanings connect to concept representations. Traditionally, much of the work on concept composition has been carried out within separate disciplines, where cognitive psychologists have concentrated on concept representations, and linguists and philosophers have focused on the meaning and use of logical operators. This volume demonstrates an important change in this situation, where convergence points between these three disciplines in cognitive science are emerging and are leading to new findings and theoretical insights. This book is open access under a CC BY license. (shrink)
We argue that a comprehensive theory of reciprocals must rely on a general taxonomy of restrictions on the interpretation of relational expressions. Developing such a taxonomy, we propose a new principle for interpreting reciprocals that relies on the interpretation of the relation in their scope. This principle, the Maximal Interpretation Hypothesis (MIH), analyzes reciprocals as partial polyadic quantifiers. According to the MIH, the partial quantifier denoted by a reciprocal requires the relational expression REL in its scope to denote a maximal (...) relation in REL’s interpretation domain. In this way the MIH avoids a priori assumptions on the available readings of reciprocal expressions, which are necessary in previous accounts. Relying extensively on the work of Dalrymple et al. (Ling Philos 21:159–210, 1998), we show that the MIH also exhibits some observational improvements over Dalrymple et al.’s Strongest Meaning Hypothesis (SMH). In addition to deriving some attested reciprocal interpretations that are not expected by the SMH, the MIH offers a more restrictive account of the way context affects the interpretation of reciprocals through its influence on relational domains. Further, the MIH generates a reciprocal interpretation at the predicate level, which is argued to be advantageous to Dalrymple et al.’s propositional selection of reciprocal meanings. More generally, we argue that by focusing on restrictions on relational domains, the MIH opens the way for a more systematic study of the ways in which lexical meaning, world knowledge and contextual information interact with the interpretation of quantificational expressions. (shrink)
We characterize pairs of monotone generalized quantifiers Q1 and Q2 over finite domains that give rise to an entailment relation between their two relative scope construals. This relation between quantifiers, which is referred to as scope dominance, is used for identifying entailment relations between the two scopal interpretations of simple sentences of the form NP1–V–NP2. Simple numerical or set-theoretical considerations that follow from our main result are used for characterizing such relations. The variety of examples in which they hold are (...) shown to go far beyond the familiar existential-universal type. (shrink)
Expressions such as English himself are interpreted as locally bound anaphors in certain syntactic environments and are exempt from the binding conditions in others. This article provides a unified semantics for himself in both of these uses. Their difference is reduced to the interaction with the syntactic environment. The semantics is based on an extension of the treatment of pronominals in variable-free semantics. The adoption of variable free semantics is inspired by the existence of proxy-readings, which motivate an analysis based (...) on Skolem functions. It is explained why certain anaphor types allow proxy-readings whereas others do not. (shrink)
Simple locative sentences show a variety of pseudo-quantificational interpretations. Some locatives give the impression of universal quantification over parts of objects, others involve existential quantification, and yet others cannot be characterized by either of these quantificational terms. This behavior is explained by virtually all semantic theories of locatives. What has not been previously observed is that similar quantificational variability is also exhibited by locative sentences containing indefinites with the ‘a’ article. This phenomenon is especially problematic for traditional existential treatments of (...) indefinites. We propose a solution where indefinites denote properties and are assigned locations similarly to other spatial descriptions. This Property-Eigenspace Hypothesis accounts for the correlation between the interpretations of locative indefinites and the pseudo-quantificational effects with simple entity-denoting NPs. Thereby, the proposal opens up a new empirical domain for property-based theories of indefinites, with implications for the analysis of collective descriptions, generics, negative polarity items and part–whole structure. (shrink)
Words in Semitic texts often consist of a concatenation of word segments, each corresponding to a Part-of-Speech (POS) category. Semitic words may be ambiguous with regard to their segmentation as well as to the POS tags assigned to each segment. When designing POS taggers for Semitic languages, a major architectural decision concerns the choice of the atomic input tokens (terminal symbols). If the tokenization is at the word level the output tags must be complex, and represent both the segmentation of (...) the word and the POS tag assigned to each word segment. If the tokenization is at the segment level, the input itself must encode the different alternative segmentations of the words, while the output consists of standard POS tags. Comparing these two alternatives is not trivial, as the choice between them may have global effects on the grammatical model. Moreover, intermediate levels of tokenization between these two extremes are conceivable, and, as we will aim to show, beneficial. To the best of our knowledge, the problem of tokenization for POS tagging of Semitic languages has not been addressed before in full generality. In this paper, we study this problem for the purpose of POS tagging of Modern Hebrew texts. After extensive error analysis of the two simple tokenization models, we propose a novel, linguistically-motivated, intermediate tokenization model that gives better performance for Hebrew over the two initial architectures. Our study is based on the well-known Hidden Markov Models (HMMs). We start out from a manually devised morphological analyzer and a very small annotated corpus, and describe how to adapt an HMM-based POS tagger for both tokenization architectures. We present an effective technique for smoothing the lexical probabilities using an untagged corpus, and a novel transform for casting the segment-level tagger in terms of a standard, word-level, HMM implementation. The results obtained using our model are on par with the best published results on Modern Standard Arabic, despite the much smaller annotated corpus available for Modern Hebrew.. (shrink)
In this paper we introduce a theoretical framework and a logical application for analyzing the semantics and pragmatics of contrastive conjunctions in natural language. It is shown how expressions like "although", "nevertheless", "yet" and "but" are semantically definable as connectives using an operator for implication in natural language, and how similar pragmatic principles affect the behaviour of both contrastive conjunctions and indicative conditionals. Following previous proposals, conditions on contrast in a conjunction are analyzed as presuppositions of the conjunction. Further linguistic (...) evidence leads to a distinction between restrictive and non-restrictive connectives of contrast, and consequently between direct and indirect contrast, which are given a precise definition. (shrink)
DP hypothesis of Abney (1987), the syntactic unit that had formerly been known as noun phrase should in fact be analyzed as a phrase headed by a determiner, hence the label DP. Quite independently of this syntactic development, Partee (1987) proposed a type shifting paradigm for the semantic analysis of nominals (now called DPs). In Partee's proposal DPs are ambiguous between a referential reading of type e, a predicative reading of type et and a quantificational reading of type (et)t. DP (...) meanings can flexibly move between their different readings due to covert application of semantic operators. The present paper proposes some strong relationships between these syntactic and semantic paradigms. It is argued that the structure of the DP affects its semantics in that the NP level within the DP is purely predicative and the DP level itself is purely quantificational. However, the intermediate D' level is flexible between the predicate/quantifier semantic categories, due to the covert application of semantic operators at this level. Partee's assumption, adopted from Discourse Representation Theory and more traditional approaches in philosophical logic, that some DPs need to have a (discourse) referential reading, is withdrawn. Instead of Partee's type shifting operators between the three semantic categories she assumes, two operators are used between predicates and quantifiers. The choice function operation of Reinhart (1997) and Winter (1997) is used as a general operator from predicates to quantifiers. The minimum operator of Winter (1996) is used as a general operator from quantifiers to predicates. These two operations, referred to as category shifting operators , account for most of the Partee data and substantially extend the theory of flexibility to treat some intricate phenomena in the domains of coordination, plurality and scope. (shrink)
The course will give a concise introduction to compositional modeltheoretic semantics in the Montague tradition, with ample discussion and motivation coming from recent research. Concentrating on the underlying methodological principles, I will aim to attract students' attention to the beauty and scientific value of the description of intricate semantic phenomena using elegant and rigorously-defined mathematical techniques. The course is intended for students who don't necessarily have any prior knowledge in logic or linguistics, but have some basic mathematical or general scientific (...) background. The foundational concepts and techniques that will be covered include: entailment as a rich empirical domain, ambiguity, compositionality, direct modeltheoretic interpretation, types and model structure, boolean operators and generalized quantifiers. Motivations and examples will draw on recent research of coordination, quantifier scope and intensionality. Further remarks about diverse problems involving plurality, spatial expressions, conceptual semantics and pragmatics will be made as time permits. (shrink)
This paper concentrates on the syntax and semantics of bare nominals in Germanic and Romance languages. These languages do not normally allow nominals to occur without an article. However, some syntactic configurations, including predicative constructions, supplementives and some prepositional phrases, allow bareness of certain nominals. We argue that bare nominals in these constructions refer to capacities: professions, religions, nationalities or other roles in society. Capacities are analyzed as entities of type e, sortally distinct from regular individuals as well as kinds. (...) We further argue that the capacity interpretation is associated with NP – a layer within the DP that lacks number features. This accounts for the number-neutral status of bare nominals. We also show some patterns in languages other than Romance and Germanic that provide further cross-linguistic support for the postulation of capacities as a separate ontological category, specific to a low position within the DP. (shrink)
This paper argues that multiple coordinations like tall, thin and happy are interpreted in a “ﬂat” iterative process, but using “nested” recursive application of binary coordination operators in the compositional meaning derivation. Ample motivation for ﬂat interpretation is shown by contrasting such coordinations with nested, syntactically ambiguous, coordinate structures like tall and thin and happy. However, new evidence coming from type shifting and predicate distribution with verb phrases show motivation for an independent hierarchical ingredient in the compositional semantics of multiple (...) coordination with no parallel hierarchy in the syntax. This establishes a contrast between operations at the syntax-semantics interface and compositional semantic mechanisms. At the same time, such evidence motivate the treatment of operations like type shifting and distributivity as purely semantic. (shrink)
The distinction between syntactic and semantic techniques in linguistic theory is by now sufficiently clear. What is often debated is the extent to which syntactic and semantic considerations should be used in analyzing a given phenomenon. An empirical domain where the division of labour between syntax and semantics is especially problematic is the case of ``non-overt'' scope, or what I prefer to call the..
Since their introduction by Partee and Rooth (1983) into linguistic theory, type shifting principles have been extensively employed in various linguistic domains, including nominal predicates (Partee 1987), kind denoting NPs (Chierchia 1998), interrogatives (Groenendijk and Stokhof 1989), scrambled definites (De Hoop and Van der Does 1998) and plurals (Winter 2001,2002). Most of the accounts that use type shifting principles employ them as ``last resort'' mechanisms, which apply only when other compositional mechanisms fail. This failure is often sloppily referred to as (...) type mismatch . The motivation for introducing type mismatch into the compositional mechanism is twofold: on the one hand it allows lexical items to be assigned the minimal types that are needed for describing their denotation; on the other hand, it has been argued that the ``last resort'' strategy of type shifting prevents derivation of undesired meanings. The first goal of this paper is to define a simple notion of type mismatch, which will rather closely follow Partee and Rooth's original proposal but will be expressed within more familiar terms of categorial semantics. After introducing this implementation of traditional type mismatch, it will be argued that in fact, it covers only one possible kind of trigger for type shifting principles. Partee and Rooth's notion of mismatch is ``external'' in that the type of an expression is changed only when it combines with another type to which it cannot compose using the ``normal'' compositional mechanism. It will be argued that, within an appropriate type system, another notion of mismatch is also useful. This is the kind of mismatch in which the semantic type of an expression does not match its syntactic category. Two such cases will be explored: mismatch between morpho-syntactic number (singular or plural) and semantic number (a denotation ranging over atoms or sets), and mismatch between syntactic category (noun, DP, adjective etc.) and semantic role (predicate, quantifier, predicate modifier etc.).. (shrink)
The idea to use choice functions in the semantic analysis of indefinites has recently gained increasing attention among linguists and logicians. A central linguistic motivation for the revived interest in this logical perspective, which can be traced back to the epsilon calculus of Hilbert and Bernays (1939), is the observation by Reinhart (1992,1997) that choice functions can account for the problematic scopal behaviour of indefinites and interrogatives. On-going research continues to explore this general thesis, which I henceforth adopt. In this (...) paper I would like to address the matter from two angles. First, given that the semantics of indefinites involves functions, it still does not follow that these have to be choice functions. The common practise is to stipulate this restriction in order to get existential semantics right. However, a so-far open question is whether there is any way to derive choice function interpretation from more general principles of natural language semantics. Another question that has not been formally accounted for yet concerns the relationships between choice functions and the ``specificity'' ``referentiality'' intuition of Fodor and Sag (1981) about indefinites. Is there a sense in which choice functions capture this popular pre-theoretical notion? In order to answer these questions, this paper proposes a revision in the treatment of choice functions in Winter (1997), leaving its linguistic predictions unaffected but changing slightly the compositional mechanism. This modification opens the way for proving the following theorem: function variables in the analysis of the noun phrase must denote only choice functions and can derive only the standard existential analysis by virtue of the conservativity, logicality and non-triviality universals of Generalized Quantifier Theory as proposed in Barwise and Cooper (1981), Van Benthem (1984), Thijsse (1983) and others. The same implementation also captures the ``specificity'' notion: indefinites with a non-empty restriction set denote principal ultrafilters in the revised formalization. These are the quantificational correlates to ``referential'' individuals.. (shrink)
In this paper we examine partitioned interpretations of sentences with reciprocal expressions. We study the availability of partitioned readings with definite subjects and proper name conjunctions, and show new evidence that partitioned interpretations of simple reciprocal sentences are independent of the semantics of the reciprocal expression, and are exclusively determined by the interpretation of the subject.