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Inquisitive Semantics

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Book Series: Oxford Surveys in Semantics and Pragmatics ISBN: 9780198814788 Year: Pages: 240 DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198814788.001.0001 Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Subject: Philosophy --- Linguistics
Added to DOAB on : 2019-05-14 11:21:02
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There is an age-old tradition in linguistics and philosophy to identify the meaning of a entence with its truth-conditions. This can be explained by the fact that linguistic and philosophical investigations are usually carried out in a logical framework that was originally designed to characterize valid reasoning. Indeed, in order to determine whether an argument is valid, it suffices to know the truth-conditions of the premises and conclusion. However, argumentation is neither the sole, nor the primary function of language. One task that language more widely and ordinarily fulfils is to enable the exchange of information between conversational participants. Inquisitive semantics is a new logical framework for the analysis of this fundamental usage of language. Information exchange can be seen as a process of raising and resolving issues. Inquisitive semantics provides a new formal notion of issues, which makes it possible to model various concepts that are crucial for the analysis of linguistic information exchange in a more refined and more principled way than has been possible in previous frameworks. This book provides a detailed exposition of inquisitive semantics, and demonstrates its benefits with a range of applications in the semantic analysis of questions, coordination, modals, conditionals, and intonation.

Semantics and Morphosyntactic Variation: Qualities and the Grammar of Property Concepts

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Book Series: Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics ISBN: 9780198744580 Year: Pages: 192 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744580.001.0001 Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press Grant: RCUK
Subject: Linguistics
Added to DOAB on : 2017-04-27 11:01:52
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Systematic variation in form between semantic equivalents across languages is a key explanandum of linguistic theory. Two contrasting views of the role of lexical semantics in the analysis of such variation can be found in the literature: (1) uniformity, whereby lexical meaning is universal, and morphosyntactic variation arises from idiosyncratic differences in the inventory and phonological shape of language-particular functional material, and (2) transparency, whereby systematic variation in form arises from systematic variation in the meaning of basic lexical items. This volume contrasts these views as applied to the empirical domain of property concept sentences—sentences expressing adjectival predication and their translational equivalents across languages. Demonstrating that property concept sentences vary systematically between possessive and predicative form, the authors propose a transparentist analysis of this variation that links it to the lexical denotations of basic property concept lexemes. At the heart of the analysis are qualities: mass-like model-theoretic objects that closely resemble scales. The authors contrast their transparentist analysis with uniformitarian alternatives, demonstrating its theoretical and empirical advantages. They then show that the proposed theory of qualities can account for interesting and novel observations in two central domains of grammatical theory: the theory of lexical categories, and the theory of mass nouns. The overall results highlight the importance of the lexicon as a locus of generalizations about the limits of crosslinguistic variation.

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