Formal semantics and pragmatics for natural languages


Formal semantics and pragmatics for natural languages

edited by F. Guenthner and S. J. Schmidt

(Synthese language library, v. 4)

D. Reidel, c1979

  • : hard
  • : pbk

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"Essays in this collection are the outgrowth of a workshop held in June 1976."

Includes bibliographies and index



The essays in this collection are the outgrowth of a workshop, held in June 1976, on formal approaches to the semantics and pragmatics of natural languages. They document in an astoundingly uniform way the develop ments in the formal analysis of natural languages since the late sixties. The avowed aim of the' workshop was in fact to assess the progress made in the application of formal methods to semantics, to confront different approaches to essentially the same problems on the one hand, and, on the other, to show the way in relating semantic and pragmatic explanations of linguistic phenomena. Several of these papers can in fact be regarded as attempts to close the 'semiotic circle' by bringing together the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic properties of certain constructions in an explanatory framework thereby making it more than obvious that these three components of an integrated linguistic theory cannot be as neatly separated as one would have liked to believe. In other words, not only can we not elaborate a syntactic description of (a fragment of) a language and then proceed to the semantics (as Montague pointed out already forcefully in 1968), we cannot hope to achieve an adequate integrated syntax and semantics without paying heed to the pragmatic aspects of the constructions involved. The behavior of polarity items, 'quantifiers' like any, conditionals or even logical particles like and and or in non-indicative sentences is clear-cut evidence for the need to let each component of the grammar inform the other.


Conditionals, Generic Quantifiers, and Other Applications of Subgames.- Ambiguous Coreference With Quantifiers.- Negative Coreference: Generalizing Quantification for Natural Language.- Syntactic Domains for Semantic Rules.- Variable Binding and Relative Clauses.- Adverbs of Space and Time.- Time Schemes, Tense Logic and the Analysis of English Tenses.- A System of Chronological Tense Logic.- Semantics versus Pragmatics.- Implication Reversal in a Natural Language.- Structure and Function of the Grammatical Component of the Text-Structure World-Structure Theory.- Questions and Answers in a Context-dependent Montague Grammar.- The Introduction of Truth Predicates into First-Order Languages.- List of Participants.

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  • Synthese language library

    D. Reidel Pub. Co. , Sold and distributed in the U.S.A. and Canada by Kluwer Academic Publishers c1978-