LINGUIST List 15.3234

Thu Nov 18 2004

Books: Semantics: Pietroski

Editor for this issue: Neil Salmond <>

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        1.    Lowri Jones, Events and Semantic Architecture: Pietroski

Message 1: Events and Semantic Architecture: Pietroski

Date: 18-Nov-2004
From: Lowri Jones <>
Subject: Events and Semantic Architecture: Pietroski

Title: Events and Semantic Architecture
Published: 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Book URL:

Author: Paul M. Pietroski, University of Maryland

Hardback: ISBN: 0199244308 Pages: 276 Price: U.K. £ 45


This book explores how grammatical structure is related to meaning. The
meaning of a phrase clearly depends on its constituent words and how they
are combined. But how does structure contribute to meaning in natural
language? Does combining adjectives with nouns (as in 'brown dog') differ
semantically from combining verbs with adverbs (as in 'barked loudly')?
What is the significance of combining verbs with names and quantificational
expressions (as in 'Fido chased every cat')? In addressing such questions,
Paul Pietroski develops a novel conception of linguistic meaning according
to which the semantic contribution of combining expressions is simple and
uniform across constructions.

Drawing on work at the heart of contemporary debates in linguistics and
philosophy, the author argues that Donald Davidson's treatment of action
sentences as event descriptions should be viewed as an instructive special
case of a more general semantic theory. The unified theory covers a wide
range of examples, including sentences that involve quantification,
plurality, descriptions of complex causal processes, and verbs that take
sentential complements. Professor Pietroski also provides fresh ways of
thinking about much discussed semantic generalizations that seem to reflect
innately determined aspects of human languages.

Designed to be accessible to anyone with a basic knowledge of elementary
logic, "Events and Semantic Architecture" will interest a wide range of
scholars in linguistics, philosophy, and cognitive science.

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                            Philosophy of Language

Written In: English (Language Code: ENG )

See this book announcement on our website:

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