LINGUIST List 5.743

Sun 26 Jun 1994

Sum: Semantics texts

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  1. "STEVE SEEGMILLER", SUM: Semantics texts

Message 1: SUM: Semantics texts

Date: 25 Jun 94 17:44:00 EST
From: "STEVE SEEGMILLER" <SEEGMILLERapollo.montclair.edu>
Subject: SUM: Semantics texts

Here is the summary of responses to my query on undergraduate
semantics textbooks. Like the previous summary (on syntax
texts), this one is organized alphabetically by textbook author,
with comments of the respondents thereafter.

1. Keith Allan, Linguistic Meaning, 2 vols. Routledge and Kegan
Paul, 1986.

 Claudia Brugman finds this the most successful text for
 undergraduate semantics that she has found. Its
 shortcomings are (1): it is very light on formal semantics
 and almost as light on the topics covered by formal
 semantics; (2) both volumes are necessary for a complete
 class, which means that the students have a lot of reading
 and that they have to buy two expensive books.

2. Emmon Bach, Informal Lectures on Formal Semantics, SUNY Press.

 Nancy Goss used it for a short time in a course in which the
 main text was Frawley's (see below). She found that three
 weeks was too little time to cover formal semantics.

3. Ronnie Cann, Formal Semantics, Cambridge U. Press, 1993.

 David Adger liked teaching from it, "although it has a
 billion misprints," but his students found the course hard.

4. Gennaro Chierchia and Sally McConnell-Ginet, Meaning and
Grammar, MIT Press, 1990.

 Nancy Goss used it as an undergraduate at Cornell and found
 it to be a good textbook.

5. William Frawley, Linguistic Semantics, Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates, 1992.

 Nancy Goss used it as a graduate student in a course that
 also contained undergraduate students. She still consults
 it regualrly for basic information on semantic topics and
 relevant literature. It contains no formal semantics.

6. Hurford and Heasley, Semantics: A Coursebook.

 David Adger was taught from it as an undergraduate and hated
 it, but when he taught from it, his students really liked
 it, probably because it's mainly taxonomic and fairly easy.

 Rob French liked it and so did his students, since it covers
 a lot of ground and is easy to supplement with material that
 goes deeper into particular topics.
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