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Title: Mass Terms and Model-Theoretic Semantics
Written By: Harry C Bunt
Series Title: Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 42

‘Mass terms’ like water, rice and traffic, have proved very difficult to
accommodate in any theory of meaning since, unlike count nouns such as
house or dog, they cannot be treated as denoting sets of individuals. In
this study, motivated by the need to design a computer program for
understanding natural language utterances containing mass terms, Harry Bunt
provides a thorough analysis of the problem and offers an original and
detailed solution. An extension of classical set theory, Ensemble Theory,
is defined. This provides the formal basis of a framework for the analysis
of natural language meaning which Dr. Bunt calls two-level model-theoretic
semantics. The validity of the framework is convincingly demonstrated by
the detailed analysis of a fragment of English including sentences with
quantified and modified mass terms. This significant advance in our
understanding of the formal syntactic and semantic properties of mass terms
will be of interest not only to linguists and logicians, but also to all
those concerned with the processing of natural language.

Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
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Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0521105919
ISBN-13: 9780521105910
Prices: U.K. £ 31.99
U.S. $ 58.00