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Review of  Semantics


Reviewer: Andrea C. Schalley
Book Title: Semantics
Book Author: Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach
Publisher: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
Book Announcement: 16.3627

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Review:
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 14:24:08 +1100
From: Andrea Schalley <andrea.schalley@une.edu.au>
Subject: Semantics: Critical Concepts in Linguistics, Vol. I-III

EDITOR: Gutiérrez-Rexach, Javier
TITLE: Semantics
SUBTITLE: Critical Concepts in Linguistics, 6 volumes
SERIES: Critical Concepts in Linguistics
PUBLISHER: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
YEAR: 2003

Andrea C. Schalley, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics &
Language and Cognition Research Centre, University of New England
(Australia)

[This is the first part of a two part review, covering Volumes I - III. The
evaluation may be found in the second part. -- Eds.]

OVERVIEW

This set of six volumes is a collection of 101 reprinted extracts,
chapters and articles from various monographs, dissertations, book
collections, journals, and conference proceedings. The contributions,
which are all from the field of formal semantics, first appeared
between 1892 and 1999, with one contribution from 2002 that is yet to
appear. They are grouped according to topics (not chronologically),
an arrangement that has proven successful and done justice to the
depth and breadth of formal semantics. The volumes each have an
overall theme - Volume I: Foundational Issues, Volume II: Generalized
Quantifiers and Scope, Volume III: Noun Phrase Classes, Volume IV:
The Semantics of Predicates and Inflection, Volume V: Operators and
Sentence Types, and Volume VI: Discourse and Dynamics - and apart
from Volume II all of them are further divided into thematic parts (which
are listed in the synopsis of each volume).

The collection starts with a table of contents of all six volumes, a
chronological table of all of the reprinted articles and chapters, and a
list of all contributors to the volumes. The preface to the collection
gives a brief general historical overview of (formal) semantics, touches
on current developments in the field, gives an overview of the
anthology and indicates the rationale for the selection of the
contributions. The selection is based on two main criteria: on the one
hand cornerstones or classics are included, and on the other hand
contributions published in conference proceedings of narrow diffusion
are reprinted. The editor explicitly does not want this collection to be
understood as an introduction to semantics. The level of technical
difficulty of some papers is indeed high and the majority of the papers
requires some acquaintance with the tools and methods of formal
semantics.

In addition, each volume comprises acknowledgements (indicating the
reprint permissions) and a short introduction introducing the papers of
the respective volume. Volume VI closes with an index of the overall
collection. In the following synopsis of the volumes, the author, title,
and source for each contribution will be listed, along with the chapter
number and page range it has in this collection. (Please note that the
source information has been taken from the volumes and only two
obvious errors have been corrected.)

SYNOPSIS

VOLUME I - FOUNDATIONAL ISSUES [xxxix+352pp.]

The first volume of the collection contains 14 papers, divided into two
parts. Part A, 'Truth and denotation' (4 contributions), comprises
seminal works that can be seen as truly foundational papers of
semantics in general and are concerned with denotation and referring.
Part B 'Semantics and grammar' (10 contributions) deals with the
question of how to integrate semantics as a component into grammar.
The introduction to the volume (pp. 1-3) gives a brief overview of the
papers and puts the contributions into context.

Part A - 'Truth and denotation'

The first paper (Chapter 1) by Gottlob Frege - ''On sense and
reference'' (pp. 7-25; Source: The Philosophical Review 57, 1948, 207-
230, originally published in German in 1892) - is rightly seen as
contribution founding the semantics discipline. Frege was the first to
address meaning systematically, bringing in both compositionality as
well as the distinction between sense and reference. According to
Frege, the reference of a sentence is its truth value, an idea which is
discussed at some length in the paper and which has proved highly
influential in formal semantics.

Chapter 2 - Bertrand Russell's ''On denoting'' (pp. 26-38; Source:
Mind 14, 1905, 479-493) - deals with what Russell calls ''denoting
phrases'' such as 'the man', 'a man', 'some man', 'any man', 'every
man', 'all men' etc. Thereby he is one of the first dealing with
quantification, formulating the first theory of logical form and its
relation to surface structure. Also, he proposes solutions to well-
known puzzles of meaning (as, e.g., the famous 'The present King of
France is bald'), utilising his philosophical theory of denoting.

In the well-written Chapter 3, ''On referring'' (pp. 39-60; Source: Mind
59, 1950, 320-344), Peter F. Strawson's aim is to show that Russell's
account contains some fundamental mistakes. Strawson argues that
Russell confuses sentences/expressions with the uses of
sentences/expressions. He sees meaning as a function of the
sentence or expression, whereas referring and truth or falsity are
seen as functions of the use of the sentence or expression. In
addition, the ''question of whether they [sentences, A.S.] are being
used to make true or false assertions does not arise except when the
existential condition is fulfilled for the subject term'' (p. 59). As a
consequence, sentences such as 'The present King of France is bald'
are not false (as Russell claims) but indeterminate, because we are
dealing with a failure of reference for the definite description in the
subject ('the present King of France').

Chapter 4, ''Extensions and intensions'' (pp. 61-69; Source: Meaning
and Necessity; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947, 23-52) by
Rudolph Carnap, appears to be an extract from a monograph, which
is in this case unfortunate, as the reader is not provided with some
crucial definitions and important information regarding notation
(although in the course of the extract one can infer the meanings for
most of the notational terms). The extract reprinted here is the
monograph's section after the one introducing the notions
of 'intension' and 'extension'. These notions are extended in the
present extract and applied to sentences. The extension of a
sentence is its truth value, whereas the intension of a sentence is the
proposition expressed by it.

Part B - 'Semantics and grammar'

Jerrold Katz and Paul Postal propose in Chapter 5, ''The semantic
component'' (pp. 73-89; Source: An Integrated Theory of Linguistic
Description; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 1964, 12-29), a semantic
component of a linguistic description that is taken to be a projective
device in the sense of Katz and Fodor (1963). This projective device
is to consist of two parts: the dictionary (providing meanings for lexical
items) and a finite set of projection rules (assigning a semantic
interpretation to each string generated by the syntactic component).
The two parts of the semantic component are discussed in more detail
in the present monograph extract, outlining both the components of
dictionary entries and different types of projection rules. The paper
rightly advocates that a semantic component necessitates rich lexical
entries, readings of which are then, on the basis of syntactic structure
and projection rules, combined to form the overall semantic
interpretation.

Richard Montague starts Chapter 6, ''Universal grammar'' (pp. 90-109;
Source: Theoria 36, 1970, 373-398), with the important claim: ''There
is in my opinion no important theoretical difference between natural
languages and the artificial languages of logicians; indeed, I consider
it possible to comprehend the syntax and semantics of both kinds of
languages within a single natural and mathematically precise theory.''
(p. 90) He then sets out to show this, providing a grammar for a
fragment of English, which is semantically interpreted via translation
into a system of intensional logic. This idea has been truly influential
for formal semantics. As the first approach towards such a
mathematically or logically universal grammar, it still has rather strong
limitations: the fragment of English is limited and constructed, and as
Montague states in Note 2 (p. 107), the basic aim of semantics for him
is to characterise ''the notions of a true sentence (under a given
interpretation) and of entailment''.

David Lewis' paper in Chapter 7, ''General semantics'' (pp. 110-153;
Source: Synthese 22, 1970, 18-67), is not intended as a contribution
to an empirical linguistic theory but to a theory of philosophy of
language. He aims to provide a convenient format for semantics that is
general enough to work for a great variety of logically possible
languages. In attempting this, Lewis criticises Katz and Postal's
semantics as 'Markerese Semantics' and suggests instead a
categorially-based transformational grammar with a possible-worlds
semantics. An editorial comment seems appropriate here: the
references list of this paper is incomplete, stopping approximately half-
way with letter L and John Lyons.

Chapter 8, Noam Chomsky's ''Deep structure, surface structure, and
semantic interpretation'' (pp. 154-196; Source: Danny Steinberg and
Leon Jakobovits (eds.), Semantics. An Interdisciplinary Reader in
Philosophy, Linguistics, and Psychology; Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press 1971, 183-216), is an very good contribution which -
convincingly with respect to its examples - criticises semantically-
based models of grammar. It is concerned with the relation of syntactic
structure to semantic representation in generative grammar, stressing
the contribution of the surface structure for delimiting meaning. In
consequence, it suggests a reconstruction of the standard theory of
grammar as earlier proposed, which apart from the deep structure
takes other levels such as transformations and the structure
determined by the phonological interpretation of the surface structure
into account in semantic interpretation.

In Chapter 9, ''On generative semantics'' (pp. 197-224; Source: Danny
Steinberg and Leon Jakobovits (eds.), Semantics. An Interdisciplinary
Reader in Philosophy, Linguistics, and Psychology; Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press 1971, 232-252), George Lakoff presents
the alternative conception criticised by Chomsky in Chapter 8:
Semantics is taken as foundational from a generative point of view -
semantics plays a central role in syntax, and the role of
transformations and derivational constraints in general is to relate
semantic representations and surface structures. On this theoretical
basis, Lakoff studies how quantified sentences are analysed in
generative semantics.

Chapter 10, ''The proper treatment of quantification in ordinary
English'' (pp. 225-244; Source: Jaako Hintikka, J. Moravcsik and
Patrick Suppes (eds.), Approaches to Natural Languages.
Proceedings of the 1970 Stanford Workshop on Grammar and
Semantics; Dordrecht: Reidel 1973, 221-247), is the last paper written
by Richard Montague before his death. Known by the acronym PTQ, it
is well-known and has proved extremely influential. The paper
presents a much more detailed treatment of another still somewhat
limited fragment of English, which in the present paper also includes
intensional predicates, intensional locutions with anaphoric pronouns,
scope and quantification. The contribution follows an approach similar
to Chapter 6: the syntax for the fragment is explicitly introduced, the
semantics indirectly in that an artificial language (a tensed intensional
logic) is set up and the English fragment is interpreted through a
rigorous translation into this artificial language.

Barbara Partee suggests in Chapter 11, ''Some transformational
extensions of Montague grammar'' (pp. 245-267; Source: Journal of
Philosophical Logic 2, 1973, 509-534), to enrich Montague's rules in
such a way that the theory can deal with reflexives, passives, passive
agent deletions, tough movement, and subject and object raising.
Apart from these valuable extensions, this easily accessible article
was an important step in presenting Montague's views to linguists. It
sketches Montague's PTQ paper, is equipped with an excellent
introduction that outlines the broader picture, and it explains the
assumptions and basic elements of the theory clearly.

Chapter 12, ''Logical form as a level of linguistic representation'' (pp.
268-299; Source: Logical Form: Its Structure and Derivation;
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 1985, 1-30), an extract from Robert May's
1985 monograph (which is based on his 1977 dissertation), discusses
what the relation of a sentence's syntactic form to its logical form is.
May proposes to include a level of representation, Logical Form (LF)
derived from other linguistic levels. LF represents in this view the
properties of syntactic form that are relevant to semantic interpretation
or, put differently, those aspects of semantic structure which are
expressed syntactically. This is seen to centre around three basic
concerns: (i) the formal nature of the representation, (ii), how
representations are derived, and (iii) constraints on well-formedness.
Discussing these issues, he concludes that LF arises from and is
restricted by very general mechanisms of Universal Grammar in the
Chomskyan sense and supposedly is part of our innate endowment. It
is worth noting that this is the first contribution which - at least to some
extend - discusses a language other than English as object language,
namely Chinese.

Richard Larson and Gabriel Segal's ''Knowledge of meaning and
theories of truth'' (pp. 300-318; Source: Knowledge and Meaning;
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 1995, 25-42) in Chapter 13 is a well and
clearly written book extract pursuing semantics as a theory of speaker
knowledge. They follow Davidson's work who proposes the existence
of a truth theory (for short, T theory), ''a deductive system that has the
resources to prove something about the truth value of every
sentence'' (p. 300). Central assumptions are that humans are
designed to acquire a T theory, to treat any T theory they acquire as
interpretive, and to learn a T theory that is in fact interpretive. After
briefly outlining T theories (including a sample derivation and a
discussion of the nontriviality of T theories), T theories are then
introduced as theories of meaning, that is: the knowledge of meaning
amounts to the knowledge of a T theory.

In the last contribution to the first volume (Chapter 14), ''Language,
meaning, and interpretation: Chomsky against the philosophers'' (pp.
319-352; Source: [an adapted excerpt of a paper that is to appear
elsewhere]), Carlos P. Otero explores some of the traits of Chomsky's
current theory of meaning and its consequences for the philosophy of
mind. It is well written and gives an short but interesting historical
overview of the development of logic and the philosophy of mind and
their relation to Chomsky's work. Some of the papers of this volume
are briefly put into context (e.g., Strawson's paper in Chapter 3).
Nevertheless, it is not fully clear why this biased contribution with its
exposed study of Chomsky's ideas has been included in this
semantics collection and, more specifically, in the present volume on
foundational issues of formal semantics.

VOLUME II - GENERALIZED QUANTIFIERS AND SCOPE [viii+337pp.]

Volume II is the first of two volumes dealing with the semantics of noun
phrases. The 13 papers of this volume specifically address the topic of
generalised quantifiers and scope. In the Frege-Russellian works
proper names were treated differently from quantificational elements
(the former as constants, the latter with quantifiers). However, since
they belong to the same syntactic category, following Montague's
principle (cf. Chapter 10) they should have objects of the same type
as denotations.

Such a systematic and uniform treatment of quantification in natural
language is what the first contribution to Volume II, Chapter 15 by Jon
Barwise and Robin Cooper entitled ''Generalized quantifiers and
natural language'' (pp. 4-61; Source: Linguistics and Philosophy 4,
1981, 159-219), aims at. Barwise and Cooper propose to treat noun
phrases uniformly as generalised quantifiers, referring to the
traditional notion of generalised quantifiers in mathematical logic. This
excellent paper introduces first the nature of generalised quantifiers
and their relationship to English syntax in general, then develops a
logic containing generalised quantifiers, shows how this logic may be
formally related to a syntax fragment of English, and discusses some
general implications of the notion of generalised quantifier for
linguistics.

In Chapter 16, ''Semantic constraints on the English partitive
construction'' (pp. 62-74; Source: Proceedings of the West Coast
Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL) 1; Stanford, CA: CSLI
Publications 1982, 231-2442), William Ladusaw improves and builds
on Barwise and Cooper's contribution (Chapter 15), extending their
analysis to characterise the semantic difference between 'both'
and 'the two'. He also discusses the phrase-internal semantics of
English partitive noun phrases, closing with the remark that ''the
semantics of the partitive construction cannot be completely reduced
to quantification over contextually specified sets.'' (p. 73)

Johan van Benthem's technical paper in Chapter 17, ''Determiners
and logic'' (pp. 75-105; Source: Linguistics and Philosophy 6, 1983,
447-478), is concerned with a semantic characterisation of all possible
determiners (both in a 'global' and an 'inductive' sense), additional
constraints for focusing upon the 'logical' determiners, and extensions
of this study to arbitrary types in categorial grammar. It thereby
achieves a generalisation of results obtained for logical determiners to
arbitrary ones. The contribution presents a logical perspective on
generalised quantifiers.

The purpose of Franciska de Jong and Henk Verkuyl's contribution in
Chapter 18, ''Generalized quantifiers: the properness of their strength''
(pp. 106-126; Source: Johan van Benthem and Alice ter Meulen
(eds.), Generalized Quantifiers in Natural Language; Dordrecht: Foris
1984, 21-43), is to provide a positive answer to the question whether
semantic properties of noun phrases can be related to their syntactic
properties. The authors suggest that this answer requires that partial
interpretation of noun phrases are allowed and argue in favour of it. In
the course of the paper, they propose to reduce the property of
properness to the property of strength, revising Zwarts' (1981)
classification of Dutch quantifiers. Their resulting quantification
presented in this excellent and clearly written paper leads to a
descriptively more adequate account of the data and also to a better
understanding of the relation between the syntactic and semantic
properties of determiners.

Chapter 19, ''Determiners and context sets'' (pp. 127-151; Source:
Johan van Benthem and Alice ter Meulen (eds.), Generalized
Quantifiers in Natural Language; Dordrecht: Foris 1984, 45-71) by
Dag Westerståhl, addresses the issue of context dependence of
determiners. Westerståhl distinguishes between the discourse
universe, which is constant over pieces of discourse, and context sets,
which are variable in discourse. Following this, determiners are seen
as restricted to context-set variables, a relativisation that allows to
treat definites and partitives uniformly. Barbara Partee presents
excellent ideas in Chapter 20. Entitled ''Noun phrase interpretation
and typeshifting principles'' (pp. 152-180; Source: Jeroen
Groenendijk, Dick de Jongh and Martin Stokhof (eds.), Studies in
Discourse Representation Theory and the Theory of Generalized
Quantifiers; Dordrecht: Foris 1987, 115-143), this well-structured
paper attempts a resolution between two approaches to noun phrase
interpretation - one being Montague's uniform treatment, the other
being authors distinguishing between referring, predicative and
quantificational noun phrases (or uses of noun phrases). Partee
argues that the insights of both sides are basically correct and
mutually compatible. This is shown in the present paper, implemented
through the idea of a type-driven interpretation and the use of several
type-shifting rules involving lifting and lowering of types. In doing so,
Partee keeps from Montague's approach the requirement of a
systematic category-to-type correspondence. However, instead of
requiring each syntactic category to correspond to a single type, she
allows each category to correspond to a family of types.

Chapter 21, ''Polyadic quantifiers'' (pp. 181-209; Source: Linguistics
and Philosophy 12, 1989, 437-464) by Johan van Benthem, is the first
contribution dealing with multiple quantification, that is, dealing with
constructions in which more than one quantifier occur. These are of
particular difficulty, because questions of scopal dependence and
independence come into play. In the present paper, van Benthem
argues for the existence of non-reducible polyadic quantifiers and
shows this by way of discussing several linguistic phenomena. He also
suggests some conditions that characterise polyadic quantification in
order to be able to distinguish these cases from unary Fregean
iterations. The paper is highly technical, with not all abbreviations and
notations explained, which makes it together with its many typos
difficult for the reader to access.

Edward Keenan introduces in Chapter 22 ''Semantic case theory'' (pp.
210-232; Source: Renate Bartsch, Johan van Benthem and Peter van
Emde Boas (eds.), Semantics and Contextual Expression; Dordrecht:
Foris 1989, 33-56) the notion of 'semantic case' as a way of extending
NP interpretations, an idea developed from the scope treatment in van
Benthem (1986). A semantic case is an extension of a basic
generalised quantifier function. The resulting 'semantic case theory'
(which is introduced in the paper, together with its foundational
axioms) essentially allows to account for the occurrence of quantifiers
in different argument positions, and also allows to derive the narrow-
scope and wide-scope interpretations of noun phrases. After
introducing the theory, Keenan investigates its consequences and
compares it with other approaches. The present paper is one of those
taking language data from non-English languages into account,
thereby adding to the data pool that needs to be explained - and it is
often in the discussion of such data that semantic case theory proves
superior to other approaches that were designed more or less
exclusively to account for English.

Gila Sher in Chapter 23 discusses specifically those entities
mentioned in her title ''Ways of branching quantifiers'' (pp. 233-260;
Source: Linguistics and Philosophy 14, 1990, 393-422). Branching
quantifiers, as polyadic quantifiers (cf. Chapter 21), cannot be
reduced to linearly-ordered iteration. The aim of the paper is to
develop a notion of branching quantification which is applicable not
only to linguistics but also to philosophy and 'pure' logic (Sher prefers
a wide notion of quantifier, which satisfies van Benthem's
(1986) 'logicality' but not any other property attributed to natural
language quantifiers). The paper was essentially part of her PhD
thesis on 'Generalised Logic: A Philosophical Perspective with
Linguistic Applications', which explains that linguistics is not in the
focus (although this makes it questionable whether the article is
enough 'linguistic' to appear in volumes on 'Critical Concepts in
Linguistics').

Donka Farkas' Chapter 24 ''Quantifier scope and syntactic islands''
(pp. 261-267; Source: Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistics Society
(CLS) 7, 1981, 59-66) is the first of the last four papers in the present
volume to focus on scope, leading to the observation that not all
natural language quantifiers are scopally equal. She claims
that 'every' is not only island-bound but also clause-bound, whereas
indefinite noun phrases are, on the other hand, island-free and clause-
free.

In Chapter 25 by Fengh-Hsi Liu, ''Scope dependency'' (pp. 268-274;
Source: Scope and Specificity; Amsterdam: John Benjamins 1998, 9-
15), the notion of scope dependency is introduced, describing how a
noun phrase occurrence in an expression may be within the semantic
scope of other expressions, in which case the noun phrase is scope
dependent on the other expressions. Listing different observations in
this monograph extract, Liu shows how noun phrases interact with
other operators such as negation, predicates of various sorts, modals,
and other quantified noun phrases. The availability of scope-
dependent readings is sensitive to the type of noun
phrases: ''Individual-denoting NPS don't induce dependency or
depend on other NPs. Universally quantified NPs also don't depend
on other NPs, although they induce dependency. Only when NPs
other than these two classes are concerned do we get the possibilities
of two dependent readings, the case that has been discussed most
often in the literature.'' (p. 272)

In Chapter 26, ''Object wide scope and semantic trees'' (pp. 275-294;
Source: Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 3;
Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications, Cornell University 1993, 19-37), Dorit
Ben-Shalom shows that object wide scope readings - in which object
noun phrases have scope over subject noun phrases - are severely
restricted, in contrast to what has often been assumed. Departing
from Liu's (1990) work, Ben-Shalom claims that object wide scope
readings are only possible when the object noun phrase is interpreted
as a principal filter (the definition of which is given on p. 281). In
addition (cf. p. 293), object wide readings are derived by a binary
quantifier in which the interpretation of the object noun phrase defines
a crucial domain, and this claim can be motivated within an algebraic
approach to generalised quantifiers, which is called 'semantic trees'.

Anna Szabolcsi's ''Strategies for scope taking'' (pp. 295-337; Source:
Anna Szabolcsi (ed.), Ways of Scope Taking; Dordrecht: Kluwer 1997,
109-154), the final chapter (Chapter 27) of Volume II, deals with the
issue of scope dependence and its consequences at the syntax-
semantics interface. Taking data from Hungarian as empirical basis,
she proposes to fine-tune the structure of the Logical Form and to
view it as the input for a component of semantic representation
modelled on the discourse representation structures of Discourse
Representation Theory (Kamp and Reyle 1993). The main concrete
modification she suggests pertains to widening the class of discourse
referents.

VOLUME III - NOUN PHRASE CLASSES [ix+446pp.]

The third volume of the collection comprises 19 papers, grouped
around the topic of noun phrase classes. The volume is divided into
two parts: Part A, 'Indefiniteness and definiteness' (11 contributions),
and Part B, 'Plurals and mass nouns' (8 contributions), challenging
subareas that have been debated a lot. The interpretation of
indefinites cannot easily be achieved in a unified way because it is
often depending on other elements in a clause; in particular,
indefinites are not uniformly existential. Plural noun phrases are also
not easily interpreted in a uniform way; they appear to have a number
of readings which may depend on the presence of other elements
such as certain modifiers or predicate types, for instance.

Part A - 'Indefiniteness and definiteness'

In Chapter 28, ''Adverbs of quantification'' (pp. 7-19; Source: Edward
Keenan (ed.), Formal Semantics of Natural Language; Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press 1975, 3-15), David Lewis focuses on the
interpretation of adverbs of quantification such
as 'always', 'usually', 'never', 'almost never' etc. He discusses as
possibilities interpretations as (i) quantifiers over times, or (ii)
quantifiers over events, or (iii) as quantifiers over cases, concluding
that (iii) is correct. A case is regarded as the tuple of its participants,
that is, cases are admissible assignments of values to the variables
occurring free in the open sentence modified by the adverb. Adverbs
of quantification unselectively bind the variables they have scope
over. This has consequences for the interpretation of indefinite
phrases, which hence get their quantificational force from the adverbs
of quantification.

Lauri Karttunen's excellent Chapter 29 ''Discourse referents'' (pp. 20-
39; Source: James McCawley (ed.), Syntax and Semantics 7; New
York: Academic Press 1976, 363-385) takes as its departure point the
question 'When is there supposed to be an individual associated with
an indefinite noun phrase?' Or put differently, when is there a
discourse referent established by an indefinite noun phrase?
(By 'establishing a discourse referent' it is meant that there may be a
coreferential pronoun or definite noun phrase late in the discourse.)
Karttunen is thus concerned with a particular feature a text interpreter
must have according to him: it must be able to recognise when a novel
individual is introduced by the input text and it must be able to store it
along with its characterisation for future reference (cf. p. 20). There
are several aspects of sentences that are important in determining
whether an indefinite noun phrase establishes a discourse referent,
which are discussed in more detail in the present chapter.

Chapter 30, Gary Milsark's ''Toward an explanation of certain
peculiarities of the existential construction in English'' (pp. 40-65;
Source: Linguistic Analysis 3, 1977, 1-29), is also a very fine
contribution. Milsark shows that existential constructions ('there
is/are' noun phrase) are restricted in that not all noun phrases can
appear in the postcopular position. He distinguishes two types of
determiners of noun phrases: 'weak' and 'strong' ones, with the latter
characterised semantically as expressions of quantification, whereas
the former are nonquantificational. Thereby, he explains the above
mentioned restriction: existential sentences are themselves already
understood as quantificational, which blocks noun phrases with strong
and hence quantificational determiners in postcopular position, since
this would result in double quantification. Furthermore, he notes that
only strong noun phrases may appear as subjects of property-naming
predicates.

Following Janet Fodor and Ivan Sag in Chapter 31, ''Referential and
quantificational indefinites'' (pp. 66-107; Source: Linguistics and
Philosophy 5, 1982, 355-398), indefinites are - semantically -
inherently ambiguous. They propose two readings, a referential and a
quantificational interpretation, and analyse a wealth of empirical data
to support this proposal. Finally, they develop a formal semantics for
referential indefinites, adapting Kaplan's formal treatment of
demonstratives, due to the observation that a referential indefinite is
more like a demonstrative than like a definite description.

Irene Heim sees neither definites nor indefinites as quantifiers in
Chapter 32, ''File change semantics and the familiarity theory of
definiteness'' (pp. 108-135; Source: Rainer Bäuerle, Christoph
Schwarze and Arnim von Stechow (eds.), Meaning, Use and
Interpretation of Language; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 1983, 164-189).
Reviving the familiarity theory of definiteness (a definite is used to
refer to something that is already familiar at the current stage of
conversation, whereas an indefinite is used to introduce a new
referent), she deploys Karttunen's discourse referents (cf. Chapter
29) to develop a theory of conversation as file keeping, with meanings
being understood as file-change potentials.

The primary purpose of the too broadly entitled Chapter 33, Edward
Keenan's ''A semantic definition of 'indefinite NP''' (pp. 136-164;
Source: Eric Reuland and Alice ter Meulen (eds.), The Representation
of (In)definiteness; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 1987, 286-317), is to
define the class of English noun phrases that naturally occur
in 'existential there' contexts with the existential reading. Keenan calls
this class of noun phrases 'existential'. An existential noun phrase is
headed by an existential determiner, which is always interpreted by an
existential determiner function f (defined in the following way: a
function f from properties to sets of properties is existential if and only
if for all properties p,q holds: p is element of f(q) if and only if 1 is
element of f(p&q), with 1 being the domain of evaluation). This
proposal results from an analysis of determiners, and is then
investigated with respect to its explanatory adequacy and compared
to both Milsark's work and Barwise and Cooper's generalised
quantifier proposal (cf. Chapter 15).

In Chapter 34, ''Existential sentences and predication'' (pp. 165-183;
Source: Paul Dekker and Martin Stokhof (eds.), Proceedings of the
Eight Amsterdam Colloquium; Amsterdam: ILLC, University of
Amsterdam 1991, 601-621), Alessandro Zucchi revises several
approaches to the definite restriction, including those reprinted in this
collection: Barwise and Cooper (Chapter 15), Milsark (Chapter 30),
and Keenan (Chapter 33). He proposes a presuppositional account,
suggesting that 'there are/is' sentences are only felicitous in contexts
that entail neither that the set denoted by the noun of the postverbal
noun phrase is empty nor that it is not empty.

In Chapter 35, ''The semantics of specificity'' (pp. 184-211; Source:
Linguistic Inquiry 22, 1991, 1-25), Mürvet Enç asks the question what
it means for a noun phrase to be specific. She pursues an analysis of
specificity that is independent of scope relation (and thus in particular
gives up the hypothesis that specific noun phrases need to have wide
scope) and independent of truth conditions. For her, specificity is a
notion akin to partitivity, which can be covert or overt. Based on
Turkish data (where indefinites in the object position are always
unambiguously specific or nonspecific), she characterises the
semantics of specific indefinites and explores partitive indefinites, the
relationship between definiteness and specificity and between
indefiniteness and specificity, and the semantics of 'certain'. The
analysis she proposes predicts that there will be no non-specific
definite noun phrases, and the analysis leaves the specificity of
indefinites open.

Chapter 36, ''Deriving logical representations: a proposal'' (pp. 212-
222; Source: Indefinites; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 1992, 1-11),
appears to be the introduction to a monograph by Molly Diesing. She
concentrates mainly on two questions: (i) What are the possible
semantic interpretations of indefinite and quantificational noun
phrases? and (ii) What role does the syntactic representation (in the
framework of generative grammar) play in the derivation of the
semantic representation of noun phrases? Her proposal is a mapping
from the syntactic logical form into the logical representation as such.
The resulting 'mapping hypothesis' suggests that material from the
verb phrase is mapped into the nuclear scope of a quantificational
operator, and material from the higher inflectional-phrase constituent
is mapped into its restrictive clause. Since this extract is merely the
introduction and starting point to Diesing's monograph, the made
claims are not supported by empirical data or explained otherwise in
detail. It is a bit unfortunate to have a contribution in the collection
which - due to its provenance - only outlines and lists claims (and it
boasts - in contrast to all other contributions of the whole collection -
footnotes instead of endnotes).

In Chapter 37, ''Semantic incorporation: a uniform semantics for West
Greenlandic noun incorporation and West Germanic bare plural
configurations'' (pp. 223-242; Source: Proceedings of the Chicago
Linguistic Society (CLS) 31, 1995, 171-186), Veerle van Geenhoven
presents data which is not English focused (however, additional
translations of the German data would have improved the readability):
she primarily presents evidence from West Greenlandic showing that
West Greenlandic noun incorporation and West Germanic bare plural
configurations have important discourse semantic properties in
common. The presented analysis regards this common denominator
as 'semantic incorporation', which constitutes a mechanism or
operation that derives the narrow scope of indefinite descriptions.

The last chapter in Part A, Chapter 38 ''Semantic universals and
choice function theory'' (pp. 243-254; Source: Francis Corblin,
Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin and Jean-Marie Marandin (eds.), Empirical
Issues in Formal Syntax and Semantics; The Hague: Holland
Academic Graphics 1999, 59-73), proposes a new implementation of
the theory of choice functions in the analysis of indefinite noun
phrases. Yoad Winter claims that in this reformulation of the theory,
the restriction of existential closure to choice functions follows from the
universals of generalised quantifier theory (and needs not be
stipulated), which in his eyes motivates the choice-function theory
linguistically.

Part B - 'Plurals and mass nouns'

Greg Carlson argues in Chapter 39, ''A unified analysis of the English
bare plural'' (pp. 257-300; Source: Linguistics and Philosophy 1, 1977,
413-456), that the apparently distinct uses of the bare plural in
English - the generic and the existential (or 'indefinite plural') use - are
merely facets of a syntactically and semantically unified phenomenon.
As he shows by way of his excellent data and argumentation, these
two uses are complementarily distributed, with the distribution being
predictable from the context. In other words, the bare plural in itself is
never ambiguous in a given context, and a unified analysis is not only
desirable but also necessary. Such a unified analysis is then
proposed; it treats bare plurals as proper names of kinds (with kinds
being thought of as abstract individuals), and ontologically
distinguishes between individuals and stages of individuals. Another
point convincingly discussed is that the 'null determiner' of a bare
plural is not to be regarded as the plural of the indefinite article 'a'.

Chapter 40, Remko Scha's ''Distributive, collective and cumulative
quantification'' (pp. 301-326; Source: Jeroen Groenendijk, Theo
Jansen and Martin Stokhof (eds.), Truth, Interpretation and
Information; Dordrecht: Foris 1984, 131-158), describes a treatment of
quantification which accounts for a variety of readings of plural noun
phrases, specifically for the distributive, collective, and cumulative
readings. He abolishes the traditional dichotomy between distributive
and collective verbs. This is achieved by deriving distributive readings
from collective ones by means of meaning postulates. As a rather
underexplored phenomenon, cumulative quantification is discussed. In
order to generate cumulative readings, the also proposed grammar for
a fragment of English can translate a sequence of noun phrases into
one single quantifier, ranging over the Cartesian product of the
extension of the nouns.

Godehard Link presents ''The logical analysis of plurals and mass
terms: a lattice-theoretical approach'' (pp. 327-349; Source: Rainer
Bäuerle, Christoph Schwarze and Arnim von Stechow (eds.),
Meaning, Use and Interpretation of Language; Berlin: Walter de
Gruyter 1983, 302-323) in the technical Chapter 41. He claims that
the logic of plurals and the logic of mass terms share a lattice
structure. As the only difference between the respective lattice
structures he perceives that the former leads to an atomic structure
while the latter does not. In addition, he introduces the 'star operator'
(pluralisation operator), which allows for a compositional treatment of
plural constructions. Further claims are that plural terms and collective
terms are equivalent in that they are interchangeable in invariant
context (which, however, does not make them co-referential), and that
collective predication becomes possible in a unified way (due to the
fact that many predicates are not marked with respect to distributivity).

In Chapter 42, ''The readings of plural noun phrases in English'' (pp.
350-369; Source: Linguistics and Philosophy 10, 1987, 199-219),
Brendan Gillon addresses two questions: (i) What is the nature of the
variation in construal to which plural noun phrases are liable? (Cf. the
collective vs. distributive reading of, e.g., 'The men wrote operas.') (ii)
What is the range within which these construals vary? With respect to
the first question, he claims that the discrepancy between collective
and distributive construals of plural noun phrases is a matter of
ambiguity (not vagueness). With respect to the second question, he
provides what he calls ''a more descriptively adequate characterisation
of the range of variation'' (p. 350), a specification of what readings a
plural noun phrase is susceptible to. For instance, he argues that the
readings of English plural noun phrases in subject position bijectively
correspond to the 'minimal covers' of the set denoted by the noun
phrase.

Peter Lasersohn criticises Gillon's theory in Chapter 43, ''On the
readings of plural noun phrases'' (pp. 370-374; Source: Linguistic
Inquiry 20, 1989, 130-134), defending that verb phrases and not noun
phrases are ambiguous and that verb phrases are two ways
ambiguous (with a collective and a distributive reading).

In Chapter 44, ''Against groups'' (pp. 375-390; Source: Martin Stokhof
and Leen Torenvliet (eds.), Proceedings of the Seventh Amsterdam
Colloquium; Amsterdam: ILLC, University of Amsterdam 1989, 475-
493), Roger Schwarzschild discusses two contrasting approaches to
plurals, the sums approach and the group approach. The former
presupposes a domain of discourse having individual entities as well
as plural entities (or sums), which correspond to sets of individuals.
The latter presupposes a richer domain of discourse with entities
corresponding to individuals and sets of individuals, but also to higher
order sets. After outlining and investigating the approaches, he
concludes in favour of the sums approach, which is ontologically
simpler, and he draws on pragmatics to explain some of the examples
that motivate the groups approach.

Chapter 45, ''On conceptional neuterality'' (pp. 391-414; Source:
Linguistic Individuals; Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications 1991, 161-183),
a book extract by Almerindo Ojeda (therefore unfortunately not
providing enough of the overall context of the monograph), studies the
linguistic category Otto Jespersen (1924) called 'the conceptional
neuter'. Based on evidence from Spanish, he proposes that the
conceptional neuter is [+Pronominal, +Individual], the class of
pronouns whose mereological component is the entire universe of
discourse. Ojeda 'expects' that his characterisation of the
conceptional neuter of Spanish will apply with full crosslinguistic
generality, so that it might be regarded as a category of universal
grammar constituted by pronouns which can denote without regard to
mereology.

Gennaro Chierchia's objective in Chapter 46, ''Partitives, reference to
kinds and semantic variation'' (pp. 415-446; Source: Proceedings of
Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 7 [not 4 as listed in the
volume]; Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications, Cornell University 1997, 73-
98), is to provide a contrastive analysis of partitives in English and
Italian. He sketches the Neo-Carlsonian view of bare plurals in
English, which provides him with the starting point for his analysis. Full
partitives are then analysed in a rather canonical way, whereas the
analysis of bare particles is the novel aspect in this contribution. They
are derived from the same structure as full partitives, involving the
shifting of the meaning of the restriction of full partitives into an
argument, with the result that a new determiner with an existential
meaning is created. The absence of bare partitives in some of the
Romance languages follows from blocking. This excellent paper is
unfortunately not only full of typos that make it difficult to follow, but it
disappointingly demonstrates that no final proof-reading has been
carried out. On the pages 442-444 the text is broken three times
(content-wise, not with respect to visual appearance) and chunks of
text are displaced. It takes a while to figure out that ''The question, in''
(in the first paragraph on p. 442) is followed by ''more technical
terms...'' (p. 443), that (45) a. and b. (p. 444) are actually followed by
c. on p. 442, and that ''syntactic categories (and move'' (p. 443, in the
text followed by ''more technical terms'', cf. above) should be followed
by ''material to them)...'' (p. 444).

[This review continues in the next issue. -- Eds.]

REFERENCES (for both parts)

Benthem, Johan van 1986. Essays in Logical Semantics. Dordrecht:
Reidel.

Groenendijk, Jeroen and Stokhof, Martin 1990. 'Dynamic Montague
Grammar.' In: László Kálmán and László Polós (eds.), Papers from the
Second Symposium on Logic and Language, Akadémiai Kiadó,
Budapest, 3-48.

Jespersen, Otto 1924. The Philosophy of Grammar. London: George
Allen and Unwin.

Kamp, Hans and Reyle, Uwe 1993. From Discourse to Logic.
Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Katz, Jerrold J. and Fodor, Jerry A. 1963. 'The structure of a semantic
theory.' In: Language 39, 170-210.

Lewis, David 1979. 'Attitudes de dicto and de re.' In: Philosophical
Review 88: 513-543.

Liu, Fengh-Hsi 1990. Scope Dependency in English and Chinese.
PhD diss., UCLA.

May, Robert 1977. The Grammar of Quantification. PhD diss.,
Cambridge, MA: MIT.

Rooth, Mats 1985. Association with Focus. PhD diss., University of
Massachusetts, Amherst.

Zaefferer, Dietmar 2002. 'Polysemy, polyvalence, and linking
mismatches. The concept of RAIN and its codings in English, German,
Italian, and Spanish.' In: DELTA - Documentação de Estudos em
Lingüística Téorica e Aplicada 18 (spe.), 27-56. Special Issue:
Polysemy.

Zwarts, Frans 1981. 'Negatief polaire uitdrukkingen I.' In: Glot 4, 35-
132.
 
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER


Andrea C. Schalley is Australian Research Council Postdoctoral
Fellow at the University of New England, Australia. Trained in
theoretical linguistics (PhD University of Munich, Germany, 2003), she
is primarily interested in semantic representation frameworks,
questions of modelling adequacy in theories about language, the
relationship between language and cognition, and constraints on
linguistic variability.


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