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Summary Details

Query:   The Specifics of Specificity
Author:  Rebecca Larche Moreton
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Semantics

Summary:   Dear LINGUIST Listers:

Whew! I feel better already! I see I'm not the only one confused by
specificity, AND that there are lots of people working on it. A great
many people have responsed to my inquiry (LINGUIST 9-1578) on
specificity and its relationship(s) to definiteness. Several gave
references to their own recent work, usually with some discussion;
from these, I learned that specificity is primarily a semantic rather
than a structural matter; I was looking in the wrong places. Other
responders listed sources they had found helpful, with some commentary
on the approaches and the depth of the analyses. The rest just asked
me to be sure to summarize. It is for this latter group that I list
below all the references received. The references are given without
comment since I have not yet consulted them.

Bechwith, Chris. 'Non-specification and classification in Uzbek,'
Anthropological Linguistics, l998, 40 (1) pp. 124-140 (esp.pp

Chalker, Sylvia. 1984. Current Englisn Grammar. Macmillan. Pp.52-55.

Cormack, Annabel, and Ruth Kempson, 'On specificity,' in Jay L.Garfield
and Murray Kiteley, eds., The essential readings in modern semantics.'
Paragon House. Pp. 546-581.

Dahl, Oesten. 1988. 'The role of deduction
rules in semantics,' J. of Semantics 6(1), pp. 1-18.
Eisenberg, Peter. 1994. Grundriss der deutschen Grammatik. Stuttgart,
Weimar. (see pp.164 ff.)

Enc, Murvet. 1991. 'The semantics of specificity,' Linguistic Inquiry 22,
pp. 1-25.(Most-mentioned reference.)

Farkas, Donka F. 'Specificity and scope,' paper given at Langues et
grammaires I (email to

Frawley, William. l992. Linguistic semantics. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates.

Haspelmath, Martin. 1997. Indefinite pronouns. Oxford University Press.

Jackendoff, Ray. 1983. Semantics and cognition.

Kaplan, Jeffrey. English grammar: principles and facts.

Kiefer, F.,ed. Semantik und generative Grammatik I. Frankfurt. (see

Kiyoshi, Ishikawa. 1996. 'Individuation and reasoning,' in Logic,
Language, and Computation, vol. 1, ed. by Jerry Seligman and Dag
Westerstahl. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

_________. 1998. A Network Theory of Reference. Bloomington: Indiana
Linguistics Club.

Lyons, John. 1997. Semantics. Vol 1 (see p. 188).

Nadasdi, Terry. (Dissertation; information at

__________. 1995. (Article in Language Variation and Change, vol.7,

Newman, Michael. 1997. Epicene pronouns. (In a volume edited by Garland.)

Pan, Haihua. 'The semantic content of noun phrases,' in Xu, Liejiong,'The
referential properties of noun phrases,' downloadable at:

Rheinhart, Tanya. Recent (1997-8) paper from Language and Philosophy on
'choice functions.'

Roberts, Lawerence E. 1993. How reference works. SUNY Press. (see Ch.5)

Schaeffer, Jeanette C. 'Direct object scrambling in Dutch and Italian
child language.' (1997 dissertation.)

Thanks to all who wrote.

Rebecca Larche Moreton
301 South Ninth Street
Oxford, MS 38655


LL Issue: 10.12
Date Posted: 05-Jan-1999
Original Query: Read original query


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