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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
Issue Number: 16.3628

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Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 14:24:08 +1100
From: Andrea Schalley
Subject: Semantics: Critical Concepts in Linguistics, Vol. IV-VI

EDITOR: Gutiérrez-Rexach, Javier
TITLE: Semantics
SUBTITLE: Critical Concepts in Linguistics
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

[This is the second part of a two part review, covering Volumes IV - VI,
and concludes with an evaluation of the work as a whole. -- Eds.]


After having dealt with the semantics of noun phrases in Volumes II
and III, Volume IV is concerned with what is called the 'semantics of
predicates and inflection'. It contains 19 papers. The volume is again
divided into two parts, Part A about 'Events, aspect, and thematic
roles' (8 contributions) and Part B about 'Tense and modality' (11

Part A - 'Events, aspect, and thematic roles'

Chapter 47 is a reprint of Zeno Vendler's ground-breaking and still
highly influential article ''Verbs and times'' (pp. 7-22; Source: The
Philosophical Review 56, 1957, 143-160). Vendler distinguishes four
eventity types (or aspectual classes - eventity is a rather recent term
for 'events and similar entities', cf. Zaefferer 2002): states, activities,
accomplishments, and achievements. This classification is based on
the observation that the ''use of a verb may also suggest the particular
way in which that verb presupposes and involves the notion of time''
(p. 7), and thus is based on different time schemata. Vendler presents
several tests that allow us to distinguish the predicates belonging to
each class, although he already notes that there are ''verbs that call
for two or more time schemata'' (p. 7) and are thus not unambiguously
assignable to a class.

Terence Parsons' excellent contribution in Chapter 48, ''Underlying
events in the logical analysis of English'' (pp. 23-58; Source: Ernest
LePore (ed.), Actions and Events: Perspectives on the Philosophy of
Donald Davidson; Oxford: Blackwell 1985, 235-267), is a reaction to
Davidson's philosophy (who captured eventities as arguments in the
logical form). He presents a Neo-Davidsonian approach (in which
participants of eventities and semantic roles are represented
separately). The purpose of his paper is to explore the idea that many
sentences of English can be assigned logical forms that make
reference to or quantify over events, states, and processes.
Specifically, he deals with aspectual classes, perceptual verbs,
adverbials of Manner, Location, Instrument, Direction, and Motion,
and with the individuation of events.

Emmon Bach, in Chapter 49 ''The algebra of events'' (pp. 59-70;
Source: Linguistics and Philosophy 9, 1986, 5-16), discusses parallels
between the aspectual classification of verbal expressions and the
mass-count distinction in the nominal system. Drawing heavily on Link
1983 (Chapter 41), he extends the algebraic treatment to the domain
of what he calls 'eventualities' (roughly, what we have referred to as
eventities), and explores analogies between events (a specific
eventity or eventuality type) and plural individuals, and between
bounded processes and portions of matter.

In Chapter 50, ''Aspectual asymmetry and quantification'' (pp. 71-102;
Source: Veronika Ehrich and Heinz Vater (eds.), Temporalsemantik;
Tübingen: Niemeyer 1988, 220-259), Henk Verkuyl argues that aspect
is not determined by the verb and its intrinsic characteristics but is
compositional in nature. More specifically, he elaborates the idea that
aspect formation is asymmetrical in that the verb and its direct object
noun phrase constitute verb phrase aspect, which has to be
distinguished from the sentential aspect it yields in combination with
the subject noun phrase. Using the verbal feature [+/- ADD TO] (a
lexical feature applying to verbs and roughly distinguishing
progress/dynamicity vs. stativity) and the nominal feature [+/- SQA]
('specified quantity of A'), he develops a system of composition of
aspect. Also, Verkuyl interprets the verbal feature model-theoretically
in order to account for the semantic interpretation of the verb phrase.

James Pustejovsky proposes an 'event semantics' in Chapter 51, ''The
geometry of events'' (pp. 103-127; Source: Carol Tenny (ed.), Studies
in Generative Approaches to Aspect. MIT Lexicon Project Working
Papers 24; Cambridge, MA: MIT, Center for Cognitive Science 1988,
19-39), in which the topology of the event defines the aspectual
classification. The focus is not on aspect of verb phrase or sentence,
but on aspect as determined by subeventual structure of the verb. He
defines a calculus of aspect, with verbs being represented as a
sequence of events and states. As a result of this, thematic relations
are merely a derivative notion. Pustejovsky also examines how this
approach may provide a solution to adverbial modification.

Chapter 52, ''Thematic roles and their role in semantic interpretation''
(pp. 128-147; Source: Linguistics 22, 1984, 259-279) by Greg
Carlson, is the first (alas, not convincing) paper of three papers in this
part (and overall collection) concerned with thematic roles. Typically,
thematic roles are seen as superfluous elements in model-theoretic
semantic interpretations. Carlson suggests an alternative system of
model-theoretic semantic interpretation which precisely requires the
type of information thematic roles provide. He does this by including
eventities as primitives in his system (rather than as derived elements
of the model), and argues that thematic roles have an intermediate
status between syntax and semantics.

Malka Rappaport and Beth Levin examine the notion of theta-roles or
thematic roles in grammatical theory in Chapter 53, ''What to do with
Theta-roles'' (pp. 148-176; Source: Wendy Wilkins (ed.), Syntax and
Semantics 21, Thematic Relations; New York: Academic Press 1988,
7-36). They attempt to reconcile two general approaches to the use of
thematic roles in the generative literature: on the one hand, thematic
roles have been incorporated in numerous grammatical rules and
principles; on the other hand, they have been criticised, leading some
to conclude that they have no grammatical import and no status in
syntactic theory. Rappaport and Levin claim that those two uses are a
reflection of two distinct lexical representations. The first use is
relevant to lexical syntactic representation, the second to lexical
semantic representation, which leads them to conclude that theta-
roles are not primitive at any of those two levels. Note that the
references list is missing completely (and not just about half of it, as in
Chapter 8).

Although David Dowty's innovative contribution ''Thematic proto-roles
and argument selection'' (pp. 177-208; Source: Language 67, 1991,
secs. 4-8, 560-582) is a journal article, Chapter 54 does not reprint it
in full (but only secs. 4-8). One of the problems Dowty identifies with
thematic roles is that we lack a principled way to decide what kind of
data motivates a thematic role type. Therefore, he reduces thematic
roles to proto-roles. He conceives of thematic roles as
prototypes, ''because role types are simply not discrete categories at
all, but rather are cluster concepts'' (p. 189). His conclusion is that we
need only two prototypical role notions: Proto-Agent and Proto-
Patient. Each of these two roles is associated with different
entailments. Contributing properties of the Proto-Agent are volitional
involvement, sentience, causation of an event or change, movement,
and potentially independent existence. The contributing properties of
the Proto-Patient are undergoing a change of state, incremental
theme, causally affectedness, and potentially an existence which is
not independent. On the basis of these entailments, Dowty introduces
specified ways on how to attribute which proto-role to which argument.

Part B - 'Tense and modality'

Chapter 55, Hans Reichenbach's ''The tenses of verbs'' (pp. 211-220;
Source: Elements of Symbolic Logic; New York: Macmillan 1947, 287-
298), takes us back in time to the 1940s. The extract reprinted here
proposes an approach in which natural language tenses are
interpreted with respect to the three points in time event time,
reference time, and speech time. Different configurations of these
three points along the time line allow a description of different tenses,
such as the traditional past perfect, simple past, present perfect,
present, simple future, and future perfect.

David Dowty studies the effect of aspectual class on the temporal
order of discourse in Chapter 56, ''The effects of aspectual class on
the temporal structure of discourse: semantics or pragmatics?'' (pp.
221-244; Source: Linguistics and Philosophy 9, 1986, 37-61). In doing
so, his approach is based on (i) the semantic analysis of aspectual
class using interval semantics, (ii) a single principle for the
interpretation of successive sentences in a discourse (with the
principle itself not making reference to the aspectual classes of the
involved sentences), and (iii) ''a large dose of Gricean conversational
implicature and 'common sense' reasoning based on the hearer's
knowledge of the real world information'' (p. 225). In particular, he
concludes that the proper explanation of discourse ordering relies to a
considerable degree on pragmatics.

Mürvet Enç's aim in Chapter 57, ''Anchoring conditions for tense'' (pp.
245-271; Source: Linguistic Inquiry 18, 1987, 633-657), is to construct
a theory of tense that accounts for the interpretation of tenses in
embedded clauses. Enç argues against the classical analysis of tense
as sentence operator manipulating times in the metalanguage. Her
theory proposes that tenses are referential expressions, which she
claims stipulates the minimum possible in interpretive rules and
accounts for a number of properties of tenses through syntactic
conditions governing their interpretation - she purports that the
semantic interpretation of temporal expressions is subject to
significant syntactic constraints.

Dorit Abusch presents a theory of tense interpretations in main and
embedded clauses in Chapter 58, ''Sequence of tense, intensionality
and scope'' (pp. 272-289; Source: Proceedings of the West Coast
Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL) 7, 1988, 1-14). She
claims that the temporal interpretation of sentences is predictable from
(i) their logical form (a constraint on which incorporates the notion of
transposing context she develops) and (ii) the semantics that is given
to tenses. To this end, she discusses the contrast between the
sequence-of-tense theory (which assumes the existence of a
morphological 'sequence of tense rule' that is responsible for the shift
of present tense morphology into past tense in complements of matrix
clauses that have past tense morphology) and the independent theory
of tense (the embedded tense is always evaluated with respect to the
utterance time, independently of the evaluation time introduced by the
higher verb).

In Chapter 59, ''Temporal ontology in natural language'' (pp. 290-305;
Source: Proceedings of the 25th Annual Meeting of the Association for
Computational Linguistics (ACL), Stanford University 1987, 1-7), Marc
Moens and Mark Steedman propose a temporal ontology based on
the notions of causation and consequence rather than on temporal
primitives. They claim that any manageable logic or other formal
system for temporal descriptions in natural language will have to
comprise such an ontology. The system they devise can explain some
of the apparent anomalies and ambiguities that cause problems to
approaches to natural-language tenses based on linear models of

Dorit Abusch sketches several problems of earlier treatments of tense
in embedded contexts in Chapter 60, ''The present under past as de
re interpretation'' (pp. 306-318; Source: Proceedings of the West
Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL) 10, 1991, 1-12).
She proposes that temporal constituents can be captured by a theory
of de re interpretation, formalising this idea along the lines of the de re
belief theory (David Lewis 1979).

Toshiyuki Ogihara discusses the interaction between tenses, temporal
adverbial clauses, and adverbs of quantification such as 'always'
and 'often' in Chapter 61, ''Adverbs of quantification and sequence-of-
tense phenomena'' (pp. 319-337; Source: Proceedings of Semantics
and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 4; Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications, Cornell
University 1994, 251-267). He extends a sequence-of-tense rule
(which he defines as ''an optional syntactic rule that serves to delete
tenses under identity with locally c-commanding tenses'' (p. 319)) to
these environments and analyses the scopal relations that emerge.

Chapter 62, ''Quantification over time'' (pp. 338-364; Source: Jaap van
der Does and Jan van Eijck (eds.), Quantifiers, Logic, and Language;
Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications 1996, 311-336), is the first of four
contributions on modality. Henriëtte de Swart extends generalised
quantifier theory to cover temporal quantification and interprets
adverbs of quantification as generalised quantifiers. Four questions
are central to the paper (cf. p. 338): (i) What is the object of
quantification of an adverb of quantification? (ii) How do we find the
arguments of the adverbial quantifier? (iii) Do the general properties
of extension, conservativity, and quantity carry over from the nominal
domain? and (iv) Can we establish subclasses of adverbs on the basis
of particular semantic properties - and if so, what is their linguistic

Angelika Kratzer characterises the German modal system in Chapter
63, ''The notional category of modality'' (pp. 365-403; Source: Hans-
Jürgen Eikmeyer and Hannes Rieser (eds.), Words, Worlds, and
Context; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 1981, 38-74). She asks what the
logical nature of interpretations of modals is, what their variety is due
to, and how (in the German case) this variety is restricted by the
German vocabulary. In the course of the paper, Kratzer proposes a
possible-world account of modality in which this notion is interpreted
with respect to a conversational background. Modal operators are
evaluated with respect to a modal base, that is, a set of accessible
worlds, and to an ordering on that set or ordering source.

Donka Farkas' excellent contribution in Chapter 64, ''On the semantics
of subjunctive complements'' (pp. 404-435; Source: Paul Hirschbueler
and Konrad Koerner (eds.), Romance Languages and Modern
Linguistic Theory; Amsterdam: John Benjamins 1992, 69-104),
discusses the semantic characterisation of subjunctive argument
clauses in Romanian and French. She claims that mood distribution is
not random and demonstrates where previous approaches fail, and
then proposes an alternative account of modal anchoring in Discourse
Representation Theory.

The last contribution in Volume IV, Chapter 65 ''Modal discourse
referents and the semantics of the mood phrase'' (pp. 436-461;
Source: University of Maryland Working Papers in Linguistics 3, 1995,
224-255) by Paul Portner, pursues the idea that all natural language
clauses are modal and involve quantification over a set of possible
worlds in the modal base. The modal base of a sentence is context
dependent and requires implementing a formal system in which modal
bases are treated as discourse referents.


Volume V comprises 18 papers on the semantics of three different
types of linguistic expression or constructions: adjectives and
adjectival modification, negation, and questions, thus triggering
insights on the semantics of modification, operators, and sentence
types. Corresponding to these themes, the volume is divided into
three parts: Part A, 'Adjectives, degrees, and comparatives' (4
contributions), Part B, 'Negation and negative polarity items' (5
contributions), and Part C, 'Questions' (9 contributions).

Part A - 'Adjectives, degrees, and comparatives'

In Chapter 66, ''Two theories about adjectives'' (pp. 7-36; Source:
Edward Keenan (ed.), Formal Semantics of Natural Language;
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1975, 123-155), Hans Kamp
outlines a semantics for different types of adjectives (predicative,
privative, affirmative, extensional). Instead of conceiving of adjectives
as predicates, a treatment of them as functions is discussed. The
function approach is more successful than the predicate approach,
but still does not allow to capture the semantics of comparatives and
superlatives. They require a more sophisticated theory based on
supervaluations and graded context-dependent models with
probability functions.

Max J. Cresswell presents a non-convincing possible-worlds
semantics for English comparative constructions in Chapter 67, ''The
semantics of degree'' (pp. 37-69; Source: Barbara Partee (ed.),
Montague Grammar; New York: Academic Press 1976, 261-292). He
outlines the lambda-categorial languages he bases his semantics on,
discusses a semantics of comparative adjectives, mass nouns and
plurals, and looks at the metaphysics that underlie comparisons. Then
he tackles the ''relation between the underlying formal language of
comparatives and their surface form'' (p. 37) - which completes the
semantics and syntax for comparatives - and lists a few problem
cases, for which he makes tentative suggestions.

Jean-Yves Lerner and Manfred Pinkal's contribution in Chapter
68, ''Comparatives and nested quantifications'' (pp. 70-87; Source:
Paul Dekker and Martin Stokhof (eds.), Proceedings of the Eight
Amsterdam Colloquium; Amsterdam: ILLC, University of Amsterdam
1991, 329-345), is concerned with the relation between comparatives
constructions and quantifier terms. Specifically, they discuss the status
of the comparative complement as a degree quantifier, the behaviour
of quantifier terms occurring in comparative complements, and
attributive comparative constructions (in particular the interaction of
the comparative operator and the quantifier term in which it occurs).
Their analysis relies on the operation of Functional Composition, and
primarily on the special case of Nested Quantification.

Chapter 69, ''Comparison and polar opposition'' (pp. 88-106; Source:
Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 7 [not 5 as
listed in the volume]; Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications, Cornell University
1997, 240-257) by Christopher Kennedy, is an original and stimulating
contribution dealing with the 'cross-polar' anomaly in comparatives (as
evident in examples such as #'Mike is shorter than Carmen is tall'), but
also generally motivating and developing a specific approach to the
semantics of gradable adjectives and the representation of adjectival
polarity. Specifically, Kennedy argues that gradable adjectives denote
relations between individuals and extents, or intervals in a scale,
rather than relations between individuals and degrees, or points in a
scale. He furthermore claims that adjectival polarity should be
characterised as a sortal distinction between positive and negative
adjectives, showing that this approach supports an explanation of
cross-polar anomaly as a type of sortal anomaly.

Part B - 'Negation and negative polarity items'

Chapter 70, Gilles Fauconnier's ''Polarity and the scale principle'' (pp.
109-120; Source: Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistics Society 11,
1975, 188-199), aims to show that polarity is only a subcase of a more
general phenomenon that can be described in terms of the extended
notion 'semantic and pragmatic polarity'. Evidence for this is provided
by the following observations: (i) some phrases are polarised with
respect to logical structures (they can only occur in sentences
associated with logical structures of a certain type), (ii) some phrases
are polarised with respect to logical structures and context (their
polarity can therefore change from context to context), and (iii) the
characteristic polarity-reversal properties of standard polarity items
are shared by all elements polarised with respect to logical structures
and context. Based on these generalisations, Fauconnier proposes
that the distribution of polarised elements follows from the 'scale
principle', which he views as a semantic/pragmatic inferential

Jack Hoeksema discusses a set of monotonicity phenomena in
Chapter 71, ''Monotonicity phenomena in natural language'' (pp. 121-
135; Source: Linguistic Analysis 16, 1986, 25-40). He defines and
illustrates the notions of direct and inverse monotonicity and indicates
how they play a role in the study of inference patterns. Furthermore,
Hoeksema explains how the notion of inverse monotonicity makes it
possible to state a generalisation about the distribution of negative
polarity items.

Chapter 72, the convincing contribution ''Polarity sensitive 'any' and
free choice 'any''' (pp. 136-161; Source: Martin Stokhof and Leen
Torenvliet (eds.), Proceedings of the Seventh Amsterdam Colloquium;
Amsterdam: ILLC, University of Amsterdam 1989, 227-251) by Nirit
Kadmon and Fred Landman, proposes a unified analysis of the
semantic and pragmatic effects of 'any'. Since 'any' can function in two
different ways - receiving an interpretation as a negative polarity item
(polarity sensitive 'any') and as 'free choice' element - this unified
analysis applies to 'any' on both its uses. Essentially, the difference
between polarity sensitive and free choice 'any' is reduced to the
difference between non-generic and generic indefinites. Kadmon and
Landman further show that free-choice 'any' is a generic indefinite
with the properties of widening and strengthening, two properties
which explain a host of distributional characteristics.

In Chapter 73, ''Nonveridical contexts'' (pp. 162-184; Source:
Linguistic Analysis 25, 1995, 286-312), Frans Zwarts draws attention
to the semantic properties of what Montague called 'nonveridical
contexts'. He is concerned with the relationship between veridicality
and monotonicity and also addresses the question of the distribution
of polarity sensitive and free choice 'any'. He argues that both uses
of 'any' are restricted to nonveridical contexts, supporting the idea that
both uses should be analysed as manifestations of a single lexical
item (as done in, for instance, Chapter 72). In addition, Zwarts shows
that the distribution of negative polarity items in Modern Greek and
Romanian is similarly restricted. Non-veridicality also plays a role in
the temporal system of many languages. Finally, he claims that recent
changes in the use of the Dutch adverb 'ooit' ('ever') can be explained
in terms of extensions from monotone decreasing to nonveridical and
later veridical environments.

Chapter 74, ''Configurational expression of negation'' (pp. 185-204;
Source: Jaap van der Does and Jan van Eijck (eds.), Quantifiers,
Logic, and Language; Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications 1996, 203-223)
by William Ladusaw, studies the interpretation of negative concord, a
morphological property of some languages in which negation is
instantiated on several positions in a clause. Ladusaw proposes that
the elements of a negative chain should be considered indefinites and
argues that such a view of negative concord - one that draws on the
theory of indefinites - provides an underlying unity among negative
concord terms and negative polarity items, and that this resolves
puzzles about how negative concord can be interpreted

Part C - 'Questions'

Chapter 75, Lauri Karttunen's ''Syntax and semantics of questions''
(pp. 207-249; Source: Linguistics and Philosophy 1, 1977, 3-44), is
the first paper in Part C dealing with the semantics of questions.
Karttunen presents a systematic account of the semantics of indirect
questions, assuming ''that any adequate solution for them can, in one
way or another, be extended to cover direct questions as well'' (p.
208). He discusses previous proposals by, for instance, Hamblin
(amongst others). Whereas Hamblin argued for a question to denote
the set of propositions expressed by the possible answers to it,
Karttunen suggests to make questions denote the set of propositions
expressed by their true answers. He then goes on to propose a
Montagovian analysis of questions, and devises different rules to
generate questions (proto-questions, alternative questions, yes/no
questions, etc.).

In Chapter 76, ''Questions, quantifiers and crossing'' (pp. 250-287;
Source: The Linguistic Review 1, 1981, 41-79), James Higginbotham
and Robert May juxtapose two problems in the syntax and semantics
of Logical Form which to them have similar solutions. The first problem
concerns an explanation of the source of presuppositions associated
with multiple uses of the singular in wh-questions, the second the
interpretation of sentences with crossing coreference (sentences with
two or more noun phrases, each of which contains a pronoun that
may be anaphoric to the other). They claim that these problems can
be solved by introducing binary variable-binding operators (binary
quantifiers, or binary wh-operators). They give a semantics for both
kinds of operators, and propose an operation of absorption that
derives n-ary quantifiers from unary ones.

Jeroen Groenendijk and Martin Stokhof explore a possible-worlds
account of the question-answer relation in Chapter 77, ''On the
semantics of questions and the pragmatics of answers'' (pp. 288-313;
Source: Fred Landman and Frank Veltman (eds.), Varieties of Formal
Semantics; Dordrecht: Foris 1984, 143-170). They share the view that
an adequate theory of questions should deal with direct and indirect
questions in a uniform way. A question is treated as a partition of the
set of indices, with each element of that partition representing a
proposition, a possible semantic answer to the question. In addition,
total and partial answers, and direct and indirect questions are treated
in this model.

In Chapter 78, ''Towards the semantics of open sentences: wh-
phrases and indefinites'' (pp. 314-339; Source: Martin Stokhof and
Leen Torenvliet (eds.), Proceedings of the Seventh Amsterdam
Colloquium; Amsterdam: ILLC, University of Amsterdam 1989, 53-77)
by Stephen Berman, the Lewis-Kamp-Heim analysis of indefinites as
restricted free variables is extended to the analysis of wh-phrases.
Berman first examines parallels in the quantificational behaviour of wh-
phrases and indefinites and shows that there are environments where
neither type of phrase can be quantified. He argues that a determining
role in their quantifiability is played by presupposition accommodation.
Secondly, Berman examines asymmetries in the quantifiability of these
phrases. He concludes that wh-phrases should also be treated as
restricted free variables

Utpal Lahiri studies embedded questions of two types - the 'wonder'-
type and the 'know'-type - in Chapter 79, ''Questions, answers and
selection'' (pp. 340-352; Source: Proceedings of the North East
Linguistic Society (NELS) 21, 1991, 233-246). He claims that the
distinction between the predicates of the 'know'-class and
the 'wonder'-class cannot be captured by a syntactic distinction.
Accordingly, the syntax does not mark the question/answer distinction
in the interpretation of embedded interrogatives. Also, the distinction is
not a case of selection of different semantic types, but rather seen as
a matter of the lexical semantics of the predicates in question. To
support this view, Lahiri discusses further evidence from Spanish.

Jonathan Ginzburg presents an account of interrogatives in situation
semantics in Chapter 80, ''A quasi-naive semantics for interrogatives
and its implications'' (pp. 353-372; Source: Paul Dekker and Martin
Stokhof (eds.), Proceedings of the Eight Amsterdam Colloquium;
Amsterdam: ILLC, University of Amsterdam 1991, 197-212). Questions
are treated as unresolved states-of-affairs. Outlining problems for a
quantificational view of wh-phrase meaning, Ginzburg also argues for
a non-quantificational approach to wh-phrase meaning.

Chapter 81, Veneeta Dayal's ''Two types of universal terms in
questions'' (pp. 373-385; Source: Proceedings of the North East
Linguistic Society (NELS) 22, 1992, 443-457), discusses questions
involving a wh-expression and a universal term. Such questions can
be answered in three different ways, by so-called individual answers,
pair-list answers, and functional answers. Dayal distinguishes
between two types of universal terms and the effects associated with
them: the first type of universal terms includes quantificational noun
phrases with determiners such as 'each', 'every', and 'both', and the
second type of universal terms includes plural definites with
determiners like 'the', 'the+numeral', 'those/these', and conjoined
proper nouns like 'John and Bill'. She claims that the latter type should
be analysed in terms of their individual answers, and that list answers
to questions with plural definites represent one of two readings of an
individual answer.

In Chapter 82, ''Interrogatives'' (pp. 386-417; Source: Ken Hale and
Samuel J. Keyser (eds.), The View from Building 20; Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press 1993, 195-227), James Higginbotham advances some
parts of a view of interrogative sentences and their interpretations to
honour Sylvain Bromberger. One of his major theses is that the
semantics of interrogative sentences is given by associating with them
semantic objects that he calls 'abstract questions'. To utter the
interrogative is then to ask the abstract question it expresses.
Elementary abstract questions are seen as partitions of the possible
states of nature into families of mutually exclusive alternatives, and
complex abstract questions are constructed out of elementary ones.
Higginbotham discusses several empirical and theoretical issues
related to direct and indirect questions and the licensing of negative
polarity items in interrogatives.

The last chapter in Volume V, Chapter 83 ''Interrogatives and polyadic
quantification'' (pp. 418-433; Source: Nelia Scott (ed.), Proceedings of
the International Conference on Questions; Liverpool: University of
Liverpool 1999, 1-14), is written by the editor of the collection, Javier
Gutiérrez-Rexach. It develops a treatment of wh-phrases and
quantification into questions within the generalised quantifier
framework: wh-phrases are uniformly treated as denoting interrogative
generalised quantifiers. Quantification into questions is viewed as
interaction between a declarative and an interrogative quantifier. This
interaction is characterised by polyadic lifts of generalised quantifiers,
leading to a variety of polyadic quantifiers.


The last volume in this collection, Volume VI, deals with discourse
structure and information flow, and explores the boundaries between
semantics and pragmatics. It contains 18 papers, again divided into
three parts: Part A, 'Topic and focus' (4 contributions), Part
B, 'Pronouns and anaphora' (8 contributions), and Part C, 'The
semantics/pragmatics interface' (6 contributions).

Part A - 'Topic and focus'

In excellently written Chapter 84, ''Topic, focus and quantification'' (pp.
7-32; Source: Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT)
1; Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications, Cornell University 1991, 159-187),
Barbara Partee explores the possibility of combining aspects of the
Prague School of linguistics on topic and focus and other
contemporary work on focus-sensitive constructions with the work of
Heim and Kamp. In particular, she suggests that topic corresponds to
the restrictive term (or domain restriction) and focus to nuclear scope
in tripartite structures. She surveys a range of focus-sensitive
constructions and concludes that most of them are quantificational in
some sense and require something like a tripartite structure for their
interpretation. She also analyses several theoretical and empirical
consequences and discusses some apparent problems.

The subject of Chapter 85, Manfred Krifka's ''A compositional
semantics for multiple focus constructions'' (pp. 33-72; Source:
Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 1; Ithaca, NY:
CLC Publications, Cornell University 1991, 127-158), is the
development of a framework which allows the formulation of the
influence of focus on the semantic and pragmatic interpretation. As
basic framework, Krifka deploys the 'structured meaning' approach. (A
structured meaning is a pair consisting of a background part and a
focus part.) One of the original shortcomings of the apporach have to
do with cases involving multiple foci. Therefore, Krifka develops a
compositional semantics for multiple focus constructions. He also
discusses some extensions and possible problems (among those a
combined semantic treatment of focus and topic).

Sjaak de Mey analyses the semantics of focus in generalised
quantifier theory in Chapter 86, ''Generalized quantifier theory and the
semantics of focus'' (pp. 73-83; Source: Jaap van der Does and Jan
van Eijck (eds.), Quantifiers, Logic, and Language; Stanford, CA: CSLI
Publications 1996, 269-279). He claims that a semantics for bare
focus constructions with 'only' cannot be provided by 'p-sets' (p-sets
are determined by all logically possible alternatives) nor by 'salient
sets' (sets of contextually determined 'salient' entities). According to
de Mey, the most plausible semantics for 'only' is given by generalised
quantifier theory, in particular by Boolean Algebra. 'Only' is seen as
the superset relation, and as such related to the semantics of other
determiners such as 'all'.

In his excellent contribution in Chapter 87, ''Topic'' (pp. 84-109;
Source: Peter Bosch and Rob van der Sandt (eds.), Focus, Linguistic,
Cognitive, and Computational Perspectives; Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press 1999, 142-165), Daniel Büring shows how the formal
treatment as developed in Rooth (1985) can be extended to capture
not only focus but also sentence topics. He also discusses how the
interpretation of focus and sentence topics interacts with the
semantics of adnominal quantifiers, yielding a variety of readings
(partitive, proportional, and focus-affected).

Part B - 'Pronouns and anaphora'

In the book extract in Chapter 88, ''Pronominal reference: relative
pronouns'' (pp. 113-128; Source: Reference and Generality: An
Examination of Some Medieval and Modern Theories; Ithaca, NY:
Cornell University Press 1962, 108-132), Peter Geach examines
certain theories that ascribe reference to pronouns. He observes that
the interpretation of pronouns uniformly as variables, following Frege's
view, is problematic when considering certain examples such as so-
called 'donkey sentences'.

Gareth Evans distinguishes four classes of pronouns in Chapter
89, ''Pronouns'' (pp. 129-157; Source: Linguistic Inquiry 11, 1980, 337-
362). These are (i) pronouns used to make a reference to an object
(or objects) present in the shared perceptual environment, or
rendered salient in some way; (ii) pronouns intended to be understood
as being coreferential with a referring expression occurring elsewhere
in the sentence; (iii) pronouns which have quantifier expressions as
antecedents and are used as being analogous to the bound variables;
and (iv) pronouns which Evans labels as 'E-type pronouns'. He
emphasises the differences in interpretation in the fourth class
compared with the third class: ''E-type pronouns also have quantifier
expressions as antecedents, but they are not bound by those
quantifiers'' (p. 130). Evans discusses the existence of E-type
pronouns and suggests a semantic description for them. He also
proposes a semantics of bound pronouns (pronouns of the third
category), and discusses these pronouns in light of the pragmatic
theory of co-reference.

Hans Kamp's ground-breaking contribution in Chapter 90, ''A theory of
truth and semantic representation'' (pp. 158-196; Source: Jeroen
Groenendijk, Theo Jansen and Martin Stokhof (eds.), Truth,
Interpretation and Information; Dordrecht: Foris 1984, 1-41),
introduces a new theory of sentence and discourse interpretation that
addresses the main problems in the interpretation of pronouns and
indefinites in donkey sentences. This theory, called Discourse
Representation Theory (DRT), is an attempt to combine a definition of
truth with a systematic account of semantic representation (involving a
constructional, non-compositional approach to meaning) and is thus
essentially a dynamic theory of meaning. Interpretations are mediated
by the construction of Discourse Representation Structures, which in
turn are embedded in models. Kamp shows that the theory provides:
(i) a general account of the conditional; (ii) a general account of the
meaning of indefinite descriptions; and (iii) a general account of
pronominal anaphora.

In Chapter 91, ''Modal subordination and pronominal anaphora in
discourse'' (pp. 197-233; Source: Linguistics and Philosophy 12, 1989,
683-721), Craige Roberts studies what she refers to as 'modal
subordination' and how it affects and restricts anaphoric relationships.
First, she relates the notion of the mood of a sentence to a theory of
modality in model theoretic semantics, showing how this is relevant for
modal subordination. Then, she discusses the relevance of anaphora
for a theory of modal subordination, and proposes an enrichment of
Discourse Representation Theory to deal with modal subordination
and generalised subordination in discourse, including cases of what
she calls 'telescoping'.

Chapter 92, Paul Dekker's ''Existential disclosure'' (pp. 234-259;
Source: Linguistics and Philosophy 16, 1993, 561-587), presents a
system of dynamic interpretation. This system is based on
Groenendijk and Stokhof's (1990) Dynamic Montague Grammar, in
which the Montague grammar is adapted in order to incorporate
Discourse Representation Results. Dekker suggests that dynamic
interpretation is connected with the possibility of an operation he
calls 'existential disclosure' - the possibility of addressing (dynamic)
existentially closed (implicit) arguments as if they were free variables.
He aims at showing how existing treatments of relational nouns,
adverbial modification and tense in discourse can be expressed within
such a dynamic framework.

Gennaro Chierchia's book extract in Chapter 93, ''Dynamic binding''
(pp. 260-282; Source: Dynamics of Meaning; Chicago, Ill.: University
of Chicago Press 1995, 62-84), discusses two different readings of
donkey sentences: the existential reading and the universal reading,
the existence of which is not without problems for classical Discourse
Representation Theory. Chierchia proposes first an extension of
Discourse Representation Theory in which adverbs of quantification
are not unselective and can choose the arguments they quantify over.
He integrates his results in a dynamic version of Montague's
Intensional Logic which he calls the 'Dynamic Binding' approach. (Note
that the book chapter is not reprinted in full.)

Jeroen Groenendijk, Martin Stokhof and Frank Veltman's aim in
Chapter 94, ''Coreference and contextually restricted quantification''
(pp. 283-302; Source: Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic
Theory (SALT) 5; Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications, Cornell University
1995, 112-129), is to argue that update semantics is a natural
framework for contextually restricted quantification. (In update
semantics the meaning of a sentence is identified with its context
change potential, with contexts being taken as information states.)
They furthermore illustrate its use in the analysis of anaphoric definite
descriptions and suggest to treat anaphoric definite descriptions -
together with certain other anaphoric terms - as quantifiers (where
quantification is dynamic and contextually restricted).

Chris Barker tackles the 'proportion problem' in Chapter 95, ''A
presuppositional account of proportional ambiguity'' (pp. 303-319;
Source: Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 3;
Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications, Cornell University 1993, 1-18).
The 'proportion problem' is a systematic ambiguity associated with
proportional adverbial quantification such as 'usually' and 'mostly'.
Since one of the readings often seems to be strongly preferred,
Barker explores the factors that constrain which of several construals
of a proportional sentence will be available for a token uttered in a
particular context. He proposes that there is a conventional
implicature connected to the use of proportional adverbial quantifiers,
and that different proportional readings give rise to distinct

Part C - 'The semantics/pragmatics interface'

Robert Stalnaker proposes how content and context might be
represented in a theory of speech in Chapter 96, ''Assertion'' (pp. 323-
340; Source: Peter Cole (ed.), Syntax and Semantics 9; New York:
Academic Press 1978, 315-322). He makes some claims about the
way assertions act on the contexts in which they are made, and about
the way contexts constrain the interpretation of assertions. Three
principles are mentioned, which illustrate the interaction of context and
content and which can be defended as essential conditions of rational
communication. These principles - discussed by Stalnaker in turn -
are: (i) a proposition asserted is always true in some but not all of the
possible worlds in the context set; (ii) any assertive utterance should
express a proposition, relative to each possible world in the context
set (and that proposition should have a truth value in each possible
world in the context set); and (iii) the same proposition is expressed
relative to each possible world in the context set.

Chapter 97, David Lewis' ''Scorekeeping in language game'' (pp. 341-
358; Source: Rainer BŠuerle, Urs Egli and Arnim von Stechow (eds.),
Semantics from Different Points of View; Berlin: Springer 1979, 172-
187), proposes to model conversational interaction in terms of a game
metaphor. Presuppositions evolve according to rules of
accommodation. Such rules specify, for example, that any
presuppositions that are required by what is said come into existence
provided that nobody objects.

Chapter 98, Enric Vallduvi's ''A theory of informatics'' (pp. 359-384;
Source: The Informational Component; PhD diss., University of
Pennsylvania 1990; Ann Arbor, MI: Garland 1992, 66-94), is an
extract from the author's PhD dissertation. It analyses information
packaging as part of an autonomous module that Vallduvi
calls 'informatics'. The chapter provides an account of the role of
informatics in the larger language apparatus. Speakers have a
knowledge store and elements are 'filed' into that store according to
their informational role focus or ground. Vallduvi discusses several
phenomena from English and Catalan, showing how the linguistic
encoding of information packaging can be different in each language.

Chapter 99, ''The context-dependency of quantifiers'' (pp. 385-397;
Source: Restrictions on Quantifier Domains; PhD diss., University of
Massachusetts at Amherst 1995, 27-36), supplies another extract
from a PhD dissertation - namely Section 2.2 (and thus not even a
whole chapter). Due to this extract being taken out of a bigger whole,
the extract's aim and its relevance do not become clear. Kai von Fintel
studies the context dependence of quantifiers and claims that
quantifiers are restricted by resource-domain arguments.

Chapter 100, Dov Gabbay and Ruth Kempson's ''Natural-language
content: a proof-theoretic perspective. A preliminary report'' (pp. 398-
428; Source: Paul Dekker and Martin Stokhof (eds.), Proceedings of
the Eight Amsterdam Colloquium; Amsterdam: ILLC, University of
Amsterdam 1991, 173-195), reports on work in progress, work that is
aimed at building a formal model of the process of utterance
interpretation from a procedural perspective. Gabbay and Kempson
introduce the background logical framework, sketch out the account
itself, apply it to anaphora and wh-binding, and show how it affects
underlying assumptions about natural language.

The last chapter not only in this volume, but in the whole collection -
Chapter 101, ''Mathematical treatment of discourse contexts'' (pp. 429-
454; Source: Paul Dekker and Martin Stokhof (eds.), Proceedings of
the Tenth Amsterdam Colloquium; Amsterdam: ILLC, University of
Amsterdam 1995, 21-40) - presents a theory of discourse structure
and hence interpretation which integrates semantic and pragmatic
information. Nicholas Asher reviews and lays out the Segmented
Discourse Representation Theory (SDRT), which like DRT itself
exploits representations to model discourse contexts and to determine
the semantic effects of discourse structure. Asher first gives some
applications of SDRT to problems of discourse interpretation. He then
develops an alternative model-theoretic approach to discourse
contexts for a theory of pragmatics and semantics, and finally
establishes an equivalence of this approach to SDRT.

The collection concludes with the Index (pp. 455-483), which merges
both name and subject index. Unfortunately, the index is not listed
throughout the collection (not in any table of contents), so it came
rather as a surprise after I had read all the papers and could surely
have used the cross-referencing potential of an index in the course of


It cannot be the aim of this evaluation to discuss single contributions.
Therefore, I will merely comment on the overall collection as such.

The collection is a commendable attempt to bring together influential
papers from formal semantics, many of which have only been
published in conference proceedings of narrow diffusion. It is a
specialised anthology targetted at semanticists who are have some
acquaintance with the tools and methods of formal semantics. In
particular, it does not contain and cannot fulfill the function of an
introduction to the concepts of formal semantics, and will thus not be
easily accessible to semanticists from other theoretical backgrounds,
let alone to scholars in other areas of linguistics or students.

The editor, as stated in the preface, selected the contributions
specifically from the field of formal semantics. On this basis, the
collection's title is misleading. It should have been ''Formal Semantics.
Critical Concepts in Linguistics'', in order to not even indicate a
potential coverage of the field of semantics. An overall coverage
would have to include other theoretical approaches and work by other
important semanticists, such as Jackendoff, Cruse, Fillmore, Talmy,
Pustejovsky, Wierzbicka, and many more. Also, important semantic
subfields such as lexical semantics are generally not focused on in
formal semantic and are hence underrepresented in this anthology.

A major drawback of the volumes is the high number of misprints,
which are specifically distorting in formula and decrease the
readability immensely. Often one feels the need to consult the original
for comparison. Given the nature of the misprints, I am tempted to
speculate that the character recognition results following the scanning
of a camera-ready copy were not corrected any more. Together with
instances as the one outlined for Chapter 46, this is disappointing,
also given the high price of the volumes.

As a collection of formal semantic papers the present anthology
certainly brings together most of the highly influential papers, written
by leading scholars in the field, and makes papers readily available
that were not so easily accessible before. An inclusion of work by, for
instance, Donald Davidson, Alfred Tarski, or Mats Rooth would have
made the collection even more complete, but I am aware that not
every important contribution to formal semantics can be included in
such a collection.

REFERENCES (for both parts)

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

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:

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

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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