Natural Language Semantics

Formation and Valuation

By Brendan S. Gillon

An introduction to natural language semantics that offers an overview of the empirical domain and an explanation of the mathematical concepts that underpin the discipline.

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Summary

An introduction to natural language semantics that offers an overview of the empirical domain and an explanation of the mathematical concepts that underpin the discipline.

This textbook offers a comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of those approaches to natural language semantics that use the insights of logic. Many other texts on the subject focus on presenting a particular theory of natural language semantics. This text instead offers an overview of the empirical domain (drawn largely from standard descriptive grammars of English) as well as the mathematical tools that are applied to it. Readers are shown where the concepts of logic apply, where they fail to apply, and where they might apply, if suitably adjusted.

The presentation of logic is completely self-contained, with concepts of logic used in the book presented in all the necessary detail. This includes propositional logic, first order predicate logic, generalized quantifier theory, and the Lambek and Lambda calculi. The chapters on logic are paired with chapters on English grammar. For example, the chapter on propositional logic is paired with a chapter on the grammar of coordination and subordination of English clauses; the chapter on predicate logic is paired with a chapter on the grammar of simple, independent English clauses; and so on.The book includes more than five hundred exercises, not only for the mathematical concepts introduced, but also for their application to the analysis of natural language. The latter exercises include some aimed at helping the reader to understand how to formulate and test hypotheses.

Hardcover

$80.00 X | £62.00 ISBN: 9780262039208 736 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 1 b&w illus.

Endorsements

  • A first-rate introduction to the recursive definition of languages and their compositional interpretation based on logic and model theory: clear, rigorous, careful, and thorough, with useful, partially solved exercises every step of the way. Highly recommended whether for classroom use or self-instruction.

    Edward Keenan

    Professor, Department of Linguistics, UCLA

  • Natural Language Semantics does two things: it teaches absolutely everything a student needs to know about logic for every semantic topic in linguistics, while providing an introduction to various semantic theories and the formal development at work within them.

    Francis Jeffry Pelletier

    Emeritus Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Science, Philosophy, and Linguistics, Simon Fraser University; Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Computing Science, University of Alberta

  • This lucid, solid, and comprehensive book offers a rare opportunity of learning logic and natural language theory as an almost unified topic. Gillon is unique in the breadth of his knowledge, and he matches this with the pedagogical skills to guide the reader from ancient India to contemporary type theory.

    Peter Pagin

    Professor, Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University