Publications: MIT Press : The Interpretation of Coordination, Plurality, and Scope in Natural Language

Alexis Nasr alexis.nasr at LINGUIST.JUSSIEU.FR
Fri Mar 22 10:03:49 UTC 2002

I thought readers of the LN List might be interested in this book.  For more information please

Flexibility Principles in Boolean Semantics
The Interpretation of Coordination, Plurality, and Scope in Natural Language
Yoad Winter

Since the early work of Montague, Boolean semantics and its subfield of generalized quantifier
theory have become the model-theoretic foundation for the study of meaning in natural languages.
This book uses this framework to develop a new semantic theory of central linguistic phenomena
involving coordination, plurality, and scope. The proposed theory makes use of the standard Boolean
interpretation of conjunction, a choice-function account of indefinites, and a novel semantics of
plurals that is not based on the distributive/collective distinction. The key to unifying these
mechanisms is a version of Montagovian semantics that is augmented by flexibility principles:
semantic operations that have no counterpart in phonology.

This is the first book to cover these areas in a way that is both linguistically comprehensive and
formally explicit. On one hand, it addresses questions of primarily linguistic concern: the semantic
functions of words like and and or in different languages, the interpretation of indefinites and
their scope, and the semantic typology of noun phrases and predicates. On the other hand, it
addresses formal questions that are motivated by the treatment of these linguistic problems: the use
of Boolean algebras in linguistics, the proper formalization of choice functions within generalized
quantifier theory, and the extension of this theory to the domain of plurality. While primarily
intended for readers with a background in theoretical linguistics, the book will also be of interest
to researchers and advanced students in logic, computational linguistics, philosophy of language,
and artificial intelligence.

Yoad Winter is a lecturer in the Computer Science Department at Technion-Israel Institute of

7 x 9, 328 pp., 15 illus., cloth ISBN 0-262-23218-9
Current Studies in Linguistics, Volume 37

Jud Wolfskill
Associate Publicist
The MIT Press
5 Cambridge Center, 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA  02142
617 253 2079
617 253 1709 fax
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