Informal Lectures on Formal Semantics

By Emmon Bach

Subjects: Linguistics
Series: SUNY series in Linguistics
Paperback : 9780887067723, 150 pages, May 1989
Hardcover : 9780887067716, 150 pages, May 1989

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Table of contents

Lecture I. Background and Beginning
Lecture II. Worlds Enough and Time
Lecture III. Nouns and Noun Phrases
Lecture IV. Generalized Quantifiers
Lecture V. Kinds of Things
Lecture VI. Properties and Other Matters
Lecture VII. Situations and Other Smaller Worlds
Lecture VIII. Odds and Endings


This book is an introduction to the current developments in model-theoretic semantics, which has become an essential part of the work in theoretical linguistics over the last decade. The author examines the model structure of Montague's theory and then presents elaborations on this basic model that have been of particular importance in the last few years: generalized quantifiers, the introduction of more structure in the domain of individuals, properties as primitive elements in the model, situations and similar 'smaller' worldlike entities. Nothing is presupposed about knowledge of the mathematical and logical tools used in formal semantics, and Bach presents the informal with a minimum of formalism.

Emmon Bach is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


"Books like this do not come along often. A true authority in this field has taken the time to write a non-technical introduction. No introduction of this kind is likely to be written by anyone else. " — David Dowty, Ohio State University

"This work is a superb and exciting introduction to modern formal semantic theory. Bach succeeds in doing something which I wouldn't have thought possible: he gives a non-technical overview of the scope of semantic theory, of many of its interesting results, and of the kinds of questions it deals with. " — Pauline Jacobson, Brown University