A Semantics for Groups and Events: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

A Semantics for Groups and Events

1st Edition

By Peter Lasersohn


140 pages

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First published in 1990, this dissertation presents an event-based model-theoretic semantics for plural expressions in English. The author defends against counterarguments the hypothesis that distributive predicates are predicates of groups, and not just individuals. By defining the collective/distributive distinction in terms of event structure, he solves formal problems with previous group-level analyses. The author notes that certain adverbials have a systematic ambiguity between a reading indicating collective action, and readings indicating spatial or temporal proximity; the event-based definition of collective action makes possible a parallel treatment of these readings. This book presents a formal proposal on the algebraic structure of groups and events, and a semantically based analysis of number agreement.

Table of Contents

Preface; Chapter I: Adverbial Modification and the Interpretation of Distributive Predicates; 0. A few preliminaries 1. The distributive-collective dichotomy 2. "Intrinsic" distributives and collectives 3. Distributive predication as predication on groups 4. Group-sensitive adverbials 5.Conjoining collective and distributive verb phrases; Chapter II: Group Action and Spatio-Temporal Proximity; 0. Introduction 1. Vagueness and Ambiguity 2. The "proximity" uses if group-sensitive adverbials 3. Semantic effects of adverbial position 4. Quantifier scope 5. Event structure and group action 6. Fragment 2 7. Examples 8. Locative and temporal readings 9. Adjectival and object-oriented readings 10. Distributive predicates revisited 11. Conclusion; Chapter III: The Algebra of Groups and the Algebra of Events; 0. Introduction: Tightening up the model 1. The algebra of groups 2. A note on respectively constructions 3.Committees, etc. 4. The algebra of events as a semilattice 5. Restricting the structure of events 6. Unaugmented and augmented frames; Chapter IV: Quantifiers. Group-Level Properties and Agreement; 0. Are quantifiers sensitive to event structure? 1. Different types of group-level events 2. Event-sensitive quantification 3. Additivity, inclusion and exclusion 4. An argument-restriction account of agreement 5. Some problems 6. Agreement and the inclusion/exclusion distinction 7. Distributive determiners and plural agreement 8. Fewer than two and more than one 9. Remaining problems; References

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Semantics and Semiology

Semantics and semiology are two of the most important branches of linguistics and have proven to be fecund areas for research. They examine language structures and how they are dictated by both the meanings and forms of communication employed — semantics by focusing on the denotation of words and fixed word combinations, and semiology by studying sign and sign processes. As numerous interrelated fields connect to and sub-disciplines branch off from these major spheres, they are essential to a thorough grounding in linguistics and crucial for further study.

‘Routledge Library Editions: Semantics and Semiology’ collects together wide-ranging works of scholarship that together provide a comprehensive overview of the preceding theoretical landscape, and expand and extend it in numerous directions. A number of interrelated disciplines are also discussed in conjunction with semantics and semiology such as anaphora, pragmatics, syntax, discourse analysis and the philosophy of language. This set reissues 14 books originally published between 1960 to 2000 and will be of interest to students of linguistics and the philosophy of language.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Grammar & Punctuation
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Syntax
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Semantics