Approaches to Meaning

Composition, Values, and Interpretation


The basic claims of traditional truth-conditional semantics are that the semantic interpretation of a sentence is connected to the truth of that sentence in a situation, and that the meaning of the sentence is derived compositionally from the semantic values meaning of its constituents and the rules that combine them. Both claims have been subject to an intense debate in linguistics and philosophy of language. The original research papers collected in this volume test the boundaries of this classic view from a linguistic and a philosophical point of view by investigating the foundational notions of composition, values and interpretation and their relation to the interfaces to other disciplines. They take the classical theories one step further and closer to a realistic semantic theory that covers speaker’s intentions, the knowledge of discourse participants, meaning of fiction and literature, as well as vague and paradoxical utterances.

Ede Zimmermann is a pioneering researcher in semantics whose students, friends, and colleagues have collected in this volume an impressive set of studies at the interfaces of semantics. How do meanings interact with the context and with intentions and beliefs of the people conversing? How do meanings interact with other meanings in an extended discourse? How can there be paradoxical meanings? Researchers interested in semantics, pragmatics, philosophy of language, anyone interested in foundational and empirical issues of meaning, will find inspiration and instruction in this wonderful volume. Kai von Fintel, MIT Department of Linguistics
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Biographical Note

Daniel Gutzmann is a postdoc at the Institute of Linguistics at University of Frankfurt. His research interests are semantics, pragmatics and philosophy of language. He has worked and published on the semantics of various kinds of non-truthconditional meaning, including expressives, modal particles, personal datives, sentence mood and verum focus, as well as on the pragmatics of quotation.

Jan Köpping is a junior researcher at the Institute of Linguistics at University of Frankfurt. His research interests are semantics, pragmatics and philosophy of language. Especially, he is interested in Dynamic Semantics, Context Theory, Contextualism and Event Semantics.

Cécile Meier is a senior researcher at the Institute of Linguistics at University of Frankfurt. Her papers focus on interface issues of the syntax-semantics interface (expressions of comparison and location) and of the semantics-pragmatics interface (presupposition and focus).

Contributors are Matthias Bauer, Sigrid Beck, Ivano Ciardelli, Paul Dekker, Regine Eckardt, Graeme Forbes, Jeroen Groenendijk, Daniel Gutzmann, Udo Klein, Jan Köpping, Marcus Kracht, Manfred Krifka, Manfred Kupffer, Cécile Meier, Floris Roelofsen, Robert van Rooji, Mats Rooth, Kjell Johan Sæbø, Philippe Schlenker, and Malte Zimmermann.

Table of contents

Composition, Values, and Interpretation: An Introduction to Elements of Semantic Theory 1
Daniel Gutzmann, Jan Köpping, and Cécile Meier

Part 1: Composition
Does Context Change?
Manfred Kupffer
The Live Principle of Compositionality
Paul Dekker
Operators for Definition by Paraphrase
Mats Rooth

Part 2: Values
Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? More on Missing
Kjell Johan Sæbø
Information, Issues, and Attention
Ivano Ciardelli, Jeroen Groenendijk, and Floris Roelofsen
A Truth-conditional Account of Free-choice Disjunction
Graeme Forbes
Being Tolerant about Identity?
Robert van Rooij
The Property Paradox in (Not So Plain) English
Philippe Schlenker

Part 3: Interpretation
Dear Ede! Semantics and Pragmatics of Vocatives
Regine Eckardt
On the Meaning of Fictional Texts
Matthias Bauer and Sigrid Beck
Notes on Disagreement
Udo Klein and Marcus Kracht
Was glaubt EDE, wer der Mörder ist? On D-trees, Embedded Foci, and Indirect Scope Marking
Malte Zimmermann
A New Type of Informative Tautology: Für Unbefugte Betreten Verboten!
Manfred Krifka


The papers will be useful to advanced students and researchers that are interested in the foundations of sematic theories, the semantic-pragmatic-interface, contextual factors of interpretation and discourse theory.


Collection Information