The Semantic Variability of Absolute Constructions

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Springer Science & Business Media, Dec 31, 1984 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 403 pages
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The goal of this book is to investigate the semantics of absolute constructions in English; specifically, my object is to provide an explanation for the semantic variability of such constructions. As has been widely noted in traditional grammatical studies of English, free adjuncts and absolute phrases have the ability to playa number of specific logical roles in the sentences in which they appear; yet, paradoxically, they lack any overt indication of their logical connection to the clause which they modify. How, then, is the logical function of an absolute construction determined? In attempting to answer this question, one must inevitably address a number of more general issues: Is the meaning assigned to a linguistic expression necessarily determined by linguistic rules, or can the grammar of a language in some cases simply underdetermine the interpretation of expressions? Are the truthconditions of a sentence ever sensitive to the inferences of language users? If so, then is it possible to maintain the validity of any really substantive version of the Compositionality Principle? These are, of course, issues of great inherent interest to anyone concerned with the formal syntax and semantics of natural language, with the philosophy of language, or with language processing. The descriptive framework assumed throughout is the semantic theory developed by Richard Montague (1970a, 1970b, 1973) and his followers. (For a very thorough introduction to Montague semantics, the reader may refer to Dowty, Wall and Peters (1981 ).
 

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Contents

THE SEMANTIC VARIABILITY OF FREE ADJUNCTS
1
Traditional Thoughts on the Semantic
14
Plan of Discussion
22
Footnotes
36
Explaining the Entailment Properties of Strong
44
Chapter Summary
89
TENSE AND THE INTERPRETATION OF FREE ADJUNCTS
97
The Temporal Reference of Free Adjuncts
162
The Progressive Aspect and the Interpretation
253
Chapter Summary
264
THE FORMAL SEMANTICS OF ABSOLUTES
270
Tense and the Interpretation of Absolutes
280
Chapter Summary
289
INFERENCE AND THE LOGICAL ROLE OF FREE ADJUNCTS
299
On the Possibility of Deriving Absolute
329
On the Possibility that the Logical Role of
335

Frequency Adverbs and the Distinction between
172
A Generalization Operator
190
Chapter Summary
206
ASPECT AND THE INTERPRETATION OF FREE ADJUNCTS
220
An Argument for Free Adjuncts as Main Tense
247
Footnotes
344
APPENDIX A FORMAL FRAGMENT FOR FREE ADJUNCTS
350
REFERENCES
390
INDEX OF NAMES
396
Copyright

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Pluralities
Roger Schwarzschild
Limited preview - 1996
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About the author (1984)

Gregory T. Stump is Associate Professor of English and Linguistics in the Department of English at the University of Kentucky. He is the author of The Semantic Variability of Absolute Constructions (1985) and has published numerous articles in such journals as the Journal of Linguistics, Language, Linguistic Analysis, Linguistics, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory and the Yearbook of Morphology.