If semantics is the study of meaning, and meaning is reference, then how can there be any measure of the success of semantics that isn't a measure of it understanding of what reference is?
The first half of chapter 2 was concerned with the broader theory of language, rather than a semantic theory. In the second half of the chapter, Katz begins his sketch of the theory of semantics. It's at this point that I pick up my review.
I've long been uncomfortable with the fact that US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) operates in major Canadian airports like Toronto Pearson. I don't recall when it occurred to me that the idea of USCBP operating within Canada was odd, but I haven't been able to shake the idea. Certainly, USCBP didn't endear themselves to … Continue reading Should USCBP be operating in Canadian airports?
It's been a little while since I've blogged here, and that's because, for the past few weeks, I've been preparing for an event that occurred yesterday---I successfully defended my dissertation Explaining the resultative parameter. Better acknowledgements are coming, but for now I want to thank everyone who had a hand in this achievement, from my … Continue reading A bit of personal news
(AKA Katz's Semantic Theory (Part IIIa). This post discusses chapter 2 of Jerrold Katz's 1972 opus. For my discussion of chapter 1, go here.) Having delineated in chapter 1 which questions a semantic theory ought to answer, Katz goes on in chapter 2 to sketch the sort of answer that a such a theory would give. … Continue reading On the general character of semantic theory (Part a)
If you've taken a semantics course in the past decade or two, or read an introductory textbook on the topic published in that time span, you probably encountered, likely at the outset, the question What is meaning? followed almost immediately with a fairly pat answer. In my experience, the answer given to that question was reference1---the meaning of an expression, say dog, is the set of things in the world that that expression refers to, the set of all dogs in this case.
(This is intended to be the first in a series of posts in which I work my way through Semantic Theory by Jerrold Katz) Through a somewhat meandering intellectual journey that I undertook when I probably should have been writing, I found myself reading the late Jerrold J Katz's 1972 book entitled Semantic Theory. While … Continue reading Katz’s Semantic Theory (Part I)
(Note: Unlike my previous posts, this one is not aimed at a general audience. this one’s for linguists) As a generative linguist, I like to think of myself as a scientist. Certainly, my field is not as mature and developed as physics, chemistry, and biology, but my fellow linguists and I approach language and its … Continue reading Instrumentalism in Linguistics
Over at Psychology Today, Vyv Evans, cognitive linguist and UG critic, has written a piece criticizing generative linguistics, and those who defend its practice. In particular he criticizes what he sees as the shape-shifting nature of UG. I don’t want to address the substance of Evans’ piece, but rather a rhetorical choice he makes, specifically, … Continue reading Tarring Universal Grammar with the Brexit brush
As I write this I am sitting in the Linguistics Department lounge at the University of Toronto. Grad students and Post-doctoral researchers are working, chatting, making coffee. Faculty members pop in every now and then, taking breaks from their work. It’s a vibrant department, full of researchers with varied skills and interests. There are those … Continue reading Don’t believe the rumours. Universal Grammar is alive and well.