On the general character of semantic theory (Part a)

(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)

The Scope of Semantics

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.

A note on expanded feature typologies

It is very much in vogue today to assume that features in the lexicon can freely vary along two dimensions: interpretability and value (Pesetsky and Torrego 2007). This gives us four possible forms of syntactic features shown below.(1) The typology of Formal Features Interpretable?YNValued?YiF:valuF:valNiF:__uF:__This is in contrast to a more traditional view, that of Chomsky, … Continue reading A note on expanded feature typologies