The Cambridge Handbook of Formal Semantics

  title={The Cambridge Handbook of Formal Semantics},
  author={Maria Aloni and Paul J. E. Dekker},
Formal semantics – the scientific study of meaning in natural language – is one of the most fundamental and longest-established areas of linguistics. This handbook offers a comprehensive yet compact guide to the field, bringing together research from a wide range of world-leading experts. Chapters include coverage of the historical context and foundation of contemporary formal semantics, a survey of the variety of formal/logical approaches to linguistic meaning, and an overview of the major… 

Chapter 1 Number in natural language from a formal perspective

In this introduction, we provide a general overview of a variety of phenomena related to the encoding of the cognitive category of number in natural language, e.g., number-marking, collective nouns,

A lexicalist and word-based approach to the semantic composition of German and English clauses in the perfect

It is shown that the central facts of the interpretation of perfect sentences in German and English follow from the denotations proposed for past participles and perfect auxiliaries and their composition by standard semantic operations (functional application, λ-conversion).

Grammar in dialogue

This chapter portrays some phenomena, technical developments and discussions that are pertinent to analysing natural language use in face-to-face interaction from the perspective of HPSG and closely

The Psychological Representation of Modality

Correspondence Jonathan Phillips, Department of Psychology, Harvard University, William James Hall 1482, 33 Kirkland St., Cambridge, MA 02138. Email: A series of recent

Semantics and Pragmatics of Monkey Communication

Rich Titi sequences in which two calls are re-arranged in complex ways so as to reflect information about both predator identity and location are argued not to involve a complex syntax/semantics interface, but rather a fine-grained interaction between simple call meanings and the environmental context.

On (in)denite tense and aspect in Russian

The semantics of tense and aspect in natural language involves primitive relations such as temporal precedence, temporal inclusion etc. The arguments (times and events) that participate in these

Semantic Theories of Questions

  • F. Roelofsen
  • Philosophy
    Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics
  • 2019
This survey article discusses two basic issues that semantic theories of questions face. The first is how to conceptualize and formally represent the semantic content of questions. This issue arises

Modelling Language Standardization

In this chapter, I outline the development of some of the most widely used models of standardization and consider the extent to which they are able to account for the complexities of the

Deconstructing information structure

The paper argues that a core part of what is traditionally referred to as ‘ information structure’ can be deconstructed into genuine morphosyntactic features that are visible to syntactic operations,

Negative conjuncts and negative concord across the board

It is shown that the resulting analysis captures the negative-concord-like behavior of conjoined negative noun phrases even in a nonnegative concord language like Standard German.


A handbook like this would of course not have been possible without the help of the publisher, and we would like to thank especially Helen Barton for her continuous support during the lengthy process

  • Generative Grammar
  • 1998