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By Paul Portner, Barbara H. Partee

"Formal Semantics: the basic Readings" is a suite of seminal papers that experience formed the sphere of formal semantics in linguistics.

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Additional resources for Formal Semantics: The Essential Readings

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Quine, Willard Van Orman. 1960. Word and Object. : MIT Press. 2 A Unified Analysis of the English Bare Plural Greg N. Carlson ABSTRACT. It is argued that the English ``bare plural'' (an NP with plural head that lacks a determiner), in spite of its apparently diverse possibilities of interpretation, is optimally represented in the grammar as a unified phenomenon. The chief distinction to be dealt with is that between the ``generic'' use of the bare plural (as in ``Dogs bark'') and its existential or ``indefinite plural'' use (as in ``He threw oranges at Alice'').

We regard e and t as the categories of entity expressions (or individual expressions) and truth value expressions (or declarative sentences) respectively. We shall regard the categories A=B and A==B as playing the same semantical but different syntactical roles. An expression of either category is to be such that when it is combined (in some as yet unspecified way, and indeed in different ways for the two categories) with an expression of category B, an expression of category A is produced. ) It will be observed that our syntactic categories diverge from those of Ajdukiewicz (1960) only in our introduction of two compound categories (A=B and A==B) where Ajdukiewicz would have had just one.

The plural cannot have narrower scope than is possible for the singular, and this is different from the previous examples, where plurality seemed to restrict the fNP to a subset of the possibilities already present in the singular. A similar phenomenon is seen in the difference perceived between (31) and (32), which serves to raise yet another difficulty for the hypothesis under consideration. (31) An accident happened today at 3, 4:30, and 6. (32) Accidents happened today at 3, 4:30, and 6. In (31), we are asked to imagine a recurring accident, one which happens three times on the same day.

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