Glue TAG semantics for binary branching syntactic structures

Burke, Luke Edward (2016) Glue TAG semantics for binary branching syntactic structures. MPhil thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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This thesis presents Gl-TAG, a new semantics for a fragment of natural language including simple in/transitive sentences with quantifiers. Gl-TAG utilises glue semantics, a proof-theoretic semantics based on linear logic, and TAG, a tree-based syntactic theory. We demonstrate that Gl-TAG is compositional, and bears interesting similarities to other approaches to the semantics of quantifiers. Chapter 1, rather than discussing the arguments of the thesis as a whole, outlines the global picture of language and semantic theory we adopt, introducing different semantics for quantification, so that Gl-TAG is understood in the proper context. Chapter 2, the heart of the thesis, introduces Gl-TAG, illustrating its application to quantifier scope ambiguity (Qscope ambiguity) and binding. Ways of constricting quantifier scope where necessary are suggested, but their full development is a topic of future research. Chapter 3 demonstrates that our semantics is compositional in certain formal senses there distinguished. Our account of quantification bears striking similarities to that proposed in Heim and Kratzer (1998), and also to Cooper storage (Cooper ((1983))); in fact, we can set up a form of Cooper storage within Gl-TAG. We suggest in conclusion that the features in common between frameworks highlight the possible formal similarities between the approaches. One philosophically interesting aspect of our semantics left aside is that it depends on proof theoretic methods; glue semantics combines semantic values both by harnessing the inferential power of linear logic and by exploiting the Curry-Howard isomorphism (CHI) familiar from proof theory (see chapter 2 for a brief explanation of the CHI). The semantic value of a proposition is thus a proof, as some proof theorists have desired (see Martin-Lof (1996). This raises a question for future research; namely, whether Gl-TAG is an inferential semantics in the sense that some philosophers have discussed (Murzi and Steinberger (2015)).

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Additional Information: Date of MPhil award confirmed as 2016 by registry
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2016 15:11
Last Modified: 12 May 2016 09:47

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