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Unformatted text preview: 1 The Proper Treatment of Quantification in Ordinary English Richard Montague The aim of this paper is to present in a rigorous way the syntax and semantics of a certain fragment of a certain dialect of English. For expository purposes the fragment has been made as simple and restricted as it can be while accommodating all the more puzzling cases of quantification and reference with which I am acquainted. 1 PatrickSuppesclaims,inapaperpreparedforthepresentworkshop[the1970Stanford WorkshoponGrammarandSemantics],that``atthepresenttimethesemanticsofnatural languages are less satisfactorily formulated than the grammars [and] a complete grammar for any significant fragment of natural language is yet to be written.'' This claim would of course be accurate if restricted in its application to the attempts emanating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but fails to take into account the syntactic and semantic treatments proposed in Montague (1970a, b). Thus the present paper cannot claim to present the first complete syntax (or grammar, in Suppes' termin- ology) and semantics for a significant fragment of natural language; and it is perhaps not inappropriate to sketch relations between the earlier proposals and the one given below. Montague (1970b) contains a general theory of languages, their interpretations, and the inducing of interpretations by translation. The treatment given below, as well as that in Montague (1970a) and the treatment of a fragment of English proposed at the end of Montague (1970b), can all easily be construed as special cases of that general theory. The fragment in Montague (1970a) was considerably more restricted in scope than those in Montague (1970b) or the present paper, in that although it admitted indirect discourse, it failed to accommodate a number of more complex intensional locutions, for instance, those involving intensional verbs (that is, verbs like seeks, worships, conceives ). The fragment in Montague (1970b) did indeed include intensional verbs but excluded certain intensional locutions involving pronouns (for instance, the sentence John wishes to catch a fish and eat it , to which a number of linguists have recently drawn attention). The present treatment is capable of accounting for such examples, as well as a number of other heretofore unattempted puzzles, for instance, Professor Partee's the temperature is ninety but it is rising and the problem of intensional prepositions. On the other hand, the present treatment, unlike that in Montague (1970b), will not directly accom- modate such sentences as J. M. E. Moravcsik's a unicorn appears to be approaching , in which an indefinite term in subject position would have a nonreferential reading, but must treat them indirectly as paraphrases (of, in this case, it appears that a unicorn is approaching or that a unicorn is approaching appears to be true )....
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- Spring '08