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dc.contributor.advisorKlein, Ewan
dc.contributor.advisorOberlander, Jon
dc.contributor.authorFlieger, Johannes C.
dc.date.accessioned2010-10-18T14:34:20Z
dc.date.available2010-10-18T14:34:20Z
dc.date.issued2009
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/3995
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation develops a semantic model of gradable adjectives such as ‘tall’, ‘good’, ‘big’, ‘heavy’, etc., within a formal semantic theory of locatives we call Locative Structure Semantics (LSS). Our central hypothesis is that gradable adjectives are, semantically, a species of locative expression. The view of gradable adjectives as locatives is inspired by the vector-based semantic models of Vector Space Semantics (VSS), as well as the notion of perspective or point of view, as found in Leonard Talmy’s research on spatial expressions (Talmy [153]) and the tradition of Situation Semantics (cf. Barwise and Perry [9, p. 39]). Following Barwise and Seligman [11], we construe the contextual variability that characterises gradable adjectives in terms of shifts in cognitive perspective. We argue that perspectives are a formal part of a semantic representational structure that is shared by expressions from several different domains, which we refer to as a locative structure (L-structure). The notion of an L-structure is influenced by Reichenbach’s notion of tense, and can be thought of as a generalisation of the Reichenbachian notion of tense to the realm of concepts. Reichenbach [134] proposed that each temporal expression is associated with three time points: a speech point, S, an event point, E, and reference point, R, where E refers to the time point corresponding to the event described by the tensed clause, S is (usually) taken to be the speaker’s time of utterance, and R is a temporal reference point relevant to the utterance. In LSS we extend this tripartite scheme to locative expressions in general, to which we assign a ternary structure comprising a Perspective, a Figure, and a Ground, represented symbolically as P, F, and G, and which are generalisations of the Reichenbachian S, E, and R, respectively. We show that a formal semantics based on L-structures enables us to capture important crosscategorial similarities between gradable adjectives, tenses, and spatial prepositions.en
dc.contributor.sponsorEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.subjectlocative structure semanticsen
dc.subjectgradable adjectivesen
dc.subjectvector space semanticsen
dc.subjectlocative structureen
dc.subjectL-structureen
dc.titleGradable adjectives and the semantics of locativesen
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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