Semantic Monadicity with Conceptual Polyadicity

Paul M. Pietroski

in The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199541072
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Semantic Monadicity with Conceptual Polyadicity


Many concepts, which can be constituents of thoughts, are somehow indicated with words that can be constituents of sentences. But this assumption is compatible with many hypotheses about the concepts lexicalized, linguistic meanings, and the relevant forms of composition. The lexical items simply label the concepts they lexicalize, and that composition of lexical meanings mirrors composition of the labeled concepts, which exhibit diverse adicities. If a phrase must be understood as an instruction to conjoin monadic concepts that correspond to the constituents, lexicalization must be a process in which non-monadic concepts are used to introduce monadic analogues. But given such analogues, along with some thematic concepts, conjunctions can mimic the effect of saturating polyadic concepts. The lexical items efface conceptual adicity distinctions, making it possible to treat a recursive combination of expressions as a sign of monadic predicate conjunction.

Keywords: lexical items; monadic concepts; lexicalization; non-monadic concepts; thematic concepts

Article.  9237 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Semantics

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