Compositionality in Kaplan Style Semantics

Dag Westerståhl

in The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Compositionality in Kaplan Style Semantics


This article provides an introduction to Kaplan-style semantics. The formal semantics usually employs the notion of a model, which, besides supplying the sets utterance contexts, circumstances and a domain M0 of individuals, and also interprets the nonlogical atomic expressions of the language. Standard compositionality applies only to character: Funct (char) makes immediate sense, since character assigns a semantic value directly to expressions. For semantic functions taking contextual arguments, the notion of compositionality must be revised. Notions of contextual compositionality apply directly to the functional version of the setup that starts with the function char, and defines the other semantics from it. The point of evaluation semantics is indeed basic: if it is (weakly) compositional, so is the content semantics, and the character semantics.

Keywords: Kaplan-style semantics; formal semantics; standard compositionality; semantic functions; character semantics

Article.  12354 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Semantics

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