Compositionality and The Context Principle

Gabriel Sandu

in The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Compositionality and The Context Principle


Hodges' Extension Theorem is perfectly designed for the kind of extension problem of principle of compositionality, which arises in the so-called IF languages. These languages satisfy the conditions of the application of the Extension Theorem. They are extensions of standard first-order languages closed under atomic and negations of atomic formulas and disjunctions and conjunctions of IF-formulas. Hodges' extension theorem shows that when certain conditions are satisfied, a language has a unique (total) compositional interpretation, which agrees with the initially given partial one. Accordingly, any two such compositional interpretations must be formally equivalent. Kaplan separates the indices, which contribute to the semantic value of a sentence into those that make the context of utterance, and those that constitute the circumstances of evaluation. The former determine what is said and the latter determine whether what is said is true or false.

Keywords: Hodges' extension theorem; semantic value; contextual coordinates; compositional interpretations; principle of compositionality

Article.  7307 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Semantics ; Pragmatics

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