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Explaining SyntaxRepresentations, Structures, and Computation$
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Peter W. Culicover

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660230

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660230.001.0001

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On the derivation of sentences with systematically unspecifiable interpretations


(p.14) (p.15) 2 OM-sentences
Explaining Syntax

Peter W. Culicover

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the form and interpretation of ‘OM-sentences’ such as One more can of beer and I’m leaving. It shows that such a sentence admits three ‘interpretations’, which are very closely related to more commonly encountered constructions, including conditionals. However, there are aspects of the interpretation of such a sentence which are systematically unspecifiable. These sentences should not be derived from more complex underlying structures, but they are in fact underlain by structures characterizable by the phrase structure rule: S→ NP CONJ S. To complete the analysis, the chapter shows how rules of semantic interpretation may be devised which capture the similarities between sentences like this one and other constructions in a very natural way.

Keywords:   syntax, semantic interpretation, syntactic structure, phrase structure

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