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Causation in Grammatical Structures$
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Bridget Copley and Fabienne Martin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672073

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672073.001.0001

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Formal semantics for causal constructions

Formal semantics for causal constructions

(p.58) 3 Formal semantics for causal constructions
Causation in Grammatical Structures

Richmond Thomason

Oxford University Press

Montague’s framework for semantic interpretation has always been less well adapted to the interpretation of words than that of syntactic constructions. In the late 1970s, David Dowty addressed this problem, concentrating on the interpretation of tense, aspect, inchoatives, and causatives in an extension of Montague’s Intensional Logic. This chapters seeks to revive this project, conceiving it as part of a larger task aiming at the interpretation of derivational morphology. An alternative to Dowty’s approach is suggested. This approach, while it does not provide a global interpretation of causality, seems to work well with a wide range of the causal constructions that are important in word formation.

Keywords:   formal semantics, logic, lexical semantics, causatives, agentivity

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