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The Meaning of More$
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Alexis Wellwood

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804659.001.0001

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The limiting theory

The limiting theory

Chapter:
(p.157) 8 The limiting theory
Source:
The Meaning of More
Author(s):

Alexis Wellwood

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198804659.003.0008

This chapter considers how the compositional theory argued for in the preceding chapters might apply to a variety of additional cases where a lexical, degree-theoretic semantics has been proposed. For example, the analysis of attitude verbs like “to want”, nouns like “idiot”, and verbs like “to cool”. The chapter suggests that, rather than diagnosing scalar structure, the kinds of data motivating lexical degree-theoretic interpretation here should be understood as diagnostic of order-theoretic properties on the relevant expression’s domain of predication. Supporting the idea of a general recipe for how such cases should be addressed, the chapter raises theoretical questions like the following: do any lexical categories natively have a degree semantics? When is a degree-theoretic treatment appropriate? Should there be morphosyntactic requirements (e.g., overt or covert “much”) for an interpretation based on degrees, or not? What alternative analyses of extant cases are available?

Keywords:   degree semantics, context-dependence, structure preservation, gradable attitudes, degree achievement, gradable noun, diagnostics, language variation

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