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A Semantic Analysis of Reference to Spatial Properties

Norman K. Sondheimer
Linguistics and Philosophy
Vol. 2, No. 2 (1978), pp. 235-280
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25000985
Page Count: 46
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A Semantic Analysis of Reference to Spatial Properties
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Abstract

A uniform analysis is offered for the source of the locations specified by all references in English to spatial properties including location and movement. This source is argued to be the location of events and states of affairs. These locations are specified by sets showing spaces momentarily occupied. Descriptions of motion are accounted for through a variety of ways of referencing these sets. Some classes of simple clauses are identified as requiring semantic analysis involving multiple events and states of affairs. This importantly allows spatial references to be associated with different events and states of affairs. Identification of object location is accounted for by use of extra inference rules or meaning postulates. A number of other explanations are suggested for more limited and derivative phenomena. The analysis is developed within a Case-like notation presented in the first-order predicate calculus. It is supported by an extensive analysis of spatial reference phenomena and by identification of ancillary benefits.

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