Dual Content Semantics, privative adjectives, and dynamic compositionality

Guillermo Del Pinal


This paper defends the view that common nouns have a dual semantic structure that includes extension-determining and non-extension-determining components. I argue that the non-extension-determining components are part of linguistic meaning because they play a key compositional role in certain constructions, especially in privative noun phrases such as fake gun and counterfeit document. Furthermore, I show that if we modify the compositional interpretation rules in certain simple ways, this dual content account of noun phrase modification can be implemented in a type-driven formal semantic framework. In addition, I also argue against traditional accounts of privative noun phrases which can be paired with the assumption that nouns do not have a dual semantic structure. At the most general level, this paper presents a proposal for how we can begin to integrate a psychologically realistic account of lexical semantics with a linguistically plausible compositional semantic framework.


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compositionality; conceptual content; lexical semantics; lexical decomposition; atomism; privative adjectives; modification

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/sp.8.7

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

ISSN: 1937-8912

Journal doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/sp