Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The foregoing considerations support the conjecture that prototypes are semi-compositional in the sense that there exist unboundedly many combinations of nouns with non-exceptional adjectives, which satisfy the rule default-to-prototype (DP) and hence are compositional. Presumably there also exist unboundedly many combinations of nouns with exceptional adjectives, which violate DP and hence are non-compositional. An analysis of the connection between productivity (systematicity) and compositionality has been suggested by Robbins. He argues that, for the explanation of productivity, one need not assume that conceptual meanings (contents) always compose—it is enough that they compose in in(de)finitely many cases. Since semi-compositionality entails the existence of unboundedly many non-compositional cases, non-compositionality cannot be dealt away with a finite list of idiomatic exceptions, but is a genuine feature of prototype semantics in natural language.

Keywords: natural language, compositionality, default-to-prototype, semi-compositionality, natural language

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.