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date: 19 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The principle of compositionality (PC) states that the meaning of a complex expression e is determined by the meaning of its parts and how those parts are put together to form e. The Context Principle (X) states that the meaning of a word w can only be given in the context of a sentence in which w appears. X can roughly be related to PC if one takes a complex expression to be a sentence, and its parts to be the words in it. Compositionality is a constraint on transformations of the structures that yield what can be called meanings. There is a tradition in formal semantics of basing compositionally derived meanings on a “reality” external to the language users, employing model-assignment pairs (M, f) for this purpose.

Keywords: principle of compositionality, complex expression, Context Principle, formal semantics, natural language

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