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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Semantics is the discipline that studies linguistic meaning generally, and the qualification ‘formal’ indicates something about the sorts of techniques used in investigating linguistic meaning. More specifically, formal semantics is the discipline that employs techniques from symbolic logic, mathematics, and mathematical logic to produce precisely characterized theories of meaning for natural languages (i.e. naturally occurring languages such as English, Urdu, etc.) or artificial languages (i.e. first-order predicate logic, computer programming languages etc.). Formal semantics as we know it first arose in the twentieth century. It was made possible by certain developments in logic during that period. This article chronicles those developments and how they led to the development of formal semantics.

Keywords: linguistic meaning, semantics, symbolic logic, mathematical logic, natural language, computer programming

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