The Expressive Power of Restricted Fragments of English

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Taking the notion of expressive power of a language to mean its ability to distinguish different situations, we define four simple fragments of English based on the syntactic constructions they contain, and characterise their expressive power via translation into first-order logic. We also describe the circumstances under which an arbitrary first-order formula can be translated back into an English sentence of each fragment. This work is an extension of the semantic complexity results of Pratt-Hartmann [2] and Pratt-Hartmann [3].