Journal of Logic, Language and Information

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 273–300 | Cite as

Nominal comparatives and Generalized Quantifiers

  • John Nerbonne


This work adopts the perspective of plural logic and measurement theory in order first to focus on the microstructure of comparative determiners; and second, to derive the properties of comparative determiners as these are studied in Generalized Quantifier Theory, locus of the most sophisticated semantic analysis of natural language determiners. The work here appears to be the first to examine comparatives within plural logic, a step which appears necessary, but which also harbors specific analytical problems examined here.

Since nominal comparatives involve plural and mass reference, we begin with a domain of discourse upon which a lattice structure (Link's) is imposed, and which maps (via abstract dimensions such asweight in kilograms) to concrete measures (in N,R+). The mapping must be homomorphic and Archimedean. Comparisons begin as simple predicates on dimensions or measures; from these we derive classes of predicates on the domain, i.e., generalized determiners (quantifiers), and show, e.g., how monotonicity properties follow in the derivation. This results in a proposal for a logical language which includes derived determiners, and which is an attractive target for semantics interpretation; it also turns out that some interesting comparative determiners are first order, at least when restricted to nonparametric and noncollective predications.

Key words

Natural language semantics quantifiers comparatives plural logic 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Nerbonne
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the Behavioral and Cognitive NeurosciencesRijksuniversiteit GroningenAS GrongingenThe Netherlands

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