Linguistics and Philosophy

, 33:513

Stanley Peters and Dag Westerståhl: Quantifiers in language and logic

OUP, New York, 2006, 528 pp
Review Article


Quantifiers in Language and Logic (QLL) is a major contribution to natural language semantics, specifically to quantification. It integrates the extensive recent work on quantifiers in logic and linguistics. It also presents new observations and results. QLL should help linguists understand the mathematical generalizations we can make about natural language quantification, and it should interest logicians by presenting an extensive array of quantifiers that lie beyond the pale of classical logic. Here we focus on those aspects of QLL we judge to be of specific interest to linguists, and we contribute a few musings of our own, as one mark of a worthy publication is whether it stimulates the reader to seek out new observations, and QLL does. QLL is long and fairly dense, so we make no attempt to cover all the points it makes. But QLL has a topic index, a special symbols index and two tables of contents, a detailed one and an overview one, all of which help make it user friendly. QLL is presented in four parts: I, “The Logical Conception of Quantifiers and Quantification” with an introductory section “Quantification”. II, “Quantifiers of Natural Language”, the most extensive section in the book and of the most direct interest to linguists. III, “Beginnings of a Theory of Expressiveness, Translation, and Formalization” introduces notions of expressive power and definability, and IV, presents recent work and techniques concerning quantifier definability over finite domains, making accessible to linguists recent work in finite model theory.


Quantifiers Logic Natural language Finite definability Expressive power Philosophy of language Generalized quantifiers 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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