Journal of Logic, Language and Information

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 233–265 | Cite as

Comparison Across Domains in Delineation Semantics

  • Heather BurnettEmail author


This paper presents a new logical analysis of quantity comparatives (i.e. More linguists than philosophers came to the party.) within the Delineation Semantics approach to gradability and comparison (McConnell-Ginet in Comparison constructions in English. PhD thesis, University of Rochester, Rochester, 1973; Kamp in Formal semantics of natural language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1975; Klein in Linguist Philos 4:1–45, 1980) among many others. Along with the Degree Semantics framework (Cresswell in Montague grammar. Academic Press, New York, 1976; von Stechow in J Semant 3:1–77, 1984; Kennedy in Projecting the adjective. PhD thesis. University of California, Santa Cruz, 1997, among many others) Delineation Semantics is one of the dominant logical frameworks for analyzing the meaning of gradable constituents of the adjectival syntactic category; however, there has been very little work done investigating the application of this framework to the analysis of gradability outside the adjectival domain. This state of affairs distinguishes the Delineation Semantics framework from its Degree Semantics counterpart, where such questions have been investigated in great deal since the beginning of the twenty-first century. Nevertheless, it has been observed [for example, by Doetjes (Seventeenth amsterdam colloquium. University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 2011); van Rooij (The vagueness handbook. Springer, Dordrecht, 2011c)] that there is nothing inherently adjectival about the way that the interpretations of scalar predicates are calculated in Delineation Semantics, and therefore that there is enormous potential for this approach to shed light on the nature of gradability and comparison in the nominal and verbal domains. This paper is a first contribution to realizing this potential within a Mereological extension of a simple version of the DelS system.


Delineation semantics Mereology Comparatives  Plurality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS/CLLE-ERSS/Institut Jean NicodUniversité de Toulouse 2/ENSParisFrance

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