© 2018

The Semantics of Gradability, Vagueness, and Scale Structure

Experimental Perspectives

  • Elena Castroviejo
  • Louise McNally
  • Galit Weidman Sassoon


  • Includes pioneering studies of the online processing of various aspects of adjectival semantics

  • Provides new quantitative evidence concerning hypotheses from formal semantic theories

  • Promotes the interaction between researchers in linguistics, psycholinguistics, psychology and philosophy on the semantics of natural language


Part of the Language, Cognition, and Mind book series (LCAM, volume 4)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Elena Castroviejo, Louise McNally, Galit W. Sassoon
    Pages 1-24
  3. Petra B. Schumacher, Patrick Brandt, Hanna Weiland-Breckle
    Pages 93-111
  4. Hanna de Vries
    Pages 113-147
  5. Steven Verheyen, Gert Storms
    Pages 149-167
  6. Helena Aparicio, Christopher Kennedy, Ming Xiang
    Pages 199-220
  7. Daniel Tucker, Barbara Tomaszewicz, Alexis Wellwood
    Pages 243-273
  8. Rick Nouwen, Jakub Dotlačil
    Pages 275-293

About this book


This volume is the first to focus specifically on experimental studies of the semantics of gradability, scale structure and vagueness. It presents support for and challenges to current formal analyses of these phenomena in view of experimentally collected data, highlighting the ways semantic and pragmatic theory can benefit from experimental methodologies. The papers in the volume contribute to an explicit and detailed account of the use, representation, and online processing of gradable and vague expressions using various kinds of controlled speaker judgment tasks, eye tracking, and ERP. The aim is to strengthen the foundations of experimental semantics and promote interaction between linguists, psycholinguists, psychologists, and philosophers who are interested in the semantics of natural language. Using data representing different languages and a variety of nominal and adjectival constructions, including degree modification and comparatives, the contributions address scale-based classifications of gradable predicates, such as the absolute vs. relative distinction; the nature of the standards for applicability of gradable expressions and the ways in which standards are determined; the nature of dimensions and multidimensionality in the meaning of scalar expressions; and the role of embodiment, subjectivity, and sociolinguistic considerations in the use and understanding of gradable expressions.


Relative / absolute adjectives Degree modifier Comparative construction Experimental semantics Gradable adjectives Gradable nouns linguistic and conceptual structure

Editors and affiliations

  • Elena Castroviejo
    • 1
  • Louise McNally
    • 2
  • Galit Weidman Sassoon
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and Basque StudiesUniversity of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)Vitoria-GasteizSpain
  2. 2.Department of Translation and Language SciencesUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of English Literature and LinguisticsBar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Semantics of Gradability, Vagueness, and Scale Structure
  • Book Subtitle Experimental Perspectives
  • Editors Elena Castroviejo
    Louise McNally
    Galit Weidman Sassoon
  • Series Title Language, Cognition, and Mind
  • Series Abbreviated Title Language, Cognition, and Mind
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-77790-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-08541-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-77791-7
  • Series ISSN 2364-4109
  • Series E-ISSN 2364-4117
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VI, 293
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Semantics
    Cognitive Psychology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site