Adjectives in a Modern Type-Theoretical Setting

  • Stergios Chatzikyriakidis
  • Zhaohui Luo
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8036)


In this paper we discuss the semantics of adjectives from the perspective of a Modern Type Theory (MTT) with an adequate subtyping mechanism. In an MTT, common nouns (CNs) can be interpreted as types and, in particular, CNs modified by intersective and subsective adjectives can be given semantics by means of Σ-types. However, an interpretation of CNs as types would not be viable without a proper notion of subtyping which, as we explain, is given by coercive subtyping, an adequate notion of subtyping for MTTs. It is also shown that suitable uses of universes are one of the key ingredients that have made such an analysis adequate. Privative and non-committal adjectives require different treatments than the use of Σ-types. We propose to deal with privative adjectives using the disjoint union type while non-committal adjectives by making use of the type-theoretical notion of context, as used by Ranta [27] to approximate the model-theoretic notion of a possible world. Our approach to adjectives has a number of advantages over those proposed within the Montagovian setting, one of which is that the inferences related with the adjectives arise via typing and not by some kind of extra semantic meaning in the form of a meaning postulate.


Type Theory Formal Semantic Common Noun Subtyping Relation Belief Context 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stergios Chatzikyriakidis
    • 1
  • Zhaohui Luo
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Computer Science, Royal HollowayUniv. of LondonEghamU.K.

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