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Formal Semantics: Origins, Issues, Early Impact

Author(s): Barbara H. Partee

Journal: The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication
ISSN 1944-3676

Volume: 6;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Formal semantics and pragmatics as they have developed since the late 1960's have been shaped by fruitful interdisciplinary collaboration among linguists, philosophers, and logicians, among others, and in turn have had noticeable effects on developments in syntax, philosophy of language, computational linguistics, and cognitive science.In this paper I describe the environment in which formal semantics was born and took root, highlighting the differences in ways of thinking about natural language semantics in linguistics and in philosophy and logic. With Montague as a central but not solo player in the story, I reflect on crucial developments in the 1960's and 70's in linguistics and philosophy, and the growth of formal semantics and formal pragmatics from there. 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