This textbook introduces the foundational concepts, principles and techniques in formal semantics of natural
language. The book is intended for readers who have some elementary
background in set theory and linguistics, but does not assume any
expertise in logic, math, or theoretical linguistics. By way of
analyzing concrete English examples, the book brings central concepts
and tools to the forefront, calling attention to the beauty of the
mathematical principles underlying linguistic meanings.
From teachers who used this book:
haven’t seen the foundations of formal semantics explained more
clearly, more cleanly and more elegantly anywhere before.
Hans Kamp, University of Stuttgart and The University of Texas at Austin
This book offers a thorough grounding to beginners in formal semantics,
suitable for one-semester courses. It is pedagogically well-crafted,
with clear and detailed explanations and many exercises.
Lawrence S. Moss, Indiana University, Bloomington
A clear, readable, and most useful introduction to formal semantics of
natural language—both the semantics part and the mathematical
Edward L. Keenan, University of California, Los Angeles
Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 16 Nov. 2017 - full review
very versatile book, useful as a primary textbook, as a secondary
textbook for more advanced or formally inclined students, or as a
source of supplementary formal definitions and exercises. A great gift
to students who have formal backgrounds, in the way that Heim and
Kratzer’s Semantics in Generative Grammar
has been helpful to students who know linguistics. Teachers and
students will benefit from a careful balance of both approaches.
Jessica Rett, University of California, Los Angeles
Glossa, 20 Oct. 2016 - full review
precise, and friendly introduction to formal natural language semantics
for students with mathematical maturity. An excellent text for courses
on natural language meaning and related topics in computer science, artificial intelligence, or philosophy.
Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, National University of Singapore
Computational Linguistics, 26 Jan. 2017 - full review
There are topics that are treated more accurately and systematically here than
anywhere else. But as I see it, there are also topics and ways to treat
them that suffer, sometimes unnecessarily, and some chances that are
Kjell Johan Sæbø, University of Oslo
Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 23 Feb. 2017 - full review
clear, and admirably brief. While not too technical, it employs a
fairly high level of mathematical abstraction, and will probably be
tough going for students who are not accustomed to this. However,
it will be very informative and useful for those who are.
Daniel Lassiter, Stanford University
Journal of Linguistics, 15 Aug. 2017 - full review