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Elements of Formal Semantics

Yoad Winter 
Edinburgh University Press, 2016 
   Chapters 1-3                       Amazon  EUP

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:
 I 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

From reviews:
 
A clear, readable, and most useful introduction to formal semantics of natural language—both the semantics part and the mathematical formulation.
    Edward L. Keenan, University of California, Los Angeles
      Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 16 Nov. 2017 - full review

A 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

Winter presents the semantics of language in a manner that shows that logic originates in language, and is not just "applied to language". This book can be treated as a modern continuation of Formal semantics and Logic by B. C. van Fraassen. Therefore, the current book is interesting to students of logic, especially undergraduates in mathematical logic, alongside students and researchers in linguistics.
    Ioachim Mihai Drugus, Academy of Sciences, Moldova 
      MathSciNet, 2018 - full review

Clear, 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 missed.
    Kjell Johan Sæbø, University of Oslo
      Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 23 Feb. 2017 - full review

Precise, 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

   

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Table of contents

All open access materials in one file  Chapters 1-3 Open Access

Errata  

Click on chapter to download PDF: 
  1 Introduction  Chapters 1-3 Open Access 

2 Meaning and Form  Chapters 1-3 Open Access 

3 Types and Meaning Composition Chapters 1-3 Open Access 
4 Noun Phrases and Quantifiers 

5 Long-Distance Meaning Relationships 
6 Intensionality and Possible Worlds
7Conclusion and further topics