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Constraints on Numerical Expressions - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Constraints on Numerical Expressions

Chris Cummins


How does a speaker decide what to say? This can be a complex problem even in relatively simple-looking domains. In the case of numerical expressions, there are often many choices that would be semantically acceptable: if ‘more than 200’ is true, then so are ‘more than 199’, ‘more than 150’, ‘more than 100’, and so on. Intuitively, as speakers, we don’t choose among these options just arbitrarily; but nor do we consistently follow any simple heuristic. And as hearers, we’re not just interested in what the speaker literally said, but also any inferences we can draw about, for instance, the falsi ... More

Keywords: semantics, pragmatics, constraint, numerical expression, psychology of number, usage, interpretation

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199687909
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687909.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Chris Cummins, author
University of Edinburgh