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By Chris Cummins

This booklet considers how expressions concerning quantity are utilized by audio system and understood through hearers. A speaker's number of expression could be a advanced challenge even in really simple-looking domain names. on the subject of numerical expressions, there are usually many decisions that might be semantically applicable: for example, if 'more than 2 hundred' is right, then so is 'more than 199', 'more than 150', and 'more than 100', between others. A speaker doesn't choose from those ideas arbitrarily but in addition doesn't continually stick with any uncomplicated rule. The hearer is not only in what has been acknowledged but additionally in any longer inferences that may be drawn.

Chris Cummins bargains a collection of standards that separately effect the speaker's collection of expression. the method of selecting what to claim is then handled as an issue of a number of constraint pride. This method permits a number of various concerns, drawn from ideas of semantics, philosophy, psycholinguistics and the psychology of quantity, at the same time to be built-in inside of a unmarried coherent account. This constraint-based version deals novel predictions approximately utilization and interpretation which are borne out experimentally and in corpus study. It additionally explains complex info in numerical quantification that experience formerly been dealt with by way of extra stipulative capability, and provides a possible line of assault for addressing the matter of the speaker's selection in additional normal linguistic environments.

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Extra resources for Constraints on numerical expressions

Example text

The problem is that, in practice, ‘’ can also be interpreted as precise, so when a speaker intends to convey an approximate meaning, there is a danger that the precise interpretation is reached and the speaker is erroneously understood to be making a stronger claim than she intends to make.  PROPOSED CONSTRAINTS AND THEIR EMPIRICAL BASIS  also motivated by considerations of economy, I would argue that there is no important distinction here. However, an account of more general language usage founded on similar principles might be able to subsume the quantifier simplicity constraint under the more general heading of an economy constraint.

The constraint doesn’t scale well Still another problem with the direct approach to informativeness emerges when we consider the issue of scaling. For large numbers, approximations admit more distinct possibilities than for small numbers. For instance, ()a appears to be consistent with a much greater set of possible population values than ()b. () a. A million people live in the city. b. A hundred people live in the village. However, it seems counterintuitive to consider ()a much less informative than ()b on this basis.

E. whether there exists some group of  people who will be there). B’s response then answers these questions very directly, the former in the negative and the latter in the affirmative, because ‘more than ’ entails ‘not exactly ’ and the existence of a subset of cardinality . 13 As a generalization, then, we might suppose that reusing a specific numeral tends to have the effect of providing easily understood answers to the most relevant questions in the discourse. A similar story could be told for the case of quantifiers.

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