- Measurement theory in linguistics
- Volume | Issue number
- 174 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Interfacultary Research Institutes
- Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)
This paper presents a novel semantic analysis of unit names (like pound and meter) and gradable adjectives (like tall, short and happy), inspired by measurement theory (Krantz et al. In Foundations of measurement: Additive and Polynomial Representations, 1971). Based on measurement theory’s four-way typology of measures, I claim that different adjectives are associated with different types of measures whose special characteristics, together with features of the relations denoted by unit names, explain the puzzling limited distribution of measure phrases, as well as unit-based comparisons between predicates (as in the table is longer than it is wide). All considered, my analyses support the view that the grammar of natural languages is sensitive to features of measurement theory.
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