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The history of the use of ⟦.⟧-notation in natural language semantics

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    Rights statement: © 2016 Brian Rabern This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

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Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalSemantics and Pragmatics
Issue number12
Early online date1 Jan 2016
StatePublished - 2016


In contemporary natural languages semantics one will often see the use of special brackets to enclose a linguistic expression, e.g. ⟦carrot⟧. These brackets---so-called denotation brackets or semantic evaluation brackets---stand for a function that maps a linguistic expression to its "denotation" or semantic value (perhaps relative to a model or other parameters). Even though this notation has been used in one form or another since the early development of natural language semantics in the 1960s and 1970s, Montague himself didn't make use of this notation in his series of groundbreaking papers on semantics. That raises the question: When was the ⟦.⟧-notation introduced to semantics? This note answers that question.

    Research areas

  • denotation brackets, semantic notation

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