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Content vs. function words: the view from distributional semantics

Abstract : Counter to the often assumed division of labour between content and function words,we argue that both types of words have lexical content in addition to their logical content. Wepropose that the difference between the two types of words is a difference in degree. We conducteda preliminary study of quantificational determiners with methods from DistributionalSemantics, a computational approach to natural language semantics. Our findings have implicationsboth for distributional and formal semantics. For distributional semantics, they indicatea possible avenue that can be used to tap into the meaning of function words. For formal semantics,they bring into light the context-sensitive, lexical aspects of function words that canbe recovered from the data even when these aspects are not overtly marked. Such pervasivecontext-sensitivity has profound implications for how we think about meaning in natural language.Keywords: function words, lexical semantics, determiners, distributional semantics.
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https://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ijn_03247051
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 5:40:10 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 10:00:32 AM

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Márta Abrusán, Nicholas Asher, Tim van de Cruys. Content vs. function words: the view from distributional semantics. ZAS Papers in Linguistics (ZASPiL), Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS) 2018, Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 22, 1, 60, pp.1-21. ⟨10.21248/zaspil.60.2018.451⟩. ⟨ijn_03247051⟩

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