Semantic Types, Lexical Sorts and Classifiers

Bruno Mery, Christian Retoré

We propose a cognitively and linguistically motivated set of sorts for lexical semantics in a compositional setting: the classifiers in languages that do have such pronouns. These sorts are needed to include lexical considerations in a semantical analyser such as Boxer or Grail. Indeed, all proposed lexical extensions of usual Montague semantics to model restriction of selection, felicitous and infelicitous copredication require a rich and refined type system whose base types are the lexical sorts, the basis of the many-sorted logic in which semantical representations of sentences are stated. However, none of those approaches define precisely the actual base types or sorts to be used in the lexicon. In this article, we shall discuss some of the options commonly adopted by researchers in formal lexical semantics, and defend the view that classifiers in the languages which have such pronouns are an appealing solution, both linguistically and cognitively motivated.

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