• Marcus KrachtEmail author
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 89)


This chapter provides an introduction into the key concepts and motivates the detailed analyses to come. Starting with the idea that languages are relations between form and meaning it is demonstrated that this leads directly to the bottom-up view of grammar as given by Montague. The Principle of Independence is formulated and shown to lead to two well-known concepts in linguistics: that of compositionality and that of the autonomy of syntax. The discussion then turns to the nature of languages as relations. As will be shown in subsequent chapters, languages are inherently many-to-many relations. In particular, expressions can have very many meanings with no possibility to unite them into a single one. Ambiguity is therefore inherent in natural languages.


de Saussure Principle of Independence Autonomy of Syntax Compositionality 


  1. Benaceraff, Paul. 1973. “Mathematical Truth.” Journal of Philosophy 70:661–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dixon, Robert M.W. 1994. Ergativity. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics, vol. 69. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Saussure, Ferdinand de. 2006. Writings in General Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany

Personalised recommendations