Adverbs of Causation

  • M. J. Cresswell
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 28)


Some logicians, and some linguists, too, have appeared to disparage word-semantics, or at least have described it as lexicography rather than semantics.1 It should be obvious, however, that even if one’s aim is the construction of a general framework for semantic theory, such a framework can only be justified if it can be applied to actual sentences of natural language; and that means to actual words of natural language. In some cases it is unnecessary to consider more than a few words in a given class. for instance, if we have an adequate semantics for Arebella we should not expect to have to agonize over Bramwell, Catherine, Dean, Evangeline, Fred, Guinevere, Howard, Isolde, Jeremy, Kiri, Ludwig, Miriam, Nathaniel, Olga, Percival, Quilla, Ralf, Stephanie, Trevor, Ursula, Vernon, Wilhelmina, Xerxes, Yvonne, or Zane. But one class of words where it does seem necessary to consider many examples is the class of adverbs. Maybe this shows that adverbs do not form a genuine semantic class, but if so, then that gives even more reason for looking at many examples. Semantically, and also syntactically, as far as I can judge, adverbs seem the least understood large class of words in natural language. There have been few studies of their semantics at all, and those that there have been are at least superficially pretty divergent.2


Spatial Index Prepositional Phrase Sentential Modifier Predicate Modifier Word Semantic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© W. de Gruyter, Berlin 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Cresswell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyVictoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand

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