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

Semantics and Pragmatics 9 (12) (2016)
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Abstract

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.

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Brian Rabern
University of Edinburgh

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