Semantics as Science
An introductory linguistics textbook that takes a novel approach: studying linguistic semantics as an exercise in scientific theory construction.
This introductory linguistics text takes a novel approach, one that offers educational value to both linguistics majors and nonmajors. Aiming to help students not only grasp the fundamentals of the subject but also engage with broad intellectual issues and develop general intellectual skills, Semantics as Science studies linguistic semantics as an exercise in scientific theory construction. Semantics offers an excellent medium through which to acquaint students with the notion of a formal, axiomatic system—that is, a system that derives results from a precisely articulated set of assumptions according to a precisely articulated set of rules.
The book develops semantic theory through the device of axiomatic T-theories, first proposed by Alfred Tarski more than eighty years ago, introducing technical elaboration only when required. It adopts Japanese as its core object of study, allowing students to explore and investigate the real empirical issues arising in the context of non-English structures, a non-English lexicon and non-English meanings. The book is structured as a laboratory science text that poses specific empirical questions, with 25 short units, each of which can be covered in one class session. The layout is engagingly visual, designed to help students understand and retain the material, with lively illustrations, examples, and quotations from famous scholars.