A note on the absence of XOR in natural language

Roni Katzir, Raj Singh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The standard approach to quantification leaves several choice points in attempts to apply it to the semantics of natural language. In this paper, we tentatively propose an approach to natural language operators where many of the choice points of more standard approaches are determined in a principled way. In contrast with the classical approach, we suggest that orderings are more fundamental than truth. We exploit this in proposing a constraint on lexicalization that is consistent with only those operators that come with existential import, that are conservative, and that, when extended to three-values, generate a Strong Kleene system. Operators like *nall, *XOR, and other well-known gaps are ruled out by the constraint. The use of orderings also provides a new perspective on negation and duality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPresuppositions and Implicatures
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the MIT-Paris Workshop
EditorsPaul Égré, Giorgio Magri
Place of PublicationCambridge
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)2000319169342
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

NameMIT Working Papers in Linguistics
PublisherDepartment of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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