On the Proper Treatment of Context in Natural Language

Jan van Eijck (CWI)


The proper treatment of quantification in Natural Language proposed by
Richard Montague some thirty years does not do proper justice to the
fact that interpretation of texts both uses context and sets up new
contexts. The dynamic turn in NL semantics is the attempt to model
this basic fact.  We will argue that the use of dynamically quantified
variables constitutes an undesirable element in this attempt, and we
will point the way to a proper treatment of context in natural
language by extending a variable-free `incremental dynamics' with a
flexible system of type scheme patterns and type scheme pattern
matching. The result is a Montague style architecture for NL semantics
that provides a proper treatment both of quantification and of context
use and context change.