Specializations > Semantics and Pragmatics

An Introductory text on Montague Semantics (Grammar)


Could anyone suggest a good introductory text on montague grammar? I tried Dowty's- found it very hard for a beginner.Many thanks in advance

Montague grammar is an advanced approach to formal semantics similar to other approaches. So you might want to first start with an introductory textbook to formal semantics in general (personally I've used Semantics by Kate Kearns: it's useful if you can find it, though I believe it's out of print now). And then after that you can move into more advanced versions of formal notation like that. An "introductory" textbook to Montague grammar probably still assumes some general background in predicate logic, logical quantifiers, etc. On the other hand, these textbooks are typically meant to be used in a classroom with an instructor as guide. They're not easy (or necessarily intuitive) topics, in the same way that you might not do too well reading a chemistry or calculus textbook on your own. That said, these systems are designed to be consistent and logical, so in principle you should be able to figure it out in the same way you could work out calculus on your own (and in principle you could mix references to some extent, unlike say syntax textbooks), but it may be a challenge. Maybe some random youtube videos could help if you find relevant topics? There may be some translation of specific notation necessary but the concepts should be relatively standard.

I have reasonably good  knowledge in predicate calculus,would it suffice to learn montague grammar

Well, I guess it just depends on how strong your foundation is and how comfortable you feel learning the new material on your own. I don't have much else to suggest, but know that you're not alone in finding it difficult. Most students do, although as I said the convenient aspect is that it's entirely consistent.
The only other helpful advice I could give you would be to be sure to do all of the exercises, especially if you're not doing this with an instructor in a classroom. I've found that students often feel like they understand formal notations when the teacher is explaining (or when reading examples in the textbook) but then get lost when they're expected to do it on their own. That's why homework is crucial, so you can figure it out for yourself and internalize the logic.

Other than that, I could just suggest some introductory materials like:
But beyond that you'll need to just dive into the harder material, I think.

This looks useful by the way:

(But I don't have a specific textbook to recommend to you.)


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