On the Form-Meaning Relations Definable by CoTAGs: An ACG-Perspective

Jens Michaelis (Bielefeld University)


Adding cosubstitution to the classical TAG operations of substitution and adjunction, coTAGs have been proposed by Barker as an “alternative conceptualization” to resolve the tension between the TAG mantra of locality of syntactic dependencies and the seeming non-locality of quantifier scope. CoTAGs follow the tradition of synchronous TAGs (STAGs) in that they derive syntactic and semantic representations simultaneously as pairs.  

We show how coTAGs can be captured under the notion of abstract categorial grammars (ACGs). More concretely, Barker’s proposal leads to a class of third-order ACGs. By taking this particular perspective, Barker’s account turns out to be in line with the TAG-guided, ACG-based semantic analysis of quantifier scope phenomena earlier proposed in the literature by Pogodalla.  

The ACG perspective also allows us to better understand the fact that, concerning their syntactic component, coTAGs have the same strong generative capacity as regular TAGs, and why, at the same time, it is not the set of structures generally derivable, but rather the relation between derived objects and derivations (which stand here proxy for meanings) which provides the most insight into the complexity of a grammar formalism.