Compositionality Principle

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In semantics, the Compositionality Principle is a principle (attributed to Frege, hence sometimes called Frege's Principle) that constrains the relation between form and meaning by requiring that the meaning of a composite expression is built up from the meanings of its basic expressions.


This principle plays an important role in formal semantic theories, like Montague Grammar. Here the Compositionality Principle takes the form of a homomorphism, a mapping that assigns meanings to the basic expressions of the language and semantic operations to syntactic rules.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Gamut, L.T.F. 1991. Logic, language, and meaning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Montague, R. 1974. Formal philosophy: selected papers of Richard Montague, edited and with an introduction by Richmond H. Thomason. Yale University Press.