Formal Semantics of Natural Language

Yoad Winter

  • Area: LaLo
  • Level: F
  • Week: 2
  • Time: 09:00 – 10:30
  • Room: D1.02

Abstract

The course will give a concise introduction to compositional modeltheoretic semantics in the Montague tradition, with new directions coming from recent research. Concentrating on the underlying methodological principles, I will aim to attract students’ attention to the scientific value of describing intricate semantic phenomena using elegant and rigorously-defined mathematical techniques. The course is intended for students who don’t necessarily have deep knowledge in logic or linguistics, but have basic mathematical or general scientific background. The foundational material includes: entailment, ambiguity, compositionality, direct interpretation, types and model structure, boolean operators, generalized quantifiers and abstract categorial grammar. Motivations and examples will draw on recent research of coordination, quantifier scope, spatial expressions, and long-distance dependencies. Further remarks about diverse problems involving plurality, intensionality, concepts in language, and experimental pragmatics/semantics will be made as time permits.

At the end of the course, students will have acquired basic formal notions of natural language semantics, which will allow them to approach much of the literature in this field.

The course is based on the textbook Elements of Formal Semantics, which will appear in 2016. It follows courses that I have taught at ESSLLI 2013 and NASSLLI 2014.

 

Slides —¬†http://www.phil.uu.nl/~yoad/tmp/slides-Winter-ESSLLI2016.pdf