Courses' slots:

Week one 9:00 - 10:30

Language and Logic foundational course:
The Logic of Sense and Reference.

Teacher Abstract:

Most of our logics identify semantic values that should not be identified. As a result they come with problems such as prediction of logical omniscience. These can be evaded by distinguishing between an expression's sense and its reference, in Frege's way. This course studies logics in which such a distinction is made and in which even logically equivalent sentences can be kept apart and be assigned different meanings. It will also consider applications of such logics. Church's Logic of Sense and Denotation is a prime example of the kind of logic intended here, but there are now many more. After an overview of some of the proposals that have been made, the course will focus upon the classical theory of types and it will be explained how a natural generalization of Henkin's general models for this logic leads to structures with the desired characteristic: senses as well as referents being available as semantic values. It will turn out that the system thus obtained has many nice logical properties, completeness with respect to a very straightforward Gentzen calculus being one of them. It will also be shown how in a set-up where expressions come with senses the usual ingredients of possible worlds semantics can be constructed. The course will emphasize ideas rather than logical technique and should be accessible to natural language semanticists who are interested in getting rid of a foundational difficulty of their discipline.

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Language and Logic introductory course:
Introduction to Abstract Categorial Grammars: Foundations and main properties.

Teachers
  • Philippe de Groote ()
  • Sylvain Salvati ()

External page

Abstract:

The abstract categorial grammar (ACG) introduced by de Groote (2001) derives from the categorial and type-logical tradition, and is based on principles that may be traced back to both Curry and Lambek. This course will focus on the main concepts underlying the ACG. We will first motivate the formalism by showing how it derives from the categorial grammar tradition. We will then illustrate the expressive power of the ACG by showing how several grammatical formalisms may be encoded as ACGs. We will review the fundamental properties (membership, universal membership, emptyness...), and establish a formal relation between ACG and linear logic. Finally, we will review possible extensions of the formalism, and discuss their properties.

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Week one 11:00 - 12:30

Language and Logic introductory course:
Quotation and the semantics of speech reports.

Teacher
  • Emar Maier ()
Abstract:

In every language we can say things about the world, but also about the language itself. In both natural and formal languages we find quotational devices dedicated to this task of turning a language on itself. In this course I give an introduction to the semantics of quotation, focusing on its use in natural language speech reporting. Entering more recent debates we'll explore in some detail the semantics of mixed quotation, and 'monstrous' perspectival shifts.

The starting point is the basic opposition between use and mention and the classic analyses of quotation (Quine, Tarski, Geach and Davidson). In the second lecture I apply these insights to the semantics of natural language speech reporting where we find an apparent parallel to our basic opposition in the distinction between indirect and direct discourse. I'll explore the standard reductions of direct discourse to mention, and indirect discourse to use (under an intensional operator in Kaplan's (1989) 'Logic of Demonstratives'). In the third lecture we'll consider the pros and cons of these standard approaches, in particular the recent challenges to Kaplan posed by shifted indexicals and Schlenker's (2003) analysis in terms of 'monsters'.

The most interesting type of speech report however is mixed quotation, which combines aspects of direct discourse/mention and indirect discourse/use. In the final two lectures we compare the main views in the ongoing debate about the semantics of this construction: Cappelen and Lepore (1997), Recanati (2001), Potts (2007), and Geurts and Maier (2005). I close by considering the possibility of extending the semantics of mixed quotation to account for the indexical shift phenomena problematic for the classic Kaplanian framework.

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Language and Logic advanced course:
How to do things with words: Speech Acts in Linguistics, Philosophy and Computation.

Teachers
  • Regine Eckardt ()
  • Magdalena Schwager ()

External page

Abstract:

Speech acts have been discovered in philosophy as acts that can be done with words or moves in a language game. They still pose a challenge to semantic theory where, typically, declarative sentences are analysed as denoting propositions. The two views of sentences as containers of information, and as moves in social interaction, can not easily be reconciled.

Grammar and speech act level are not completely disconnected. Practically all languages distinguish between three sentence modes, declarative, interrogative, imperative, which are prototypically tied to the respective speech acts. But many more aspects of grammar refer to language's function in social interaction: The use of subjunctive can serve to distinguish reported speech acts from executed speech acts. Particles, discourse adverbs and NPIs can serve as speech act markers. Examples abound, consider German wohl which turns questions into self-directed questions: Wer bringt Kaffee mit? "who will bring coffee?" (real question) Wer bringt wohl Kaffee mit? "who will wohl bring coffee?" (speaker asks herself) Doch/denn distinguish verb-initial exclamatives from yes/no questions: Hat er denn einen Hund mitgebracht? "has he brought along a dog?" Hat er doch einen Hund mitgebracht! "And what he did was bring a DOG along!" Intensifiers like English so can be used to emphasize properties ("He is so tall.") but arguably (Potts) also (preconditions of) speech acts ("He is so next in line.").

Historical ties Research on grammaticalization proves that indirect directive speech acts grammaticalize into grammarical markers of imperative sentence mood. Strikingly, languages exhibit exactly those grammaticalization paths that would be predicted by Searle's theory of indirect speech acts. While this parallel is satisfactory from a theoretical perspective, its consequences are largely unexplored. Are similar grammaticalization patterns known for other indirect speech acts? Other sentence modes? Why is it that grammars limit themselves to three sentence modes while major speech act classifications rest on at least five-six major groups, which subdivide into many more specific kinds of acts?

Analysis of speech acts Formal theories of speech acts exist (e.g. SDRT, Asher/Lascarides, but also philosophical approaches ranging from Stalnaker/Lewis to Searle/Vanderveken), but are usually phrased as orthogonal to, and disconnected from truth conditional semantics of the clause. However, there are many words that have a meaning both in semantics and at speech act level; consider quantification into speech acts, cookie conditionals ("if you're hungry, there are cookies on the table") and more. Can such cross-domain phenomena be captured in a way that makes the ties between the two levels maximally transparent? Related to this is the question whether there is any way to delimit the number of speech acts, and to come up with clear criteria to identify and distinguish them.

Speech acts and automatic language processing

Finally, applications in language processing are often based on a scenario of speaker-machine interaction which involves more than a simple exchange of propositional content. Such applications often rest on simple, task-driven models of "doing things with words". Is there anything that formal semanticists can learn from such theories that have been tested against real communication? Can semanticists contribute something to this type of models?

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Week one 14:00 - 15:30

Language and Logic advanced course:
Plurality and distributivity across language(s) and logic(s).

Teachers
  • Eytan Zweig ()
  • George Tsoulas ()

Keywords: plurality, distributivity

Abstract:

This course offers an in-depth survey of the state of the art in the research on plurality and distributivity. While logic treats distributivity as a straightforward logical property of quantifiers and predicates, natural languages present a picture both more subtle and complex. Different languages exhibit an array of strategies for the expression of distributivity and many different constraints on what can acquire a distributive interpretation in which contexts. We present a picture of the crosslinguistic variation in the expression of distributivity drawing data from languages including English, French, German, Greek, Korean, and Japanese. Attempting synthesis of insights from plural logics and from the linguistic semantics of distributivity, we will examine what is necessary for a plural logic system that will capture the nuances expressed across natural languages. The course is addressed to students with a solid grasp of basic semantics including generalised quantifier theory and basic notions of boolean algebra.

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Language and Logic introductory course:
Focus, Focus Interpretation, and Focus Sensitivity.

Teachers
  • Malte Zimmermann ()
  • Daniel Hole ()
Abstract:

The course offers an overview of standard implementations of the meaning of focus and the structural and semantic behaviour of focus-sensitive elements (quantificational adverbs, focus particles). The course integrates the discussion of empirical phenomena with recent semantic (and syntactic) theories. 1: Introduction: Focus phenomena and Alternative Semantics (Rooth 1985, 1992, Schwarzschild 1999) 2: Structured Propositions and Focus Movement (von Stechow 1991, Rooth 1996, Krifka 2006) 3: Semantic effects of explicit focus marking: Contrast, exhaustivity in clefts and Hungarian focus constructions (Horn 1981, Kiss 1998, Wedgwood 2003, Horvath 2008) 4: The semantics of focus-sensitive particles ('only', 'also', 'even') and quantificational adverbs (König 1991, Rooth 1996, Beaver & Clark 2004, Beaver, to appear) 5: Extensions and case studies: (i.) Postposed additive particles ('AUCH', 'too') as topic-sensitive expressions (Krifka 1999); (ii.) Multiple association with focus (Krifka 1992, Wagner 2007); (iii.) Particle proliferation in Southeast Asian and Dutch (Barbiers, to appear, Hole 2008).

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Week one 17:00 - 18:30

Language and Logic advanced course:
Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives on Discourse.

Teacher Abstract:

This course will present an overview of current research on discourse both from a theoretical and empirical point of view. I will begin with the theoretical point of view, concentrating on Segmented Discourse Representation Theory (SDRT), which has made most explicit the ties between discourse semantics and more traditional linguistic fields of pragmatics and semantics. I will also compare RST, DLTag and other theories to SDRT. I then will detail the empirical stumbling block for all of these theories, which is the scaling up to real world, domain independent texts. I will review empirical approaches to discourse parsing in an attempt to address this empirical problem. I will discuss corpus construction and learning methods, leaning on the results of the Penn Discourse Tree Bank, Graph Bank, and the SDRT annotation projects DISCOR and ANNODIS.

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Language and Logic introductory course:
Logicality and Invariance.

Teacher
  • Denis Bonnay ()

Course material: bonnaylogicalityandinvariance.pdf syllabuslogicalityandinvariance.pdf vanbenthembonnaymodallogicinvariance.pdf

Abstract:

When designing a logical system, one has to start by distinguishing between logical expressions, which are the proper objects under study and whose interpretations remain fixed across models, and non-logical expressions, whose interpretations are permitted to vary from one model to the other. In particular, this distinction is crucial for the definition of logical truth as truth in all models. But are there principled ways to draw the line between logical and non-logical expressions? Consider any logical system, what is its natural repertoire of logical operations?

The aim of the course will be to review the semantic answers to these questions and to evaluate their consequences with respect to general questions in logic (such as functional completeness results), in linguistics (such as the semantic nature of `functional' or `grammatical' expressions) and in the philosophy of the formal sciences (why is logic different from mathematics?).

I will present the standard approach in terms of permutation invariance, which is generally credited to Tarski, and then introduce a generalized framework for the analysis of various invariance criteria. In particular, I will show how bisimulation invariance and invariance under potential isomorphism come out as natural notions of invariance for modal logic and first-order logic.

Course materials will be made available on my webpage: http://lumiere.ens.fr/~dbonnay/

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Language and Logic workshop:
Vagueness in Communication.

Organizers

Course material: vic09-alxatib-pelletier.pdf vic09-daniel-lassiter.pdf vic09-ewan-klein.pdf vic09-gottfried-vosgerau.pdf vic09-harald-bastiaanse.pdf vic09-lavi-wolf.pdf vic09-pablo-cobreros.pdf vic09-paul-egre.pdf vic09-stephanie-solt.pdf vic09-zardini-sweeney.pdf

External page

Abstract:

Although vagueness has long since been an important topic in philosophy, logic and linguistics, some recent advances have made the functions of vagueness in natural language communication an exciting and timely research area. This renewed interest has a distinct cross-disciplinary character and has spawned many new research questions. While the classical instruments of dealing with vagueness -- like multi-valued logics, truth value gaps or gluts, or supervaluations -- have not been significantly extended, new approaches investigate questions like context-sensitivtiy of vagueness (Kyburg & Moreau 2000), the sharpening of vague predicates in context (Barker 2002), and the modeling of precision levels with expressions like 'roughly' or 'like' (Kennedy 2007). Within the study of comparatives and degree modification, moreover, researchers are now exploring cross-linguistic aspects of vagueness (Beck et al 2004). On a more fundamental level, the question why there is vagueness to begin with, what role vagueness serves in human communication, has been addressed. For example, it has been argued that vagueness is an epiphenomenon of the impossibility of complete shared knowledge about the extension of many terms (e.g. Williamson 1994), hence a consequence of the cognitive limitations of humans. It has been shown why this does not affect the utility of these terms in communication (Parikh 1994). Game-theoretic methods have been employed that show that being vague or imprecise can be beneficial for communication even if the speaker could truthfully use more precise terms (de Jaegher 2003). Furthermore, the important role of vagueness became evident in a number of empirical domains beyond obvious examples such as the language of diplomacy -- for example, in geographical terms (e.g. Bennett 2008) or in the description of measures of economy (Qizilbash 2005). There are also initial experimental investigations into the ways how speakers interpret vague terms (e.g., Bonini e.a. 1999).

The workshop aims to bring together researchers whose work contributes to the broad inter-disciplinary line of inquiry outlined here. In particular, we welcome:

* papers that broaden the empirical base for the study of vagueness, be it linguistic or otherwise; * papers offering a synthesis of theories from different disciplines; and * papers addressing the pragmatics of vagueness.

The workshop aims to provide a forum for researchers (including advanced PhD students) to present and discuss their work with colleagues and researchers who work in the broad subject of the disciplines relevant for vagueness in communication, as represented in ESSLLI.

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Week two 9:00 - 10:30

Language and Logic introductory course:
Topics in the Semantics of Interrogative Clauses.

Teachers
  • Benjamin Spector ()
  • Mrta Abrusn ()
Abstract:

The purpose of the class is to present in a systematic way some of the most influential lines of investigations pertaining to the semantics of questions. We will start by presenting two related types of theories, namely theories based on "sets of answers" (Hamblin 1973, Karttunen 1977), on the one hand, and theories based on "partition semantics", on the other hand (Gronendijk & Stockhof 1982, 1984), and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. This will lead us to an extensive discussion of embedded interrogatives (including topics such as weak and strong exhaustivity in relation to NPI licensing, the distinction between de dicto and de re readings, extensional vs. intensional question embedding predicates, quantificational variability). We will provide a compositional account of the meaning of wh-questions, which will allow us to address more specific topics such as identity questions, functional and pair-list readings of wh-questions, alternative questions.

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Language and Logic foundational course:
Meaning Composition: Empricial Problems and Formal Solutions.

Teacher
  • Louise McNally ()
Abstract:

This course provides an overview two of the main empirical problems that have emerged in the development of models for meaning composition in natural language, the tradeoffs that are involved in solving these problems, and some of the different techniques that have been proposed as solutions. The goal is twofold: to make students with logic backgrounds aware of the reasons why the composition of natural language meanings is not a trivial problem (even though at some levels it might seem that way), and to familiarize students with linguistics backgrounds with some of the main alternative techniques for meaning composition, their similarities and differences, and their pros and cons. The course will presuppose only a minimal familiarity with basic grammatical concepts and predicate logic.

An elegant theory of meaning composition for natural language might be expected to meet the following desiderata, among others:

-It should respect independently-motivated results of research on morphology, syntax, and the lexicon.

- It should be grounded in an independently motivated theory of what lexical meanings are like. - It should avoid idiosyncratic composition rules to the extent possible.

- It should be expressible in a sound and computationally tractable logic.

However, natural language data sometimes make a maximally elegant theory difficult. Perhaps the best-studied problem for the meaning composition in this respect has been quantification. In this course, we will focus on two additional problems which have driven various kinds of alternative meaning composition strategies: bare nominals and incorporation on the one hand, and so-called "intersective" vs. "nonintersective" modification, on the other. We will develop a sense of the general nature of the problems these phenomena pose, as well as a global vision of the issues the proposed solutions raise.

The plan for the course is the following:

Day 1: The basics: Classic "rule-to-rule" vs. "shake-and-bake" approaches to composition. [Discussion of work by Bach, Carpenter, Dowty, Klein & Sag, Montague, and others]

Days 2-3: The empirical problem: Bare nominals and incorporation. The solutions: type shifting, the separation of syntactic and semantic saturation, Discourse Representation Theory-based alternatives. [Discussion of work by Chung & Ladusaw, Dayal, de Hoop, Espinal & McNally, Farkas & de Swart, Kamp, Partee, Van Geenhoven, and others]

Days 4-5: The empirical problem: Intersective vs. nonintersective modification. The solutions: type coercion, enriched lexical representations, ad-hoc composition rules. [Discussion of work by Asher, Larson, McNally, Montague, Pustejovsky, and others]

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Week two 11:00 - 12:30

Language and Logic introductory course:
Event Semantics and Adverbial Modification.

Teachers
  • Berit Gehrke ()
  • Boban Arsenijevic ()

External page

Abstract:

The course gives a general overview of (Neo-)Davidsonian event semantics and its motivation from adverbial modification. It furthermore introduces the notion of event structure, both from a conceptual and a model-theoretic point of view. An important issue concerns how far event structure, aspectual structure and argument structure are mutually related and whether it is possible or even preferable to reduce them to one. To identify elements of the event structure, argument structure and/or aspectual structure, we focus on the (un-)availability of various adverbial modifiers, in particular manner, temporal, aspectual and spatial ones, as well as the relation of such modifiers to the overall structure, e.g. the issue of high (event-external) vs. low (event-internal) adverbs. The presentation of the cross-linguistic diversity in the marking of voice and argument and adjunct roles, and phenomena like serial verb constructions, lead to a general discussion of the nat ure of the verbal category.

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Language and Logic advanced course:
Proof-Theoretic Semantics.

Teacher

Course material: proof_theoretic_semantics.html

Abstract:

Proof-Theoretic Semantics (PTS) is an alternative to model-theoretic (or truth-condition) semantics. It is based on the idea that the central notion in terms of which meanings are assigned to expressions is that of proof rather than truth. In this sense PTS is inferential rather than denotational in spirit. Although the claim that meaning is use has been quite prominent in philosophy for more than half a century, the model-theoretic approach has always dominated formal semantics. However, within general proof theory several formal approaches to PTS have been developed which promise to provide an alternative to the model-theoretic approach. After recalling certain basics from proof theory of natural deduction, this tutorial presents traditional approaches to PTS in the spirit of Dummett, Prawitz and Martin-Löf as well as advanced conceptions based on "definitional reasoning" based on work of the author.

http://www-ls.informatik.uni-tuebingen.de/esslli/

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Week two 14:00 - 15:30

Language and Logic advanced course:
Advances in Abstract Categorial Grammars: Language theory and linguistic modeling.

Teachers

Course material: esslli-acg-week-2.pdf

External page

Abstract:

The abstract categorial grammar (ACG) (de Groote 2001), a grammar formalism based on the typed lambda calculus, elegantly generalizes and unifies a variety of grammar formalisms that have been proposed for the description of formal and natural languages. The first part of this course investigates formal-language-theoretic properties of "second-order" ACGs, a subclass of ACGs that have "context-free" derivations. Their generative capacity is precisely characterized, and an efficient Earley-style algorithm is presented. The second part of the course turns to linguistic applications of ACGs and gives various illustrations of how ACGs provide flexible and explicit ways to model the syntax-semantics interface of natural language.

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Language and Logic workshop:
New Directions in the Theory of Presupposition.

Organizers

External page

Abstract:

The last ten years has seen a wealth of new developments on the topic of presupposition and, in particular, the projection problem for presupposition. While there had been considerable interest in the seventies in developing entirely pragmatic accounts of presupposition triggering and projection (Wilson, 1974, Stalnaker 1977, Grice, 1981), these accounts had generally not been sufficiently developed to match the dynamic accounts developed in the eighties in predictive power. Recent work, such as that of Schlenker (2006, 2008), however, has shown that broadly pragmatic accounts can also have considerable predictive power. In addition, trivalent approaches based on such techniques as supervaluations and the Strong Kleene connectives, which were dismissed by many long ago, have recently attracted new interest (Beaver and Krahmer, 2001, George, 2008, Fox, 2008) and have been shown capable of handling many empirical issues in presupposition projection. Thus there is no longer a clear consensus on how we should explain presupposition projection. In addition, experimental work has raised interesting questions about what the basic facts of presupposition projection are and suggests that real empirical work is needed to determine some of the subtleties (Chemla 2007). There has also been renewed interest in the triggering problem (Simons, 2001, Abusch, 2002) which naturally links up to the projection problem, as well as recent theoretical work on foundational issues such as the notion of common ground and accommodation (Beaver and Zeevat, 2004, von Fintel, 2001, 2006, Stalnaker, 2002). The purpose of this workshop is to bring together researchers on presupposition to discuss these new developments and connect some of the different theoretical and empirical questions, which are too often considered in isolation.

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Language and Logic introductory course:
Syntax and Semantics from an Algebraic Perspective.

Teachers
  • Edward Stabler ()
  • Edward Keenan ()

Course material: StablerKeenan-ESSLLI09-Syllabus.pdf Keenan09-Malagasy.pdf KeenanStabler05.pdf KeenanStabler09.pdf StablerKeenan07.pdf

Abstract:

Developing perspectives from Keenan and Stabler (2003), this class will explore algebraic methods for compositionally defining and comparing various languages (syntax and semantics), with particular attention to various constructions with quantification and binding in the world's languages.

Introduction: Language structure (!=trees) and universals (!=fixed constituent orders). A universal of anaphor binding.

Evans and Levinson (BBS, forthcoming) take Chomskyan linguistics to task for insufficient recognition of the diversity of human languages. This diversity, they claim, renders universal claims few in number and largely trivial in content, whence the monolithic picture of Universal Grammar that generative grammarians present to the CogSci community at large is inaccurate and misleading. Our response to this critique exhibits a novel format of universal generalization that has the mathematical rigor desired (if not always achieved) by a Chomskyan approach, but which incorporates (morpho)syntactic diversity in an essential way. More important than diversity per se is that languages exhibit non-universal structural regularities that speakers must learn. We illustrate this with universal claims concerning anaphora -- one of the areas in which E+L criticize the Chomskyan approach

Example 1: Affixes and structure in Malagasy, without movement.

Example 2: Quantification in 'minimalist grammar', with movement. A 'directly compositional' semantics for a grammar with 'quantifier raising'.

Language similarity 1: Stable automorphisms; perspectives on probabilistic language models.

Language similarity 2: Homomorphic realizations of canonical patterns of predication, modification, and binding.

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Week two 17:00 - 18:30

Language and Logic advanced course:
Referent Systems.

Teachers
  • Udo Klein ()
  • Marcus Kracht ()
Abstract:

Formal systems for computing meanings often rely very strongly on syntactic structure, and rarely on other overt clues such as morphology. This makes them quite inflexible. The calculus of Referent Systems, due to Kees Vermeulen and further developed by the second lecturer, allows for much more flexible algorithms since it accesses both syntactic and morphological structure. The basic idea is that semantic composition is not performed by function application, but by a semantic operation which merges variables depending on the morphosyntactic properties associated with them. The main burden for calculating meanings of complex expressions is carried by the argument structure, which interfaces syntax, morphology and semantics. The system has been implemented (see ). The course will not only introduce the idea of referent systems and how they function, but also show how to implement and use the system.

The course assumes knowledge of formal semantics (DRT, for example) and some general knowledge of linguistics. All formal concepts will be properly introduced.

Proposed Content: Lec 1: Motivation and basic idea: Composing meanings Lec 2: Referent systems

Lec 3: Case Lec 4: Parameters Lec 5: Agreement Morphology and its Role in Semantics

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Language and Logic workshop:
Formal approaches to sign languages.

Organizers
  • Carlo Cecchetto ()
  • Carlo Geraci ()

Course material: 02 Brentari Eccarius ESSLLI 2009.pdf 03 Schlenker ESSLLI 2009.pdf 04 Koulidobrova ESSLLI 2009.pdf 05 Davidson Caponigro Mayberry ESSLLI 2009.pdf 06 Neidle et al ESSLLI 2009.pdf 08 MathurRathmann ESSLLI 2009.pdf 09 Bernaht ESSLLI 2009.pdf 10 Aboh Pfau 2009 ESSLLI.pdf 11 Donati Branchini ESSLLI 2009.pdf

External page

Abstract:

The recognition that sign languages are natural languages in their own right, and not collections of gestures or impoverished codes lacking an autonomous grammar, begins with Stokoe (1960). With Stokoe's work, the methods linguists use to describe and investigate spoken languages are applied to sign languages as well. In recent years, linguistic work on sign languages has also developed in formal frameworks, in the areas of phonology, syntax, and semantics. One goal of the workshop is to bring together researchers from different areas of formal linguistics who are investigating sign languages. The grammars of sign languages are as highly complex as the grammars of spoken languages and share with them many universal features, despite the difference in modality between spoken languages (which use the auditory channel) and sign languages (which use the visual channel). Yet, sign languages also differ from spoken languages in radical ways: morphological information in sign languages is often conveyed simultaneously by different articulators rather than linearly; moreover, certain aspects of their phonological, syntactic and semantic structures are not commonly found in spoken languages. These differences raise an interesting challenge for existing formal linguistic frameworks, which are designed to account for the grammars of spoken languages. By bringing together formal linguists working on sign languages, the workshop should contribute to meet this challenge.

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