Language and Logic advanced course:
Referent Systems.

  • Udo Klein ()
  • Marcus Kracht ()

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