Semantics: Essential Tools

Course description

The goal of this course is to expand students' understanding of the empirical domain and techniques in formal semantics and to develop the skills to do independent semantic analysis. The semantic system that we will develop has two central tenets. First, following the long tradition initiated by logicians like Frege, Tarksi, Carnap and Montague, it aims at developing a truth-conditional semantic system, one where the meanings of a sentence is determined by stating the conditions under which it is true in the world. Second, the semantic system that we will develop is compositional, i.e. it determines a systematic procedure that allows us to obtain the meaning of each sentence from the meaning of its parts. In the first half of the course we will learn standard formal tools which we will then apply and develop during the second half to a analyze a range of empirical phenomena, including adjectival modification, quantifiers and (in)definites, pronouns, attitude verbs, etc. (You can find the complete syllabus here.)

Materials  Hw Grades  LaTeX Wiki

Date Slides/Handout Homework Readings
09/10 Overview Questionnaire de Swart 1998, Ch. 1
16/10 Preliminaries Howework 1 Partee et al. 1990, Ch.1 & 2
23/10 TC semantics, (example) Homework 2 Chierchia & McConnel-Ginnet 1990, Ch.2
30/10 No class!
06/11 Types Homework 3 Heim & Kratzer 1998, 26-29
13/11 Lambda Homework 4 Heim & Kratzer 1998, 45-50
20/11 More Lambda Homework 5
27/11 As & CNs No Hw! Morzycki 2016, 14-26
04/12 More As Homework 6
11/12 Definite DPs Homework 7
18/12 Pronouns/Variables HW 8, Extra
08/01 P-Abstraction Homework 9
15/01 Quantified DPs No Hw! Heim & Kratzer 1998, ch. 6
22/01 Object Q-DPs Homework 10 Heim & Kratzer 1998, ch. 7