RGGU: Formal Semantics

Barbara H. Partee, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Visiting Fulbright Professor, RGGU and MGU, Jan - June 2005

Thursdays, 10 Feb – 26 May (Lecture 4:15-5:45pm, Seminar 6:00-7:30pm, Room 415)

Объявление по-русски

APRIL 23, 2005: First Annual Workshop: Formal Semantics in Moscow.  Information about the workshop and other informally organized semantics activity in Moscow at the site http://www.livejournal.com/community/msk_semantics/ . My report on the workshop is here. Workshop photos by Philip Dudchuk are here.

MY E-MAIL ADDRESS: partee@linguist.umass.edu

phone: (095) 757-0108

MY HOME PAGE:  http://people.umass.edu/partee/




LINK TO MGU SPECKURS 'Formal Semantics and Current Issues in Semantics'


I. The languages of the course:

Lectures, handouts, and text mostly in English. Seminar sessions and other discussion in Russian and/or English. Homework may be done in Russian.

II. Reading materials: Handouts (mostly in English) and some xeroxed articles (some in English, some in Russian) will be given to all enrolled students. As much material as possible will be made available for download from the web.

III. Structure of Course and Requirements: Every week there will be one lecture and one seminar. There will be five homework assignments, approximately every two weeks. The seminars will be an opportunity to ask questions, to discuss examples and issues from the lectures, to get help with homework assignments, and to discuss the results of past homework assignments and readings.

Requirements: Attendance, assigned reading, and written homework assignments.

Requirements to receive a 5: Very good attendance, at least 80% of lectures and seminars. Written homework assignments completed on time and in a satisfactory manner. Not more than three assignments late; no assignments missing.

Requirements to receive a 4: Good attendance, at least 60% of lectures and seminars. Most written homework assignments completed on time and in a satisfactory manner. Not more than four assignments late; not more than two assignments missing.

Requirements for zachet:  Same as requirements for a 4.

If more than two assignments are missing, you will not receive a zachet or a grade higher than a 3 unless you do some extra work of a high quality; see me if you wish to negotiate alternative assignments in place of some written homework.

IV. Outline of the course.   "Linked" handouts available for download in PDF format.

Lecture 1. Feb.10 Basic ideas of formal semantics. Compositionality. The relation between semantics and syntax. Example: Syntax and model-theoretic semantics of predicate logic. Homework #0: Anketa. Practice homework: to do together in Seminar. Reading: (1)  R. Larson (1995) Semantics. Chapter 12 in L. Gleitman and M.Liberman, eds. An Invitation to Cognitive Science, Vol I: Language, pp 361-380. (2) Partee, Barbara H. 1999. "Semantics" in R.A. Wilson and F.C. Keil, eds., The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 739-742.

Seminar [same day, after lecture; not listed below.]

Link to list of Keywords Lectures 1,2,3

Lecture 2. Feb. 17. Lambda abstraction and the semantics of noun phrases. Ambiguity and logical form. Quantifier scope. Generalized quantifiers (beginning), lexicon and grammar (beginning). Homework #1, Lambda exercises. Due March 3.

Lecture 3. Feb. 24. Applications of the lambda calculus to linguistic examples. Fragment 1. Basic principles of compositional interpretation. Type-driven interpretation. Conjunction and semantic types. Relative clauses. Phrasal negation.

Lecture 4. March 3. Formal semantics and the lexicon. Meaning postulates and the lexicon. Meaning postulates as a formalization of the content of semantic components of lexical meaning. Meaning postulates and the integration of formal semantics and Moscow school lexical semantics. Mel’chuk, Apresjan, and Moscow school lexical semantics. Borschev and Partee on the potential use of meaning postulates to combine the advantages of the explicitness of formal semantics with the "natural" metalanguage of Moscow school lexical semantics. Natural language metaphysics (Bach) and naivnaja kartina mira (Apresjan). Complete vs. partial reducibility of lexical meaning. Some properties of adjective meanings. Reading: (part of) Partee (1995) Lexical semantics and compositionality. Chapter 11 in L. Gleitman and M.Liberman, eds. An Invitation to Cognitive Science, Vol I: Language. (D. Osherson, general editor), pp. 311-360. Homework #2: Russian adjectives. Due March 17.   

[Link to Adjective Homework Results 1996-2004  (future) ]

Lecture 5. March 10. Semantika genitivnoj konstrukcii, tipy i sorta. Vladimir Borschev, guest lecture.  Formal semantics and the lexicon, continued.  Axioms and theories. Model theory, ontology, and natural language as a reflection of  naivnaja kartina mira “naïve picture of the world”. Sorts, sortal ontologies, and sort-shifting. Example: Container-nouns in Russian and metonymical shifts involving them; the semantics of measure constructions. Reading: (1) Borschev, V.B. 1996. Estestvennyi jazyk - naivnaja matematika dlja opisanija naivnoj kartiny mira [Natural language as naïve mathematics]. Moscow Linguistic Almanac 1:203-225. (2) Borschev, Vladimir, and Partee, Barbara H. In preparation. Semantika genitivnoj konstrukcii, tipy i sorta (Semantics of the genitive construction, types, and sorts). To appear in Possessivnye konstrukcii: Semantika i sintaksis (Possessive Constructions: Semantics and Syntax), eds. Yury Lander, Ji-Yung Kim and Barbara H. Partee. Moscow: Gnozis.

Lecture 6. March 17. Compositionality, context-dependence, and meaning shifts. The differences between modifier constructions and compound constructions. English noun-noun compound constructions: airplane factory, toy store. Nouns used as modifiers: stone lion, toy train. The stone lion puzzle and proposed solutions. Reading: (1) (the rest of) Partee (1995) Lexical semantics and compositionality. (2) Cooper, Richard, and Franks, Bradley. 1996. The iteration of concept combination in sense generation. In Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, ed. G. W. Cottrell, 523-528. San Diego. http://cogent.psyc.bbk.ac.uk/publications/cooperfranks96.html  (3) Coulson, Seana, and Fauconnier, Giles. 1999. Fake guns and stone lions: conceptual blending and privative adjectives. In Cognition and Function in Language, eds. B. Fox, D. Jurafsky and L. Michaelis. Palo Alto: CSLI. http://cogsci.ucsd.edu/~coulson/Fake/fakeguns.htm  (4) Partee, Barbara H. in press. Privative adjectives: subsective plus coercion. To appear in Presuppositions and Discourse, eds. R. Bäuerle, U. Reyle and T. E. Zimmermann. Amsterdam: Elsevier.  Homework #3: Russian modifiers: are there analogs of the English modifier/compound distinction? Towards a formal analysis of traditional distinctions among kinds of modifiers. Due March 31.

Link to Keywords Lectures 4 - 7

Lecture 7. March 24. Noun phrases and generalized quantifiers. Weak and strong determiners and existential sentences.  Reading: (1) R. Larson (1995) Semantics. (from Lecture 1. Read it again!) (2): Partee, Barbara H., Alice ter Meulen, and Robert E. Wall. 1990. Mathematical Methods in Linguistics. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Chapter 14: Generalized Quantifiers. http://newstar.rinet.ru/~goga/biblio/partee-et-al/generalized-quantifiers.djvu

Lecture 8. March 31. Noun phrase interpretation and type-shifting principles. Noun phrases as referential expressions, predicative expressions, quantificational expressions. The interpretation of NPs in languages (like Russian) without articles. Reading: Barbara H. Partee (1986) "Noun phrase interpretation and type-shifting principles", in J. Groenendijk, D. de Jongh, and M. Stokhof, eds., Studies in Discourse Representation Theory and the Theory of Generalized Quantifiers, Foris, 115-143. Reprinted in Portner and Partee, eds., 2002, 357-381. Reprinted in Partee, Barbara H. 2004. Compositionality in Formal Semantics: Selected Papers by Barbara H. Partee. Blackwell, 203-230. http://newstar.rinet.ru/~goga/biblio/essential-readings/15-Partee-Noun.Phrase.Interpretation.and.Type-shifting.Principles.djvu . Homework #4: Quantification and properties of Russian determiners. Due April 21.

No class April 7, April 14

Lecture 9. April 21. Formal semantics and formal pragmatics. Presuppositions, conversational implicatures, conventional implicatures. Illustrations involving negation and definite descriptions, inclusive and exclusive or, restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses, “expressive” modifiers. Readings: (1) Chierchia and McConnell-Ginet (1999), Meaning and Grammar: An Introduction to Semantics. Chapter 4: Speaking, Meaning, and Doing. Section 5: Conversational Implicature.  (pp 187 – 203); (2) Chapter 1 from: Kadmon, Nirit. (2001). Formal Pragmatics: Semantics, Pragmatics, Presupposition, and Focus. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. (3) Potts, Christopher. (to appear). Conventional implicatures, a distinguished class of meanings. In The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Interfaces, eds. G. Ramchand and C. Reiss. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~potts/potts-cis-interfaces.pdf  (4) Potts, Christopher, and Kawahara, Shigeto. 2004. Japanese honorifics as emotive definite descriptions. In Proceedings of SALT 14, eds. Kazuha Watanabe and Robert B. Young. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications. http://people.umass.edu/potts/papers/potts-kawahara-salt14-paper.pdf   Homework #5: A wide choice of topics. Due May 19.

APRIL 23: Workshop: (Formal) Semantics in Moscow.  Information at  http://www.livejournal.com/community/msk_semantics/ . Link to my report. Link to Philip Dudchuk's photos.

Lecture 10. April 28. The semantics of diathesis alternations. In pairs like zagruzit' gruzovik senom/ zagruzit' seno na gruzovik (load the truck with hay/ load the hay on the truck), what’s in the meaning of the verb and what’s in the meaning of the construction, and how are those contributions compositionally combined? What kinds of answers do different theories of lexical semantics give to that question? Optional readings by Krifka, Dowty, Kiparsky, Ackerman and Moore, Levin and Rappaport.

(1) Krifka, Manfred. 2000. Manner in dative alternation. In WCCFL 18: Proceedings of the Eighteenth West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, eds. Sonya Bird, Andrew Carnie, Jason D. Haugen and Peter Norquest. Somerville/Medford, MA: Cascadilla Press. http://amor.rz.hu-berlin.de/~h2816i3x/DatAlternation.pdf

(2) Levin and Rappaport handout 2002 on Dative Alternation arguing against Krifka. http://www.stanford.edu/~bclevin/rrg02dat.pdf  

(3) Levin and Rappaport handout 2001 also on Dative Alternation. http://www.stanford.edu/~bclevin/mit01dat.pdf .

(4) Krifka, Manfred. 2004. Semantic and pragmatic conditions for the Dative Alternation. Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics 4:1-32. http://amor.rz.hu-berlin.de/~h2816i3x/DativeAlternationKorea.pdf  

(5) Paducheva, E.V. 2002. Diateza i diateticheskij sdvig ('Diathesis and diathesis shift'). Russian Linguistics 26:179-215.

(6) Bresnan, Joan, and Nikitina, Tatjana. 2003. On the gradience of dative alternation. Ms. Stanford University. http://www-lfg.stanford.edu/bresnan/new-dative.pdf

(7) Bresnan, Joan, Cueni, Anna, Nikitina, Tatiana, and Baayen, Harald. In press. Predicting the Dative Alternation. In Proceedings of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science Workshop on Foundations of Interpretation. Amsterdam. http://www-lfg.stanford.edu/bresnan/qs-submit.pdf

(8) Beck, Sigrid, and Johnson, Kyle. 2004. Double objects again. Linguistic Inquiry 35:97-124.

*** No class May 5  ***   (BHP at FASL 14 at Princeton)

Lecture 11. May 12. Genitive of negation and diathesis alternations. Hypothesis: perhaps we can capture both similarities and differences between Subject and Object Genitive of Negation in Russian by viewing both as instances of diathetic alternations (Ackerman and Moore 2001, Paducheva 2002), involving semantic shifts in verb meaning correlated with a decrease in "proto-Agent" or "proto-Patient" properties (Dowty 1991). The interaction of sentential negation with verbal semantics and diathesis alternation is a key issue to be explored. Reading: Partee and Borschev 2005 Barcelona handout: http://people.umass.edu/partee/docs/Barcelona 2005 Gen Neg.pdf .

Lecture 12. May 19.  The Event Argument, Aspect and Quantification.  Evidence for the existence of an event argument in at least non-stative sentences. The role of the event argument in linguistic structures. The role of the event argument in lexical semantics and in semantic composition. Events and situations. Stage-level and individual-level predicates. Impersonal sentences as properties of situations. Thetic and categorial sentences: predicating of a situation vs. predicating of the subject. Readings: (1) Selection from Landman, Fred. 2000. Events and Plurality: The Jerusalem Lectures: Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy v.76. Dordrecht: Kluwer. (2) Selections from Filip, Hana. 1999. Aspect, Eventuality Types and Nominal Reference. New York: Garland. (3) Partee, Barbara H. 1997. Vid i interpretacija imennyx grupp ("Aspect and the interpretation of Noun Phrases"). In Trudy Aspektologicheskogo Seminara Filologicheskogo Fakul'teta MGU im. Lomonosova, Vol. 3, ed. Marina Chertkova, 121-140. Moscow: Moscow University Press. (4) Partee, Barbara H. 1999. Nominal and temporal semantic structure: aspect and quantification. In Prague Linguistics Circle Papers, v.3, eds. E. Hajicová, T. Hoskovec, O. Les"ka, P. Sgall and Z. Skoumalová, 91-108. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co..

All late homeworks due May 26 (last class). All grades, zachety, ad hoc certificates to be done on May 26.

Lecture 13. May 26. Intensionality, Referential Opacity, Modality, Possible Worlds.  Last lecture. Introduction to intensionality, referential opacity, the semantics of modality and of conditional sentences. Modal logic, intensional logic.(With an additional handout courtesy of Maribel Romero; see link below.) The possible worlds in "possible worlds semantics" and their important role in natural language metaphysics (naivnaja kartina mira). The semantics of subjunctive/indicative alternation in Spanish relative clauses. The semantics of "intensional verbs" like seek. Property-readings of NPs. Kratzer's classic work on the variation in meanings of modals like must and may. The Lewis-Stalnaker analysis of counterfactual conditionals. Note: in class on May 26 I gave everyone a copy of a CD "Semantics Readings 2005" that contains many useful readings, including textbooks, dissertations, and articles. The CD was compiled by students in the MGU semantics class. A copy is in the possession of the department offices at both MGU (Kibrik's office) and RGGU (Vera Podlesskaya's office).  Readings: (i) Zimmermann, Ede. 1993. On the proper treatment of opacity in certain verbs. Natural Language Semantics 1:149-179. (ii) Kratzer, Angelika. 1981. The notional category of modality. In Words, Worlds, and Contexts. New Approaches to Word Semantics, eds. H.-J. Eikmeyer and H. Rieser, 38-74. Berlin: de Gruyter. Reprinted in Portner and Partee, eds., 2002, 289-323. (on CD) (iii) Portner, Paul. 1997. The Semantics of Mood, Complementation, and Conversational Force. Natural Language Semantics 5:167-212. http://people.umass.edu/partee/docs/portnerNLS1997.pdf  (iv) Partee, Barbara H. (in press) Weak noun phrases: semantics and syntax. To appear in the proceedings of Dialog 2005, Moscow.  http://people.umass.edu/partee/docs/Partee_Dialog2005.pdf 
Additional Recommended Readings:
(v) Maribel Romero, course handout April 5, 2005: “Intensionality”: http://babel.ling.upenn.edu/courses/ling255/Intensionality.pdf . (vi) von Fintel, Kai. 2001. Counterfactuals in a Dynamic Context. In Ken Hale: A Life in Language, ed. Michael Kenstowicz, 123–152. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (preprint available at http://mit.edu/fintel/www/conditional.pdf) (vii) von Fintel, Kai and Irene Heim (in progress). Draft chapters of a new textbook on Intensionality. Chapters 1-3. (on CD)

I will be in Moscow in summer 2005 (except for two trips) until August 22. Then I will be in Amherst until the end of the semester. Then back in Moscow for January and half of February, but no semantics course in 2006: we will be in New Zealand from mid-February until early June. My e-mail address always stays the same. Have a good summer and keep in touch!

Last updated 27 May 2005 by Barbara Partee