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BHP in 1997, taken by David Partee


Barbara H. Partee




southcollege-small.jpg (9909 bytes)

Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Linguistics and Philosophy
Department of LinguisticsUniversity of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003-1100 USA not MY car! (photo by Kathryn Flack)

Email: partee@linguist.umass.edu

Office: N408 Integrative Learning Center, 650 North Pleasant Street
Phone: (413) 545-0889,   Fax: (413) 545-2792

    Remembering Bill Hagamen (November 4, 1924 – March 26, 2007) with links to our works about his work, and our unfinished joint work.

    Remembering Petr Sgall (May 27, 1926 -- May 28, 2019)

Recent  (a more complete list is on Research page)

For those who speak Russian, I gave a non-technical talk in Russian on April 19, 2012, on the birth of formal semantics from linguistics and philosophy. It's for non-specialists, in the polit.ru public lectures series. There was about an hour of questions and answers after the talk.
"Формальная семантика как порождение лингвистики и философии"
Information, video, and photos here:
Video plus transcript, with different photos: http://polit.ru/article/2012/05/18/Partee/

Partee, Barbara H. In press. A brief history of the syntax-semantics interface in Western formal linguistics. Semantics-Syntax Interface.  [PDF]

Partee, Barbara H. 2013. Portrait of a semanticist as a young man: Gennaro Chierchia 1979-1988. In From Grammar to Meaning: The Spontaneous Logicality of Language, eds. Ivano Caponigro and Carlo Cecchetto, 13-37. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [PDF]

Partee, Barbara H., Borschev, Vladimir, Paducheva, Elena V., Testelets, Yakov G., and Yanovich, Igor. In press. Genitive of negation, genitive of intensionality, and subjunctive in Russian. Journal of Language and Verbal Behavior - Jazyk i Rečevaja Dejatel'nost'.

Partee, Barbara H. 2013. On the history of the question of whether natural language is “illogical”. In History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences (Blog), ed. James McElvenny.  [LINK]

Partee, Barbara H. In press. The starring role of quantifiers in the history of formal semantics. In The Logica Yearbook 2012, eds. Vit Punčochár and Petr Svarny. London: College Publications. [PDF]

Partee, Barbara H. 2013. Montague’s “linguistic” work: Motivations, trajectory, attitudes. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 17, September 8-10 2012, eds. Emmanuel Chemla, Vincent Homer and Grégoire Winterstein, 427-453. Paris: ENS. [PDF

Partee, Barbara H. 2012. Appreciating functions: Ed Keenan in the early history of formal semantics. In Theories of Everything: In Honor of Ed Keenan. UCLA Working Papers in Linguistics 17, eds. Thomas Graf, Denis Paperno, Anna Szabolcsi and Jos Tellings, 330-336. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Linguistics Dept. [PDF]

Partee, Barbara H. 2012. Remembering Aleksandr Evgenevich Kibrik. In Aleksandr Evgen'evich Kibrik. In Memoriam. Materialy nauchno-memorial'nyx chtenij pamjati A.E. Kibrika 9 dekabrja 2012 g., eds. V.I. Belikov et al., 104-105. Moscow: OTiPL, Philological Faculty, MGU imeni M.V.Lomonosova.

Partee, Barbara H., and Borschev, Vladimir. 2012. Dva stakana moloka: Substances and containers in Genitive of Measure constructions in Russian. Russkij jazyk v naučnom osveščenii 24.2:140-166.  [PDF]

Partee, Barbara H., and Borschev, Vladimir. 2012. Sortal, relational, and functional interpretations of nouns and Russian container constructions. Journal of Semantics. [PDF]

Borschev, Vladimir, and Partee, Barbara H. 2011. Genitiv mery v russkom jazyke, tipy i sorta [The genitive of measure in Russian, Types and sorts]. In Slovo i jazyk. Sbornik statej k 80-letiju akademika Ju.D.Apresjana [Word and Language. A Collection of Articles for the 80th Birthday of Academician Ju.D. Apresjan], eds. I.M. Boguslavsky, L.L. Iomdin and L.P. Krysin, 95-137. Moscow: Jazyki slavjanskix kultur'. Prepub version with some misprints: [PDF]

Partee, Barbara H., Borschev, Vladimir, Paducheva, Elena V., Testelets, Yakov, and Yanovich, Igor. 2012. The Role of verb semantics in genitive alternations: Genitive of Negation and Genitive of Intensionality. In The Russian Verb. Oslo Studies in Language 4(1). eds. A. Grřnn and A. Pazel'skaya. [PDF] (This version is a somewhat expanded version of Borschev et al (2011).

Partee, Barbara H., Borschev, Vladimir, Paducheva, Elena V., Testelets, Yakov, and Yanovich, Igor. 2011. Russian Genitive of Negation alternations: The role of verb semantics. Scando-Slavica 57.2:135-159. [PDF]

Borschev, Vladimir, and Partee, Barbara H. 2011. Genitiv mery v russkom jazyke, tipy i sorta [The genitive of measure in Russian, Types and sorts]. In Slovo i jazyk. Sbornik statej k 80-letiju akademika Ju.D.Apresjana [Word and Language. A Collection of Articles for the 80th Birthday of Academician Ju.D. Apresjan], eds. I.M. Boguslavsky, L.L. Iomdin and L.P. Krysin, 95-137. Moscow: Jazyki slavjanskix kultur'.

Partee, Barbara H. 2011. Formal semantics: Origins, issues, early impact. In Formal Semantics and Pragmatics. Discourse, Context, and Models. The Baltic Yearbook of Cognition, Logic, and Communication. Vol. 6 (2010), eds. B.H. Partee, M. Glanzberg and J. Skilters, 1-52. Lawrence, KS: New Prairie Press. [PDF]

Partee, Barbara H. 2011. The History of Formal Semantics, with special attention to quantification. Presentation in Angelika Kratzer's Linguistics 720 proseminar, September 6, 2011.  (unpublished talk). [Power point slide show]  [4-up PDF handout]

Partee, Barbara H. 2011. The Semantics Adventure. Ms., MIT 150th Symposium Panel May 3: The Golden Age – a look at the original roots of AI, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, and Linguistics. Cambridge, MA. (unpublished talk) [PDF]

Partee, Barbara H. 2011. Teaching formal semantics. In Teaching Linguistics: Reflections on Practice, ed. Koenraad Kuiper, 40-50. London: Equinox Publishing.  [PDF]

Borschev, V., Paducheva, E.V., Partee, B.H., Testelets, Y.G., and Yanovich, I.S. 2010. On semantic bleaching and compositionality: Subtraction or addition? (On the bleaching of "lexical verbs" in Russian negated existential sentences). In Proceedings of Israel Association for Theoretical Linguistics 26, Bar Ilan University (IATL 26), ed. Yehuda N. Falk. Jerusalem. [PDF]

Video: April 2010, Riga: “Is This a Good Time for Formal Semantics?”: a video in the “Is This a Good Time?” series, put together by two young journalism scholars in Riga. You aren’t told what the question is until you come to the interview, then you have 5 minutes to think, and then the cameras start rolling! And there are no pauses or second takes – it is what it is.   Video is here:  http://vimeo.com/isthisagoodtime/barbarapartee   or http://vimeo.com/20664367 .

A number of my older papers have now been turned into PDF form and put onto the Semantics Archive. For specific links, see Research page.

Partee, Barbara H. 2005. Reflections of a formal semanticist as of Feb 2005. Ms. (longer version of introductory essay in 2004 book) [PDF version]

Partee, Barbara H. 2004. Compositionality in Formal Semantics: Selected Papers of Barbara Partee. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Retirement party Sept 18 2004

       BHP (Lisa in bkground) by VB Sept 18     VB and BHP by Luis Alonso-Ovalle 9/18/04     Chris Potts by BHP 9/18    Lisa by BHP 9/18/04   Greg Carlson roasting BHP's thesis! (and presenting festschrift)    AK, John K, Irene et al laughing at Greg C      Veena, AK, Jae Choe, Peggy, Greg, Tom, Roy Wright, Laura, Anne-Michelle, Kyle, ?, Makoto in kitchen at 50 Hobart Lane 9/18   

Barbara Partee Doctoral Guidance Genealogy by Chris Potts  [as of 2004; needs to be updated]

Second youngest grandchild: Barbara with son Morriss and grandson Sean Patrick (b. 12/30/98), fall 1999  (Links to more pictures on Personal Page)


    My research and teaching interests center on formal semantics and its connections with syntax, pragmatics, and logic, and on related issues in the philosophy of language and in cognitive science.
Sgall, Partee, and Hajicova at work in Amherst, fall 1993.  Photo taken by Christine Bartels.    One lifelong interest is quantification. An NSF-supported project with Emmon Bach and Angelika Kratzer dealt with cross-linguistic quantification and semantic typology. Another project in collaboration with Eva Hajicova and Petr Sgall of Charles University, Prague, concerned topic-focus structure and quantification, integrating the contemporary Prague school approach with work in formal semantics.
 Photo: Sgall, Partee, and Hajicova at work in Amherst, with coffee, fall 1993. Photo taken by Christine Bartels.

    Other areas of recent and current research include the semantics of adjectives and prototype theory (with Hans Kamp), the interaction of noun phrase semantics with verbal aspect, the semantics of specificational pseudocleft sentences and the question of inversion around “be” in English , and joint work with Vladimir Borschev on the semantics of the “genitive of negation” in Russian existential sentences.
    The main focus of my recent and current research, joint with Borschev, is the integration of lexical semantics (especially including Moscow SchoolPartee, Borschev, Rakhilina, Paducheva, and Testelets at work, VINITI, Moscow, Summer 2002.  Photo taken by Ji-yung Kim. lexical semantics) with formal semantics, including issues of type-shifting and of sortal structures and sort-shifting. Our first NSF grant (1999-2003) with Borschev and other Russian colleagues and with UMass graduate students concerned the semantics of genitive (possessive) constructions with relational and non-relational nouns in English and Russian, focusing on problems of the interaction of lexical semantics, compositional semantics, and context. Our most recent NSF grant (2004-08) focused on the semantics and distribution of the Russian genitive of negation and its relation to a range of issues including "perspectival structure", existential sentences, scope of negation, unaccusativity, and diathesis shift, semantic bleaching and other effects of the interaction of lexical and compositional semantics.
 Photo: Partee, Borschev, Rakhilina, Paducheva, and Testelets at work, with tea, VINITI, Moscow, Summer 2002. Photo taken by Ji-yung Kim.
    A long-term interest relating to philosophy and cognitive science is the bridging of the apparent divide between ‘logical’ and ‘cognitive’ approaches to the foundations of semantics.
     Since 2010, a main current project is working on a book, The History of Formal Semantics, for Oxford University Press. It will take me a number of years. My work on it includes studying things I've found in the Montague archives in the UCLA Library, and also doing lots of interesting interviews. (The interviews won't be published as such; they just give me a lot of information and perspectives to add to my own.) As I work, I'm giving related talks and writing related articles -- see History section on the Research page.


All of the teaching materials for my formal semantics courses in Moscow since 2003 are online on my Teaching page, as are a number of my UMass courses in mathematics for linguists (some of those taught jointly with Vladimir Borschev) and a few of my UMass semantics seminars.

Useful Links

WHISC: What's Happening in South College. (News from the UMass Linguistics Department)
Computational Semantics: Compiled by Kyle Rawlins.
Resources for Research on Genitives/Possessives and Beyond: Compiled by Ji-yung Kim for Barbara H. Partee.
semanticsarchive.net : An archive "for exchanging papers of interest to natural language semanticists".
Semantics Web Resources: Compiled by Kai von Fintel.
Linguist List
Language Log

Background Information

B.A. 1961 in Mathematics with High Honors, Swarthmore College. Minors in Russian and Philosophy.
Ph.D. 1965, MIT, linguistics, minor in mathematics. Dissertation: Subject and Object in Modern English. Dissertation advisor: Noam Chomsky.

Taught at UCLA 1965-1972, first Linguistics, then Linguistics and Philosophy.
Joined UMass Amherst faculty in 1972. Professor since 1973, department head 1987-93. Emerita as of January 2004.
Taught at 1966, 1974, 1987, 1989, and 1991 LSA Summer Institutes.
Visiting Professorships at El Colegio de Mexico; Charles University, Prague; Moscow State University, Russian State Humanities University, Higher School of Economics, Moscow; University of Leipzig; University of Canterbury, Christchurch.
Board of Managers, Swarthmore College, 1990-2002.

Honors and Awards, Editorial boards and positions
Woodrow Wilson Fellow (Hon. '61), NSF Fellow (1961-65)
NSF grants, Co-P.I. or P.I., 1973-75, 1979-81, 1988-92, 1989-90, 1999-2003, 2004-08.
Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 1976-77
Chancellor's Medal, University of Massachusetts, 1977
Faculty Fellowship, University of Massachusetts, 1981-82
NEH Fellowship 1982-83, IREX Fellowships 1989, 1995, Fulbright Senior Lectureship 2000, 2005
President of Linguistic Society of America, 1986
Member (= Fellow), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 1984), National Academy of Sciences (elected 1989)
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (elected 1996), Linguistic Society of America (2005), Massachusetts Academy of Sciences (2008), Cognitive Science Society (2012)
Max Planck Research Award jointly with Hans Kamp 1992-95
Foreign Member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected 2002
Honorary doctorates: Swarthmore College (1989), Charles University (1992), Russian State Humanities University (2001), Copenhagen Business School (2005)
Past member of editorial boards for Language, Linguistic Inquiry, Semantikos, Linguistics & Philosophy (inception to 1982), The Linguistic Review, Theoretical Linguistics, Grammars, Revista di Linguistica, Natural Language Semantics (1992-2006)
Current member of editorial boards for: Linguistics and Philosophy (1998 -), Language and Linguistics Compass (2010 -), Academic Press Syntax and Semantics series  (2011- ), Semantics-Syntax Interface (2013 - ); Honorary editorial board, Natural Language Semantics (2007 -); Advisory Board, Journal of Semantics (2009 -)
Inaugural co-editor (with Mark Liberman) of new journal Annual Review of Linguistics (2012 - )

Personal Page - family links and more photos (not up to date)

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Last revised November 2, 2013.   Web page created by Barbara H. Partee, with help from John McCarthy, Paul de Lacy, Ji-Yung Kim, Florian Schwarz.