620 Formal Semantics (3 units)

Spring 2011


TuTh 1:00-2:15 - Hasbrouck Lab Add 106


Seth Cable []


This course is a continuation of LING 610. We will seek a deeper understanding of the tools of linguistic semantics and the ways that they can yield insights into natural language meanings. We will explore primary literature in the field of semantics, literature which will both (a) introduce students to a more expansive set of formal and analytic tools, as well as (b) introduce students to certain fundamental results and debates in the field. The selection of both topics and literature will in part be guided by the interests and concerns of the students, but some possible options include:

  • Generalized Quantifier Theory
  • Type-Shifting and the Interpretation of NPs
  • Donkey Anaphora and Quantificational Variability
  • Quantificational Scope and Indefinites
  • Modality
  • Focus
  • Questions
  • and Exhaustivity.

While the content of the class will draw heavily from readings and articles distributed in class, the following texts are also recommended:Heim and Kratzer's (1998) Semantics in Generative Grammar; Chierchia and McConnell-Ginet's (2000) Meaning and Grammar.

For Spring 2011 the general theme of the class will be to explore various phenomena that lead to an enrichment of our basic ontology of types. Some of the key topics that we will explore include:

  • Propositional attitudes
  • Tense and Aspect
  • Linguistic representation of world/time variables
  • Modals and Conditionals
  • Comparatives and Other Degree Constructions
  • The Basics of Situations in Semantics