610 Semantics and Generative Grammar (4 units)

Fall 2008


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




Christopher Potts []


This course's overarching goal is to introduce the tools and techniques of compositional semantic interpretation. We will seek an intuitive understanding of compositionality, and then we will evaluate a variety of formalisms against this concept. We will fairly quickly move to lambda calculi, powerful theories of functions that provide a natural basis for assigning denotations to syntactic constituents of all kinds. Our task will then be to build linguistic theories within this very broad logical space. We will, in addition, explore the basics of pragmatic theory, so that our analyses properly take into account the differences between narrowly semantic meanings and those that arise as part of language use.


Weekly homework assignments, two take-home exams, weekly questions/hunches, class participation, short final squib


Linguistics graduate student or permission from the instructor