Beth Dissertation Award

Conference on Formal Grammar


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Language and logic

Week 2 Time: 11:00 - 12:30 Room 249

Linguistic applications of mereology

Lucas Champollion


Content of the course:

Expressions like `John and Mary' or `the water in my cup' intuitively involve refer- ence to collections of individuals or substances. The parthood relation between these collections and their components is not modeled in standard formal semantics of nat- ural language (Montague, 1974; Heim and Kratzer, 1998), but it plays central stage in what is known as mereological or algebraic semantics (Link, 1998; Krifka, 1998; Landman, 2000). In this course, I present an introduction into algebraic semantics and selected applications involving plural, mass reference, measurement, aspect, and distributivity. I discuss issues involving ontology and philosophy of language, and how these issues interact with semantic theory depending on how they are resolved. Course script:

Lecture 1 - Mereology: general introduction; motivation of algebraic semantics; axiomatization of classical extensional mereology; comparison of mereology to set theory

Lecture 2 - Nouns: semantic theories of singular and plural; cumulative, divisive, quantized reference; group nouns; mass nouns; atomicity

Lecture 3 - Measurement: temporal and spatial trace; measure functions and degrees; measure nouns; pseudopartitives and the measurement puzzle

Lecture 4 - Verbs: event semantics; thematic roles; aspectual composition

Lecture 5 - Distributivity: lexical and phrasal distributivity; meaning postu- lates; D operator; leackage; nonatomic distributivity; covers


Heim, I. and Kratzer, A. (1998). Semantics in Generative Grammar. Blackwell Publishing.

Krifka, M. (1998). The origins of telicity. In Rothstein, S., editor, Events and grammar, pages 197-235. Kluwer, Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Landman, F. (2000). Events and plurality: The Jerusalem lectures. Kluwer, Dor- drecht, Netherlands.

Link, G. (1998). Algebraic semantics in language and philosophy. CSLI Publications, Stanford, CA.

Montague, R. (1974). Formal Philosophy: Selected Papers of Richard Montague. Edited and with an introduction by R. H. Thomason. Yale University Press, New Haven.

Minister of Science and Higher Education - Professor Barbara Kudrycka Marshall of Opole Province (Voivodeship) - Mr Józef Sebesta Rector of Opole University - Professor Krystyna Czaja Mayor of Opole - Mr Ryszard Zembaczyński RADIO OPOLE TVP Opole Polish Association for Logic and Philosophy of Science The INFTY Research Networking Programme The Association for Symbolic Logic European Network for Social Intelligence ZAK S.A. Cement Plant ODRA

Springer Princeton University Press Cambridge Scholars Publishers Oxford University Press Birkhauser