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: www.ling.upenn.edu/~champoll/champollion-esslli-2012.pdf.
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
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.