Rajesh Bhatt, UMass Amherst, Roumyana Pancheva, University of Southern California & Luis MIguel Toquero Pérez, University of Southern California

Ling C: Introduction to Formal Semantics

Roumyana Pancheva (University of Southern California) LuisMi Luis MIguel (Toquero Pérez) Rajesh Bhatt ()

This course provides an introduction to compositional semantics.

We will start with a discussion of meaning and ways of modeling meaning. Our focus will be on composition i.e. how the meanings of larger structures are built up from the meanings of atomic building blocks. We will introduce the idea of treating meanings of words as functions that combine with other meanings using a small set of primitive operations, primarily function application and conjunction.

Using this toolkit, we will handle intransitive and transitive predicates, quantification, scope, variable binding, definite descriptions and, time permitting, relative clauses.

We will conclude with a discussion of how other kinds of meaning such as presuppositions, implicatures, and use-conditional meanings fit into the system sketched in the preceding lectures.