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Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics

Semantics and Philosophy of Language

11am-1pm on alternate Fridays (more or less)
Cobb 119

The subject of meaning in natural language is currently investigated both by philosophers and linguists, with different foci, methods, and emphases. The two are typically guided by different concerns and goals (e.g., linguists are central concerned with patterns of cross-linguistic variation and language acquisition; philosophers investigate the normativity of language and the metaphysical presuppositions of particular theoretical claims), but both groups can profit from cross-disciplinary discussions and mutual understanding of their different questions, methods and results. The topic of the workshop will be anaphora: the relation between referentially deficient terms (e.g., pronouns) and the context of linguistic information that is used to compute their meanings.

This workshop is organized through and supported by the Council on Advanced Studies Graduate Workshop program at the University of Chicago.

Midwest Workshop on Semantics

October 7, 2006
University of Chicago

The purpose of this workshop to generate discussion among and collaboration between researchers in the Midwest who are working on issues in natural language semantics by providing a forum for the presentation of new and original research in semantics and related areas, including (but not necessarily limited to) the syntax- semantics interface, pragmatics, philosophy of language, computer science, psycholinguistics and cognitive psychology.

Workshop on Scalar Meaning

May 19-20, 2006
University of Chicago

The goal of this workshop is to bring together a group of people who are actively engaged in research on expressions of gradability, comparison, measurement and degree to discuss their current work, in an effort to help develop our understanding of the semantics of these expressions, and of relation between their linguistic properties and cognitive representations of measurement.

Workshop on Ellipsis

January 5, 2006
Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Albuquerque, NM

This workshop assesses the empirical and analytical arguments for positing or not positing unpronounced syntactic structures in ellipsis, in an effort to both sharpen our understanding of the mechanisms that handle ellipsis and further develop our understanding of the syntax-semantics interface. A broader purpose of the workshop is to bring various conflicting claims in the literature about the nature of the data under close scrutiny, with the goal of establishing agreement about what facts a theory of ellipsis needs to explain, independent of framework-specific assumptions.