Course Descriptions

16:730:513 Logic and Natural Language

  • Semester: Fall 2021
  • Instructor: Glanzberg, Michael | King, Jeffrey
  • Description:

    The general theme for this course is how expressions in language get their meanings. We will focus on three more specific questions about this theme. First, what kinds of expressions get what kinds of meanings? Are there special categories that go with special words? And if expressions are hard to see in a sentence, do they get special treatment? Also, what sorts of meanings are appropriate for sentences? Are these meanings propositions, or otherwise the same as intuitive semantic contents? Second, how do larger expressions get their meanings from smaller ones? In effect, how do we implement reasonable compositionality constraints? We will focus on what compositionally principles are appropriate for which sorts of expressions, and how this helps us to understand what kinds of semantic contents various expressions must have. Third, what metasemantic processes determine how expressions get their meanings? This especially pressing for supplementives, where pragmatics helps fix semantic values. What pragmatic mechanisms do that, and how do they generalize?