Schedule: seminar on word meaning in context




This schedule is subject to change.

Week 1

  • Jan 19  Introduction and course overview

Part 1: Phenomena                               

  • Jan 21 Tests for sense distinctions, and their problems.

Week 2

Week 3

  • Feb 2 The view from annotation projects: problems with sense annotation, and alternative meaning characterizations
  • Feb 4 Background: Concepts as prototypes or exemplars, and their connection to word meaning.
    • Reading: Greg Murphy, Big Book of Concepts, chapter 3 through page 60, available on Canvas.
    • If you are curious to hear why the "classical approach" was rejected, part of chapter 2 of the Big Book of Concepts is also on Canvas

Week 4

Week 5

  • Feb 16 Class canceled due to inclement weather

  • Feb 18 Class canceled due to inclement weather

Week 6

Part 2: Representations                               

  • Feb 23 Class canceled due to inclement weather

  • Feb 25 Generalized event knowledge 

Week 7

Week 8

  • Mar 9 Asher's type-compositional semantics.
    • Reading: Nicholas Asher, Selectional restrictions, types and categories, Journal of Applied Logic 2014. Available on Canvas. We read pages 74-83, ending with the paragraph "So to conclude".
    • Due: Initial project descriptions, around 2 pages.

  • Mar 11 Zeevat et al: Representing the Lexicon. 2017, In: Bridging Formal and Conceptual Semantics. Selected papers of BRIDGE-14.

Week 9

Spring break

Week 10

Week 11

Week 12

Week 13

  • Apr 13 Background: Bayesian generative models in computational linguistics, in semantics and pragmatics (lecture)
    • No assigned reading, but if you would like to read more, check out section 2 of the "Probabilistic Trend in Semantics and Pragmatics" draft on Canvas

  • Apr 15  Situtation description systems (lecture)
    • No assigned reading, but this is based on Erk and Herbelot (draft): "How to marry a star: probabilistic constraints for meaning in context". I'll put a current draft on Canvas. 

Week 14

Part 3: Challenges                               

  • Apr 20 Can the meaning of a word vary arbitrarily?
    • Reading: Recanati, Literal Meaning, chapter 9 -- available on Canvas. We'll focus on sections 9.1 through 9.3 and 9.7.

  • Apr 22 The immediacy of world knowledge

Week 15

  • Apr 27 What kind of meaning should we try to characterize?
    • Reading: Westera and Boleda, Don't blame distributional semantics if it can't do entailment
      This paper touches on several themes we have discussed in the semester: whether it is possible to distinguish different senses of a word; what distributional models of meaning say at the lexical level, and whether they can be helpful at the level of larger expressions. It also touches on the problem of reference, which we haven't discussed a lot so far.

  • Apr 29 Conventions in a community of speakers, and how they affect the lexicon

Week 16

  • May 4: Discussion of course projects
  • May 6: Discussion of course projects

Final project report due: Monday May 17, end of day
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