Word meaning and concepts, Spring 2011

Spring 2011 | Instructor: Katrin Erk | Tuesday and Thursday, 2-3:30 | PAR 10 | Blackboard

Word meanings are hard to characterize. There are cases in which word meanings are systematically related and can be derived systematically, in particular through metonymy. But beyond metonymy, dictionaries do not even agree on how many senses different words have.

There has been work on characterizing word meaning in different areas: lexicography, theoretical linguistics, cognitive linguistics, psychology, philosophy of language, computational linguistics, and artificial intelligence. In this graduate seminar, we will study approaches to word meaning characterization from these different areas, looking at their commonalities and differences.

Some of the topics of the readings will be:

Note that this is not a computational seminar, though we will include computational approaches in the discussion. The main part of the grade will be determined through a course project, which may be theoretical, a corpus study, or a computational study.

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