A2: "Formal and Distributional Lexical Semantics" (Nicholas Asher)

Mon 9.15-10.45, Tue 11.15-12.45, Wed 14.15-15.45, Thu 16.15-17.45
Room: 0.02


This course will provide an overview of formal approaches to lexical meaning and composition, in particular type driven approaches, and then compare how these type driven approaches might combine with a more "bottom up" view of lexical content that comes from distributional methods, now a very hot topic in computational linguistics. I will begin by surveying the origins of type driven approaches, contrasting a traditional "sense enumeration" lexicon with a more radical approach that says that different senses of a word come about from the word's context, in particular the other words that it combines with during composition but also the discourse context in which the word is used. I will examine prior proposals for departing from the sense enumeration lexicon, in particular the generative lexicon of Pustejosvky and the approaches of coercion by Nunberg before going on to describe Type Composition Logic of Asher (2011) in which this alternative view is made formally explicit. I will illustrate TCL's approach to coercions and copredication as case studies of how a type driven theory might work, and I will also draw on recent work by Claudia Maienborn and her colleagues in which TCL is used as additional examples of the theory at work. I will then concentrate on the interesting parallels between TCL's approach and distributional semantic methods and examine how these may be fruitfully combined to provide a rigorous theory of lexical meaning with potentially wide empirical coverage.

Lecturer: Nicholas Asher, IRIT