Gillian Ramchand - Semantics seminar II


Prof. Gillian Ramchand (CASTL University of Tromsø, Norway)


This course builds on the introductory course to formal semantics organised from February 28th, 2011 till March, 4th 2011 taught by Professor Rick Nouwen (University of Utrecht). During these lectures, a number of basic issues and theories in formal semantics were introduced and the foundational tools of predicate logic, semantic compositionality (including type theory) and truth conditional judgements were established.

The course proposed here will use the tools established in the introductory course to examine some of the central semantic results and controversies in the interpretation of natural language syntactic structures that have emerged in the last 20 years. Topics such as quantification and intensionality, have been the traditional bread and butter of introductions to semantics because of their prominence in the history of the field and in defining the basic formal toolbox. However, even extremely basic issues of tense and event structure compositionality often remain undiscussed even after a year long course in semantics. The questions of syntax-semantic mapping in actual practice in generative grammar have become increasingly sophisticated and an ability to understand the semantic compositionality issues internal to the VP, DP or AP have been central in the field. And yet, basic introductory courses in semantics do not cover these now fairly mature and interesting areas.

This mini course will attempt to give an introduction (with extensive references) to the core areas of syntax-semantics, bringing together the results of the last 20 years. By the end of the week, the students should be equipped to read the most recent work in the field that build on these basic results and which are becoming more and more widely presupposed. The course will also allow students whose primary area is syntax to understand the compositionality issues that could potentially affect their own analyses in these broad domains, and to have the tools to bring semantic evidence to bear on the kinds of syntactic representations they propose.

The course will be lecture based, but will incorporate daily discussion sessions based on an assigned `problem’ each day.

While this course is meant as a follow up on Rick Nouwen’s 2011 class, the topics which will be addressed will be different. Having taken part in the first part of the course is thus neither a requirement nor a necessity. For the participants who would nevertheless wish to enquire about the content of the first course, the handouts can be found here.


Lecture 1:                 12.11.2012  -  9.00-13.00

Event Structure, Aktionsart and Verb Argument Composition

Lecture 2:                 13.11.2012  -  9.00-13.00

Tense, Auxiliaries and (Outer) Aspect

Lecture 3:                 14.11.2012  -  9.00-12.00

Scalar Structure Across Categories

Lecture 4:                 14.11.2012 -  13.30-16.30

DP internal Composition: Mass vs. Count,  Measures, Groups, Referentiality

Lecture 5:                 16.11.2012 -  9.00-11.00

The Role of Context in the Grammar


Universiteit Gent - Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte - Blandijnberg 2

Room: Grote Vergaderzaal - Blandijnberg 2 - 3rde verdieping  


Participation is free, but those wishing to attend should register by sending an email to amelie.rocquet(at) before 5 November 2012.