Universiteit van Amsterdam


Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

9 - 13 August 2021, Computational and Experimental Explanations in Semantics and Pragmatics

Date: 9 - 13 August 2021
Location: Utrecht
Deadline: Monday 15 February 2021

The field of natural language semantics has undergone what some refer to as an ‘experimental turn’ and is arguably currently undergoing a ‘computational turn’. By expanding the toolbox available to the semanticist, these two turns have the effect of expanding the phenomena that can be explained and the varieties of semantic explanation that can be offered.

For example, experimental methods can help distinguish between alternative explanations of semantic effects, e.g. whether to classify controversial phenomena as implicatures or presuppositions. Similarly, computational models of semantics can generate fine-grained and non-categorical predictions that can fruitfully be tested experimentally. And both kinds of methods can be used to ask questions about the emergence of semantic structures in language, including which factors influence their distribution and typology.

Given this wider toolbox and purview, we aim to gather a workshop to showcase exciting new work that develops new semantic explanations using experimental and computational methods, as well as to invite broader reflection on the methodology of semantics now and in its future.

Topics of potential interest include but are not limited to:
* Experimental semantics and pragmatics
* Graded/non-categorical semantic theories and explanations
* Information-theoretic measures and explanations in semantics and pragmatics
* Semantic universals
* Learnability and evolution of semantics and pragmatics
* Bayesian approaches to semantics and pragmatics
* Probing neural models for learned semantic representations
* Semantics in emergent communication protocols
* The methodology of semantics

We invite anonymized submission of abstracts of 2 pages (12 pt font; 1in or 2.5cm margins) — with an extra page for references of figures — on new research on topics related to those listed above by February 15.