25 December 2013

Call for Papers: Models in formal Semantics and Pragmatics

                                     Workshop held at ESSLLI 26

                                 August 18-22, Tuebingen, Germany


 * Magdalena Kaufmann, University of Connecticut

* Stefan Kaufmann, University of Connecticut

Invited Speakers:

* Michael Glanzberg, Northwestern University

* Stanley Peters, Stanford University

* Thomas Ede Zimmermann, Frankfurt University


Workshop Information:

 Whatever happened to "model-theoretic" semantics?  Since Montague’s groundbreaking work and throughout much of its history, the field of formal semantics (and later pragmatics) was characterized by the use of models - abstract mathematical structures in which linguistic expressions are interpreted and which serve as the backdrop for stating generalizations about their semantic properties and relations.

Over the last couple of decades, however, the once-prominent status of models has been eroding. In the research literature, explicitly defined fragments and models were the norm in the early days (Partee 1975, 1976; Dowty, 1979), but are now the exception rather than the rule. In teaching, one of the most widely used textbooks, Heim and Kratzer (1998), makes no mention of models, in stark contrast with early standard works like Dowty, Wall and Peters (1981). Aside from such signs of waning interest, there is a small but formidable body of work which actively questions the status of models and finds them to be of limited use at best (Lepore 1983; Higginbotham 1988; Zimmermann 1999, 2011; Glanzberg, t.a.).

Such explicit reflections are rare, however. The overall decline of models in the field is not driven by a general debate, let alone consensus. Nor is the turn away from models a turn towards some non-model-theoretic alternative. What we do see instead is a tendency to stay loosely within the model-theoretic framework, but to enrich it with notions and tools whose formal properties remain largely implicit. 

The goal of this workshop is to promote and generate discussion of the past, present, and future of models in natural-language semantics and pragmatics, specifically the implications of their apparent demise for the foundations and goals of the field. Topics for discussion include, but are in no way limited to the following:

* What are models, anyway?  Commitments about language, reality, and the nature of meaning that a model-theoretic approach to semantic analysis implies. The (special?) status of possible worlds and their relationship to extensional models.

 * What are models good for? Linguistic phenomena or aspects of meaning n whose analysis a model-theoretic approach has been, or would be, crucial or at least beneficial. The (potential) use of models in treating meaning as variable (e.g., in the analysis of uncertainty about language, or in cross-linguistic and diachronic comparative semantics).

* Where do models get in the way? Desiderata for semantic theory and limitations of the model-theoretic approach. Risks and side effects of specific methods associated with the model-theoretic approach (e.g., meaning postulates).

* Are we safe without models? Advantages and potential pitfalls of innovative uses of formal techniques or metalinguistic expressions, whose repercussions are underexplored (various kinds of states and events, partial functions, etc.)

* What are the alternatives? 

Workshop Format: 

The workshop is part of ESSLLI and open to all ESSLLI participants. It will consist of five 90-minute sessions held over five consecutive days in the second week of ESSLLI. The three invited talks are allotted one hour each, including discussion. On the first day, the workshop organizers will give a 30-minute introduction to the topic. This leaves room for eight submitted papers of 30 minutes each, including discussion.

Submission Procedure:

Authors are invited to submit an abstract of up to three pages, including examples and/or references (single-spaced, at least 11pt font, on US letter of A4 paper with margins at least 1in or 2.5cm on all sides, in .pdf, .txt, .doc or .odt format). Abstracts must be submitted by February 15, 2014, electronically at the following address:



 Abstracts will be reviewed by members of the program committee and, where appropriate, outside reviewers. Reviewing will be anonymous unless authors include self-identifying information in their abstracts. Decisions will be made by the program committee and announced to authors on April 15, 2014.

Important Dates:

* Feb 15, 2014: Submission deadline

* Apr 15, 2014: Notification of acceptance 

* Jun 15, 2014: End of ESSLLI early registration period

* Aug 18-22, 2014: Workshop

Contact Information:

* Magdalena Kaufmann

* Stefan Kaufmann

COLANG 2014 at UT, Arlington

Colleen M. Fitzgerald writes:

I am writing you to ask for your help and support for CoLang 2014: the Institute on Collaborative Language Research, taking place at The University of Texas at Arlington in June and July 2014. CoLang (previously known as InField) allows students and faculty to acquire or refine cutting edge skills in language documentation, revitalization and field linguistics, to network with established international experts in these areas, and to gain hands-on experience in working with endangered and underdescribed language communities through field methods offerings. An exciting development this year is our partnership with the Linguistic Society of America. Part of this co-sponsorship includes LSA scholarships to CoLang 2014, creating expanded opportunities for academic training in language documentation and field linguistics for faculty and students, including undergraduates.  

As we continue our planning and advertising for the upcoming summer, I'd like to ask your help in raising awareness of CoLang 2014 and in supporting the LSA and its commitment to endangered language documentation and revitalization.  I will be holding office hours at the LSA on January 3rd and 4th, where we will have fliers and posters for you to take home to your university.  I will be available to answer any questions that you or your faculty or students might have about attending CoLang.  The two-week session, from June 16-27, 2014 consists of workshops in aspects of language documentation and revitalization and it costs $1450, which covers registration, room and board.  Many attendees stay on for an additional four-weeks, which includes enrollment in a four-week field methods class, as well as the two weeks of workshops. Costs for the entire six-week session is $4300 (registration, room and board).  The field methods classes give participants a firsthand experience in working with speakers of an endangered language to document and analyze the language. With three to four field methods classes scheduled, CoLang 2014 will be able to serve a large number of interested participants. This year, for the first time, we plan to offer a Spanish-medium field methods class featuring a language of Mexico.

The CoLang website is up at here and we expect registration to open soon.  Online scholarship applications from the Linguistic Society of America and for CoLang 2014 internal scholarships will shortly be available; the due date for consideration for both is February 17, 2014.  Full scholarship information and updates as they occur are here.

We hope that you will join our many sponsors, including the National Science Foundation, the Linguistic Society of America, the Endangered Language Fund, and The University of Texas at Arlington, in making CoLang 2014 a significant step in the documentation of our vanishing linguistic heritage,  a valuable training ground for emerging linguists to acquire documentation, revitalization, and field linguistics skills, and a place where established linguists can expand their repertoire or retool for their next research projects.

Prosody Bootcamp in January

Kristine Yu writes:

You are cordially invited to a prosody bootcamp on **Friday, 1/17 -
Sunday, 1/19** right before the start of the Spring semester. (Note:
date change due to popular demand). This is a component of activities
this year for the Five Colleges Prosody Community Mellon Mutual
Mentoring grant. There will be plenary lectures, research talks, and tutorials, all geared towards stimulating collaborative research on
prosody. We welcome anyone interested in learning more about prosody.

While most of the speakers at the bootcamp are from the local Five
College community, I'm delighted to share that we will also be joined
by our regional colleagues from Boston: members of the BU-MIT-Simmons Prosody Lab and Mohinish Shukla (UMass Boston).

***IMPORTANT: For head-counting, food-ordering purposes, please send me a note if you are planning to come by JANUARY 6, 2014. *****


FRIDAY JAN 17 (Math Lounge, UMASS)

9:00-11:00 Lyn Frazier/Chuck Clifton plenary: prosody/sentence processing
11:00-11:30 Break
11:30-12:30 Research talks
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:00 Research talks
3:00-3:30 Break
3:30-6:00 Tutorial 1: working with f0 and voice quality in the
speech signal; intro
to ToBI transcription (Kristine Yu)
6:30 on Dinner party somewhere off-campus

SATURDAY JAN 18 (Math Lounge, UMASS)

9:00-11:00 Lisa Selkirk/Angelika Kratzer plenary: prosody/information structure
11:00-11:30 Break
11:30-12:30 Research talks
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:00 Research talks
2:00-3:00 John Kingston plenary: tone
3:00-3:30 Break
3:30-6:00 Tutorial 2: empirical methods for prosodic research
(Meghan Armstrong, Mara Breen)
6:30 on Informal dinner parties


Morning brunch in Northampton
Collaborative group discussions

Call for papers: CCLCC 2014

Computational, Cognitive, and Linguistic Approaches to the Analysis of Complex Words and Collocations (CCLCC 2014)


Workshop organized as part of the European Summer School on Logic, Language and Information ESSLLI 2014 (http://www.esslli2014.info/), August 11-15 2014 (ESSLLI first week), Tübingen, Germany

Workshop Organizers:

Erhard Hinrichs and Verena Henrich

Workshop Purpose:

The analysis of complex words, compounds, and collocations has received considerable attention in linguistics, cognitive science and computational linguistics. Research on these phenomena concerns theoretical, experimental, and applied aspects relevant to all three disciplines. This diverse and interdisciplinary perspective lends itself particularly well to an ESSLLI workshop on this topic.

The aim of the workshop is to stimulate a cross-disciplinary discussion that will be of mutual benefit to the three fields sketched above and that will provide a forum for junior and senior researchers alike.

Relevant topics for the workshop include, but are not limited to, the following issues:

- Cognitive and computational models for the interpretation of compounds and collocations
- Experimental and computational methods for the analysis of compounds and collocations
- Statistical models for the identification and classification of collocations
- Word formation, lexical semantics, and semantic compositionality
- Word formation at the interface of morphology and syntax

Submission Details:

Authors are invited to submit an EXTENDED ABSTRACT for a 30-minute presentation (including discussion). Submissions should not exceed 3 pages, including figures, data, and references. The submissions will be reviewed anonymously by the workshop's program committee. The abstracts accepted for presentation will appear in the workshop web site and be published as part of the ESSLLI 2014 proceedings. In addition, we are considering the possibility of compiling a journal special issue from selected papers presented at the workshop.

Please upload your submission at EasyChair:

Workshop Format:

The workshop is part of ESSLLI and is open to all ESSLLI participants. It will consist of five 90-minute sessions held over five consecutive days in the first week of ESSLLI. There will be 2-3 slots for paper presentation and discussion per session. On the first day the workshop organizer will give an introduction to the topic.

All workshop participants, including the authors, will be required to register for ESSLLI.

Important Dates:

- December 23: First Call for Papers
- January 11: Second Call for Papers
- February 11: Last Call for Papers
- March 8: *Deadline for Submissions*
- April 21: Notification of Acceptance
- August 11-15: Workshop

Frazier a Winner!

Lyn Frazier was announced as one of two winners for the iPad Mini Raffle put on by the UMass Amherst Community Campaign. Congratulations Lyn!