Frank Richter was invited for a talk at Laura Kallmeyer’s computational linguistics group at Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf on January 30, 2020. Frank’s presentation on Idiom Modification, based on work with Berit Gehrke and Sascha Bargmann, was investigating corpus data with a particular kind of modified idiom which displays its usual idiomatic reading but also a literal interpretation of that part of it that is targeted by modification. A classical example of this kind of construction is Ernst’s (1981) In spite of the treatment the other refugees received from the rescue party in the desert, he bit his thirst-swollen tongue and kept to himself. Here the modifier thirst-swollen does not belong to the idiomatic expression in which it is embedded (to bite one’s tongue), and it triggers a literal interpretation of the noun tongue, which at the same time belongs to the idiomatic expression. Ernst called these peculiar cases of idiom modification conjunction modification. Corpus studies reveal that the phenomenon is more widespread than one might expect, and the data are clearly a lot of fun.
In early April the international and German press and other media reported on the publication of the first software-generated scientific book, a volume which summarizes state of the art research on lithium-ion batteries and appeared with Springer Nature. One of the creators of Beta Writer, the software behind the book, is Niko Schenk, who works and teaches linguistics at IEAS and is simultaneously affiliated with the Applied Computational Linguistics Lab in the computer science department. We linguists at IEAS are all very excited about his work and its impact!
If you are interested in the technology and in the challenges posed by the automatic generation of research books, the introduction to the freely available electronic version of the book gives an overview on the ongoing research in this area.
Gerald Penn from the University of Toronto came back to Frankfurt this summer for an entire month of intense implementation work on CLLRS, the constraint language that gives a computational interpretation to Lexical Resource Semantics (LRS). LRS is the semantic framework that we use in teaching introductory semantics, and it is developed actively in various ongoing research projects. Continue reading Gerald Penn visiting (again)
Earlier this week the open access publisher Language Science Press published a complete collection of papers by Tilman Höhle, edited by Stefan Müller, Marga Reis and Frank Richter. Tilman Höhle wrote a significant number of highly influential papers on German grammar (and on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar) from the early 80s until the beginning of the millenium. Among the topics covered are Continue reading Tilman Höhle’s Gesammelte Schriften
Gerald Penn from the University of Toronto is staying at IEAS for three weeks to work with Gert Webelhuth, Manfred Sailer, Niko Schenk, and Frank Richter on several extensions of the TRALE grammar implementation system.
TRALE is at the heart of various long-term projects we are pursuing at the linguistics department. Most visibly, it provides the underlying software platform for the online grammars which Gert Webelhuth uses throughout his syntax courses. In order to make the graphical user interface of the online grammars in those classes more intuitive, Continue reading Gerald Penn Visits IEAS
The murder of Richard Montague, disruptive innovator in the thriving field of formal semantics (as he might be called by advertising companies today), is an unsolved police case. His theories of natural language, and their many successors, are of course still taught today, as any student in our semantics courses can tell you. For taking some time off from the intellectual effort that it takes to come to grips with logical languages, without leaving the topic altogether, there is an exciting option: A few years ago, Aifric Campbell published a murder mystery, The Semantics of Murder, which is constructed around the real-world events surrounding the life of Richard Montague. Here’s your exceptional chance to enjoy a structural analysis of a higher-order quantificational formula in a relaxing environment – as a student of semantics you might want to check out page 58 of the 2008 softcover edition right away!
Dianne Jonas is again heading north to Iceland, where she will be giving a talk on `The Morphosyntax of the verb tykja in Faroese – a Diachronic and Comparative Perspective’. Her presentation is part of a meeting organized by Háskóla Íslands og Fróðskaparseturs í
Færeyjum (University of Iceland and University of the Faroe Islands).
Janina Radó visited the Linguistics Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences from March 3rd through March 5th. On the first day, she and Oliver Bott from Universität Tübingen talked on Experimental evidence against underspecified representations of quantifier scope, followed by a two-day course on Experimental investigations into quantifier scope at Pázmány University Budapest.
Many tests of semantic properties that linguists use in their everyday life rely on reasoning. For example, if you know that all space aliens love chocolate, and you learn that Mary is a space alien, then you also know that Mary loves chocolate. This does not only tell you something important about space aliens, on closer inspection and after some serious linguistic analyzing it also reveals certain properties of the meaning of the determiner all. Continue reading Paper on Automatic Reasoning