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Language, Logic and Information


Crash Course on Computational Semantics, Aurelie Herbelot, June 3-5, 2019

* Lecture 1 – Distributional semantics as lexical representation
June 3 (Mon) : 11:00-12:45 : JK 2-3 – 109 
This lecture will give an introduction to distributional semantics as a representation of the lexicon. Core techniques will be introduced to understand ‘traditional’ statistical models as well as their neural network counterparts. Evaluation strategies will be presented, both for the word and phrase level.

* Lecture 2 – Distributional semantics beyond the lexicon
June 4 (Tue)  :  11:00-12:45: D25 – 003
This lecture will introduce techniques for modeling aspects of language beyond the lexicon. We will cover three topics: a) compositionality, both in traditional and neural models; b) the representation of function words; c) the relation of distributional models to the world, both at a conceptual and perceptual level.

* Seminar – Speaker-dependence in distributional semantics
June 5 (Wed) :  11:00-12:45 : JK 2-3 – 019
One long-standing puzzle in semantics is the ability of speakers to refer successfully in spite of holding different models of the world. This puzzle is famously illustrated by the cup/mug example: if two speakers disagree on whether a specific entity is a cup or a mug (i.e. if their interpretation functions differ), how can they align so that the entity can still be talked about? Another puzzle, coming to us through lexical and distributional semantics, is that word meaning seems to be infinitely flexible across utterances, indeed much more so than the traditional notion of sense would have it. This makes the alignment process between speakers even more unpredictable. In this talk, I will report on a series of experiments aiming at investigating differences in language use through distributional semantics techniques. I will sketch what such differences can tell us about the ability of speakers to align at a model-theoretic level.

Attendance is free, but please do register via this form :

You can read more about Aurelie’s research here: https://aurelieherbelot.net

Aurelie is available for individual meetings on June 3-5. Please contact the student hosts to arrange a meeting.

Student hosts: Martijn van der Klis  and  Sonya Nikiforova

Faculty host: Tejaswini Deoskar