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RSOSF 2016 : Referential semantics one step further: Incorporating insights from conceptual and distributional approaches to meaning


When Aug 22, 2016 - Aug 26, 2016
Where Bolzano, Italy
Submission Deadline Feb 15, 2016
Notification Due Mar 31, 2016
Categories    NLP

Call For Papers


Referential semantics one step further: Incorporating insights from
conceptual and distributional approaches to meaning

ESSLLI 2016 Workshop

22-26 August 2016, Bolzano, Italy

Abstract submission deadline: February 15, 2016


Though referential approaches to semantics have proven very
successful at providing meaningful analyses for a wide range of natural
language data, some important phenomena, particularly involving the
lexicon, have eluded insightful treatment. Notions going beyond
reference and truth have been influencing referential semantics for
years, but the interest in incorporating results and ideas from
conceptually-oriented semantics into referential approaches is
noticeably increasing, as seen in the recent series of workshops
devoted to the issue (see also e.g. Hamm et al. 2009, Carlson 2010). In
parallel, interest has also grown in bringing related insights from
cognitively-informed distributional models of meaning into formal
semantics (Lenci 2008, Copestake & Herbelot 2012, Baroni et al. 2014).
The aim of this workshop is to promote a 3-way dialog among these
approaches in order to clarify natural points of contact and to generate
specific hypotheses about how to improve the explanatory capacity of
referential models in a principled and testable manner. We build from
referential models given the empirical evidence that reference (whether
to real or imaginary objects) is a fundamental part of linguistic
communication. Crucially, however, reference makes use of complex
descriptive content. Cognitive/conceptual approaches place greater
emphasis precisely on the richness of descriptive content and richer
theories of descriptive content clearly lead to richer accounts of
compositional phenomena (see e.g. Kamp & Partee 1995, Zwarts &
Winter 2000, Asher 2011, Del Pinal 2015, Gust & Umbach 2015,
McNally, to appear). On the other hand, cognitive models are laborious
to construct, difficult to implement/test, and face challenges in
grounding. Compositional distributional models can help with the
analysis of rich descriptive content but are not currently suited to
dealing with reference. We therefore consider the incorporation of
insights from conceptual and distributional models into referential
approaches, rather than the reverse, the most viable strategy.
Topics of interest for the workshop include, but are not limited to:

- Lexical content, including semantic decomposition and grammatically
salient semantic features
- Polysemy and “meaning extension” more generally
- Semantic composition of complex lexical content, including e.g. co-
- Alternative models of the notion of kind as used in referential
- Foundational issues
- Practical methodological and modeling issues

Since we want this workshop to promote extensive discussion in a still
underdeveloped area, and we want to encourage broad participation,
we welcome two kinds of submissions:

- Long (30 minute) papers, for which we solicit two-page abstracts (plus
references, at most 12pt).
- Short (10 minute) position statements or comments whose goal is to
provoke focused discussion, for which we solicit one-page abstracts
(plus references, at most 12pt).

For those who submit long papers: Please indicate whether you would
also be willing to give a position statement/comment as an alternative to
a long paper.

The abstract submission deadline is February 15, 2016. Submission is
through Easy Chair at:
Inquiries should be addressed to

Deadline for abstract submission: February 15, 2016
Author notification: March 31, 2016
Workshop dates: August 22-26, 2016

Barbara Partee
Marcus Kracht
Mark Steedman

Louise McNally (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Carla Umbach (ZAS Berlin / University of Cologne)

Guillermo Del Pinal, Marcus Kracht, Emar Maier, Louise McNally,
Barbara Partee, Antje Rossdeutscher, Galit W. Sassoon, Martin Schäfer,
Stephanie Solt, Mark Steedman, Carla Umbach

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