Semantics 1, SoSe 2019 (Sailer)
Contents
General information
Course description
Semantics is the study of the (literal) meaning of words and sentences. The meaning of a sentence is usually predictable from the words in the sentence and its syntactic structure. Yet, this relationship between form and meaning is not a simple one-to-one mapping. Instead, it is rich in ambiguities, pleonastic marking and elements without any identifiable meaning contribution. We will work on an account that is founded on classical tools of semantic research but still directly addresses these empirical challenges. After the class, the participants will be able to identify - and partly analyze - interesting semantic phenomena in naturally occurring texts. They will have acquired a basic working knowledge in formal logic, which they will be able to apply in the description of meaning
Time and place
- Tuesday 08:15-9.45
- Starting: 16.10.2018
- Room: IG 251 (IG-Farben-Haus)
Olat course
Direct link: https://olat-ce.server.uni-frankfurt.de/olat/auth/RepositoryEntry/5912854558
Password: Please send an e-mail to the lecturer (sailer@em.uni-frankfurt.de)
Modules
- Lehramt Englisch (L2/5, L3): FW 2A, FW 2B
- BA English Studies: 3.4(1)
- BA Empirische Sprachwissenschaft: K 6.1
Contact
Manfred Sailer
e-mail: sailer@em.uni-frankfurt.de
office: IG 3.214
office hours: contact via e-mail!
www: http://user.uni-frankfurt.de/~sailer/index.htm
Course requirements
L2 and L5
- regular attendance
- pass all assignment sheets
- Modulprüfung (optional): 90 min written exam (2 CP): 23.7.2019, 11am-1pm
L3
- regular attendance
- pass all assignment sheets
- Modulprüfung (optional):
- 20 min. oral exam
- not possible: kleine Hausabeit
MSc Wirtschaftspädagogik
- regular attendance
- do all assignment sheets
- Modulprüfung (1CP): Commented literary scenario
BA English Studies
- regular attendance
- pass all assignment sheets
- literary scenario:
- Part 1: Extract 15 ambiguous sentences from the text such that all types of ambiguity covered in class are represented provide unambiguous paraphrases of the readings determine the type of ambiguity
- Part 2:
- Define a formal model consisting of 3 characters from your text, which contains 2 properties, 1 2-place relation
- Formulate 2 atomic formulae and compute their truth value.
- Formulate 4 complex formulae with at least 1 logical connective in each and compute their truth value.
- Formulate 1 complex formula with at least 2 logical connectives in
it and compute its truth value.
BA Empirische Sprachwissenschaft
K 6.1
- regular attendance
- Modulprüfung (obligatory): 90min. written exam: 23.7.2019, 11am-1pm
En 4.1
not possible: You have done this course as part of K6.1, so you can directly do constraint-based Semantics 2.
DH 6.1
not possible: You have done this course as part of K6.1, so you can directly do constraint-based Semantics 2.
Erasmus 6 CP
- regular attendance
- pass the assignment sheets
- 90min. written exam: 23.7.2019, 11am-1pm
- small literary scenario:
- Part 1: Extract 4 ambiguous sentences from the text such that different types of ambiguity covered in class are represented provide unambiguous paraphrases of the readings determine the type of ambiguity
- Part 2:
- Define a formal model consisting of 3 characters from your text, which contains 2 properties, 1 2-place relation
- Formulate 2 atomic formulae and compute their truth value.
- Formulate 2 complex formulae with at least 1 logical connective in each and compute their truth value.
- Formulate 1 complex formula with at least 2 logical connectives in it and compute its truth value.
The grade will be determined by the result of the written exam.
Meeting 5
Computing the truth value of complex formulae
Connectives
The following video presents the step-by-step computation of the truth value of two formulae with connectives. The example uses a model based on Shakespeare's play Macbeth. The two formulae are:
- ¬ king(lady-macbeth)
- king(duncan) ∨ king(lady-macbeth)
The next video shows how the truth value of a more complex formula can be computed. The example contains two connectives:
kill(malcom,lady-macbeth) ∨ ¬thane(macbeth)
The video shows two different methods: top down and bottom up.
The next video shows how the truth value of a more complex formula can be computed. The example contains two connectives:
kill(malcom,lady-macbeth) ∨ ¬thane(macbeth)
The video shows two different methods: top down and bottom up.
Truth tables
Truth tables are also useful to compute the truth value of complex formulae. This is shown in the following podcast, created by Lisa Günthner.
Back to the course page.
Meeting 3
Computing the truth value of atomic formulae
The following video presents the step-by-step computation of the truth value of two atomic formulae. The example uses a model based on Shakespeare's play Macbeth. The two formulae are:
- kill2(macbeth,duncan)
- kill2(lady-macbeth,macbeth)
Back to the course page.
Meeting 2
Our literary scenario
Literary scenario for this course: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, wikipedia summary at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame_(1996_film)
Why it is too difficult to go directly from language to the world
The following architecture is extremely useful when talking about semantics:
- A natural language expressions: Harry meets Hagrid.
- ... is mapped to some expression from a formal language (here: predicate logic): meet2(harry,hagrid)
- This logical expression is then interpreted with respect to our scenario/world: The formula meet2(harry,hagrid) is true, because, in our scenario, Harry meets Hagrid.
The following properties of natural language make it useful to use the intermediate step of a logical language:
- The same expression can have different meanings (ambiguity).
- Different expressions can have the same meaning (synonyms, paraphrases)
Find examples for the above-mentioned properties (ambiguity, synonymy, paraphrases).
Check your answers
1. one form, two meaingns: Ambiguity: (see earlier in this meeting and the slides of last week's meeting)
1.a Ambiguous words: date (fruit or point in time); bank (financial institute or bank of a river)
1.b. Ambiguous sentences: Sycorax and Prospero were stranded on the island with their children.
2. two forms, one meaning:
2.a Synonymous words: couch - sofa; instant - moment
2.b Paraphrases:
- active-passive pairs: Prospero set Ariel free. - Ariel was set free by Prospero.
- cleft sentences: Prospero set Ariel free. - It was Prospero who set Ariel free.
- different ways to express a possessor: Sycorax was the first inhabitant of the island. and Sycorax was the island's first inhabitant.
Towards a formal model
First steps
The following material is an adapted form of material created by student participants of the project e-Learning Resources for Semantics (e-LRS). Involved participants: Lisa, Marthe, Elisabeth, Isabelle.
You can think of building a formal model like being the producer of a film who has to collect everything that should be included in the film.
Here is a very simple story from which we can derive an example model.
The universe and name symbols
Task: Assume three individuals from our Game of Thrones-scenario.
Formally we collect the individuals of our model in a so-called universe (U). For the fairy-tale story, we can define the universe as follows:
U = {Redridinghood, Grandmother, Wolf}
Do a similar definition for your own scenario.
We can introduce name symbols for some of our individuals. For example: redridinghood, grandmother, wolf.
We link the name symbols to the individuals in our modal. To do this, we introduce the interpretation function. We will written the interpretation function as as I.
This function can be defined in the following way:
I(grandmother) = Grandmother
I(redridinghood) = Red Riding Hood
I(wolf) = Wolf
Properties and predicate symbols
A property is a specification that either holds of an individual or not. In the little story, having a big mouth is a property of the Wolf, but of noone else in the story. Being female holds of both Little Red Riding Hood and the Grandmother.
We can think of a property as the set of individuals that have this property. Under this view, the property of being female would be the set {Redridinghood, Grandmother}.
Alternatively it is convenient to think of properties as 1-place relations. Under this view, the property of being female would be a set of lists of length 1. This is what the property of being female then looks like: { <Redridinghood>, <Grandmother> }
Task: Using your Game of Thrones universe, define two properties in the format of 1-place relations.
Just like before, we want to have symbols that we can use in the logical language. For our example, let's take the predicate symbols female_1 and has-big-mouth_1. There interpretation is defined as follows:
I(female_1) = { < x > | x is female } = { <Redridinghood>, <Grandmother> }.
Task: For each of your properties, invent an appropriate predicate symbol. Define its interpretation.
Meeting 1
Literary scenario for this course: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, wikipedia summary at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame_(1996_film)