The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax/Semantics Square 5/9 - Robert Henderson

Speaker: Robert Henderson (UCSC)
Title: A corpus-based approach to quantifier scope disambiguation
Time: Monday, May 9, 11:30am
Location: 32-D461

(Joint work with Scott AnderBois and Adrian Brasoveanu)

Most investigations of quantifier scope are concerned with the range of possible scopes for sentences with multiple quantifiers. Instead, this study examines the actual scopes, i.e., the pragmatics of quantifier scope disambiguation. Although actual usage facts fall outside of semantics proper, we are interested in them because they too are facts about natural language interpretation. Moreover, they are facts which provide indirect evidence about the semantics of quantifiers, e.g. if “some” has a stronger preference for narrow scope than “a”, then their semantic representations should arguably be different. To address these questions, we assembled a corpus of sentences from LSAT logic puzzles and tagged it for quantifier scope. In this talk I’ll present our corpus and compare several models of quantifier scope disambiguation.