LING 492 - Topics in Linguistics
Fall 2019, Section 003 - The Simplicity of Complex Pronouns
Instruction Mode: Section 003 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Linguistics (LING)
Department: LSA Linguistics


Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 18 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


Linguists, philosophers, logicians, and computer scientists have long studied the problem of pronoun resolution: matching pronouns in context to individuals in the world. The problem seems simple when you restrict your data to cases like (1), but quickly gets more complex as cases like (2)-(5) are examined:

  1. Jasmine walked home. She unlocked the door and brought in her mail.
  2. Each woman approached her apartment.
  3. Each student who wrote a paper turned it in on time.
  4. Each student wrote a paper. They are in a pile on my desk.
  5. Each student wrote a paper.Most of them turned it in on time.
This seminar will pursue the novel theory that all pronouns are simple in form and meaning, and complex cases like those above can be explained via higher-order grammatical processes. Students will learn various extensions of first-order logic designed to capture such "exotic" types of pronouns. Finally, these logics will be given a compositional semantic theory.

Course Requirements:

Active participation in class is required, as well as presentations of student-selected research. The remainder of the work will be towards a final project, including a graded written proposal and an in-class presentation. This project may, for instance, be a research paper, a computer program, or an experimental proposal.

Intended Audience:

Graduate and undergraduate students in linguistics, philosophy, computer science, cognitive science, and related fields. A previous course in semantics or logic is recommended, but not required.

Class Format:

Twice weekly meetings featuring presentations and discussions.


LING 492 - Topics in Linguistics
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
003 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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