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Conference Information

Full Title: QUantifiers And Determiners

Short Title: QUAD
Location: Toulouse, France
Start Date: 17-Jul-2017 - 21-Jul-2017
Contact: Christian Retoré
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: The compositional interpretation of determiners relies on quantifiers - in a general acceptation of this later term which includes generalised quantifiers, generics, definite descriptions i.e. any operation that applies to one or several formulas with a free variable, binds it and yields a formula or possibly a generic term (the operator is then called a subnector, following Curry). There is a long history of quantification in the Ancient and Medieval times at the border between logic and philosophy of language, before the proper formalisation of quantification by Frege.

A common solution for natural language semantics is the so-called theory of generalised quantifiers. Quantifiers like « some, exactly two, at most three, the majority of, most of, few, many, … » are all described in terms of functions of two predicates viewed as subsets.

Nevertheless, many mathematical and linguistic questions remain open.

On the mathematical side, little is known about generalised and vague quantifiers, in particular about their proof theory. On the other hand, even for standard quantifiers, indefinites and definite descriptions, there exist alternative formulations with choice functions and generics or subnectors (Russell’s iota, Hilbert-Bernays, eta, epsilon, tau). The computational aspects of these logical frameworks are also worth studying, both for computational linguistic software and for the modelling of the cognitive processes involved in understanding or producing sentences involving quantifiers.

On the linguistic side, the relation between the syntactic structure and its semantic interpretation, quantifier raising, underspecification, scope issues,… are not fully satisfactory. Furthermore extension of linguistic studies to various languages have shown how complex quantification is in natural language and its relation to phenomena like generics, plurals, and mass nouns.

Finally, and this can be seen as a link between formal models of quantification and natural language, there by now exist psycholinguistic experiments that connect formal models and their computational properties to the actual way human do process sentences with quantifiers, and handle their inherent ambiguity, complexity, and difficulty in understanding.

All those aspects are connected in the didactics of mathematics and computer science: there are specific difficulties to teach (and to learn) how to understand, manipulate, produce and prove quantified statements, and to determine the proper level of formalisation between bare logical formulas and written or spoken natural language.

Part of ESSLLI 2017, this workshop aims at gathering mathematicians, logicians, linguists, computer scientists to present their latest advances in the study of quantification.


- Christian Retoré (Université de Montpellier & LIRMM-CNRS)
- Mark Steedman (University of Edinburgh)
Linguistic Subfield: Computational Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Philosophy of Language; Semantics
LL Issue: 28.521

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