29th European Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information
University of Toulouse (France), 17-28 July, 2017

Super Semantics

Philippe Schlenker, Emmanuel Chemla

Language and Logic (Foundational)

Second week, from 9:00 to 10:30


While formal semantics has been a success story of contemporary linguistics, it has been narrowly focused on spoken language. The course introduces to systematic extensions of its research program: beyond spoken language, beyond human language, and beyond language. First, the development of sign language semantics calls for systems that integrate logical semantics with a rich iconic component. This semantics-with-iconicity is also crucial to understand the interaction between co-speech gestures and logical operators, an important point of comparison for sign languages. Second, five recent articles have proposed analyses of the semantics/pragmatics of primate alarm calls, an important topical extension of semantics. Finally, recent research has developed a semantics/pragmatics for music, based in part on insights from iconic semantics. In each area, two unifying questions arise about (i) the division of labor between syntax, semantics and pragmatics, and (ii) the need for a semantics for gradient/iconic representations.