Current & Recent Teaching

LING 106 - Introduction to Formal Linguistics (Every Spring)
In this course, we study formal mathematical tools for the analysis of language that help us understand and classify the complex structures and rules that constitute language and grammar. These tools include set theory, formal language and automata theory, as well as aspects of logic, and will be applied to the syntax and semantics of natural language. In addition to learning something about formal tools for analyzing language, this will also enhance your general skills in analytical reasoning. The class is offered in an active learning format (called SAIL at Penn, for Structured Active In-Class Learning), with short video lectures and quizzes to be completed before class, and problem solving group work during class time.
LING 455 - Experiments in the Study of Meaning
Syllabus (2018 version) - Offered in the spring (Currently taught by Anna Papafragou)
_________________ This course provides an introduction to the study of meaning in natural language. The first part of the course introduces a formal perspective on meaning in terms of truth conditions as well as the basic analytical tools necessary for this, primarily building on set theory and logic. The main part of the course covers a range of empirical investigations of phenomena related to meaning using experimental methods from psycholinguistics. Topics include a selection of issues on the semantics-pragmatics interface, such as conversational implicatures, presuppositions, reference resolution and perspective taking, and quantifier scope. Students will carry out a class project, possibly in groups, to develop (and, if possible, carry out) an experimental study of meaning- related phenomena of their own. Relevant tools for experimental design and the implementation of such studies will be introduced along the way. This provides students with the opportunity to engage in a scientific investigation of their own early on in their undergraduate career in a domain that is easily accessible and yet central to the general enterprise of the cognitive sciences.
LING 380/580 - Semantics I
Syllabus (2019)
This course provides an introduction to formal semantics for natural language. The central issue is how the meaning of a sentence can be derived from the meanings of its parts. We will discuss various of the aspects central to meaning composition, including function application, modification, quantification, and binding. We will also introduce some basic formal tools that are useful for semantic analysis, including set theory, propositional logic, and predicate logic. Throughout, the focus is on hands-on work so that you learn how to DO semantic analysis. The aim is for you to be able to develop formal semantic analyses of natural language phenomena and to be able to read and understand the current research literature.
LING 581 - Semantics II
Syllabus (2019)
This course continues the introduction to formal semantics for natural language from LING 580 and pre- supposes the materials covered there, as well as familiarity with the textbook (Heim and Kratzer 1998). One part of the course expands the semantic system developed there to include intensional constructions, e.g., ones involving modals, attitude verbs, and conditionals. We will introduce the relevant formal tools, such as intensional logic and different versions of possible worlds semantics, and investigate natural language phenomena in light of them to decide what type of system is most adequate for modeling meaning in natural language. As in the first part of the course sequence, the focus is on hands-on work so that you learn how to DO semantic analysis. The other part of the course turns to a selection of advanced topics from current semantic research, such as the semantics of questions, tense and aspect, donkey anaphora, indefinites, genericity, degree constructions, events and situations, domain restriction, plurality and focus. Readings will be drawn both from classic papers and current research publications.
LING 608 - Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics
  • Fall 2018: Asymmetries in Language Comprehension
  • Spring 2016: Experimental Work on Presuppositions
  • Fall 2013: Presuppositions: Experimental Perspectives & Theoretical Issues
  • Spring 2012: Experimental Pragmatics
LING 653 - Topics in the Syntax-Semantics Interface
Spring 2014: Definite Descriptions - Syntax, Semantics & Pragmatics