Course Description
Introduction to Formal Semantics
Gerhard Jäger

  Topics to be covered are:
  1. Introduction (1st week)
    • The objectives of formal semantics: Sense relations, truth conditions, inference
    • Semantics vs. pragmatics I: Speech acts

  2. Basic tools (1st week)
    • Propositional logic
    • Semantics vs. pragmatics II: Conversational maxims and implicatures

  3. Functors, Arguments, and Quantification (1st/2nd week)
    • First order logic
    • Model theoretic interpretation
    • Quantification
    • Scope ambiguities

  4. Compositionality (2nd week)
    • Syntax and semantics
    • Type theory
    • Lambda abstraction

  5. Context dependence I: extralinguistic context (3rd week)
    • Intensionality and possible worlds
    • Context theory and deixis

  6. Context dependence II: linguistic context (3rd week)
    • Anaphora
    • Presuppositions
We will follow Gamut I/II as main text book, but other reading material will be used as well. All texts (including the relevant parts of Gamut) will be made available as a reader during the summer school.


Bach, Emmon (1989). Informal Lectures on Formal Semantics. SUNY Press, pp. 1-32.

Carpenter, Bob (1994). Quantification and scoping: A type-logical account Technical Reports, OTS Utrecht.

Carpenter, Bob (1997). Type Logical Semantics. MIT Press, pp. 1-36, 339-368.

Chierchia, Gennaor & Sally McConnell-Ginet (1996). Meaning and Grammar. An Introduction to Semantics. MIT Press, pp. 170-203, 262-280.

Gamut, L. T. F. (1991b). Logic, Language, and Meaning: Introduction to Logic, volume I. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 28-113, 195-219.

Gamut, L. T. F. (1991a). Logic, Language, and Meaning: Intensional Logic and Logical Grammar, volume II. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 75-116.

Geurts, Bart (1999). Presuppositions and Pronouns. Elsevier, pp. 1-34.

Downloadable Handouts:

Handout 1: Introduction and basic tools

Handout 2: Basic tools (ctd.), functors, arguments and quantification

Handout 3: Syntax and semantics of First Order Logic

Handout 4: Conversational maxims and implicatures

Handout 5: Compositionality

Midterm Exam

Handout 6: Lambda abstraction

Handout 7: Categorial Grammar

Handout 8: Quantifier Scope

Instructor: Gerhard Jäger (