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Semantics and Pragmatics

A semantics presentation at CorpusFest 2015

A semantics presentation at CorpusFest 2015

Semantics and pragmatics research at Stanford aims to develop theoretical models that appreciate and explain the complexity of meaning witnessed in language use.


The Stanford semantics and pragmatics community encompasses a broad range of interests, including lexical semantics, formal semantics and pragmatics, and their interfaces with syntax, psycholinguistics, and numerous sub-areas of psychology, philosophy, and computer science.  We share the goal of grounding theories of meaning in diverse research methodologies, including formal linguistic analysis, psycholinguistic experimentation, computational modeling, corpus studies and fieldwork on less widely studied languages. 

We offer courses ranging from introductory courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels to seminars on cutting edge topics and workshops focused on developing key research skills.  Recent seminar topics have included temporal interpretation, experimental studies of quantification, definiteness, gradation, modality, negation and conditionals.


Faculty and students participate in a wide range of research projects, many of them collaborative.  Many of them also span subfields of linguistics or reach out to neighboring disciplines.  There are usually informal reading or working groups that reflect the community's ever evolving research interests, as well as occasional larger gatherings, such as Meaningful Lunches and an annual SemFest.  Ongoing lab-based projects include:

Computational Semantics in the Stanford NLP Group

CSLI Computational Semantics Lab

CSLI Language and Natural Reasoning Group

CSLI Pragmatic Enrichment and Contextual Inference Lab

CSLI Psychosemantics Lab

The interActive Language Processing (ALPS) Lab



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