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At this ACLC seminar we are pleased to welcome as our guest speaker Geoffrey K. Pullum, Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. The title and abstract of his lecture are now available.

Detail Summary
Date 15 March 2019
Time 16:15 - 17:30

Syntactic Theory from a Model-Theoretic Perspective

Geoffrey K. Pullum
School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
University of Edinburgh

Beginning around 1960 a little-noted minority line of mathematical work on syntax took a strikingly different line from the familiar perspective of formal language theory came to dominate the linguistic landscape. Three mathematical logicians separately proved the regular (finite-state) languages could be precisely captured without reference to generative grammars or finite automata. Slowly over the ensuing five decades the work was clarified, generalized, and developed. There is now a well understood mathematical basis for characterizing different levels of syntactic complexity independently of the familiar machinery of generative grammars. A very small minority of the formal syntax community has been exploring the implications, some of which are potentially revolutionary. In this talk I attempt to show in detail how the change in mathematical perspective leads to new insights.

[The somewhat less technical talk that I will give to the Discourse in Philosophy Colloquium (March 14th, F2.19 ILLC, 16:00; see provides useful conceptual background to this one, but is not a necessary prerequisite. My talk at the Vossius Center (March 18, University Library, 16:00), by contrast, will explore the prehistory of the mainstream generative approach.]

Personal page Geoffrey K. Pullum

Location: PCH, room 5.02

P.C. Hoofthuis
P.C. Hoofthuis

Spuistraat 134
1012 VB Amsterdam