From Quantification to Conversation
Ed. by Borin, Lars / Larsson, Staffan
Aims and Scope
This collection of papers offers an overview of current research in formal and computational linguistics with a focus on semantics, i.e., the study of meaning. The topics covered range from theoretical treatments of quantification phenomena in natural language to concrete issues in language technology and dialogue systems. This indicates the wide scope of formal and computational semantics, and also gives an indication of the historical development and shift in focus of formal semantics over the last three-or-so decades, since its modern origin in the work of Richard Montague in the early 1970s. In a development which could hardly have been predicted given its ivory-tower beginnings, formal semantics has recently started to become of practical (and thus commercial) interest, and is beginning to have effects on our everyday lives in the form of language technology.
Firstly, computational semantics has recently been touted as a fundamental prerequisite to the next step in the development of the internet, the "Semantic Web". Secondly, conversational human-computer interfaces is a fast-growing sector in industry as well as in academia, and there is a general realisation that these systems need a proper account of semantics to move beyond the simple slot-filling dialogues of present-day commercial systems.
While the more abstract topics of early formal semantics have never quite dropped out of sight for academics, these recent developments have arguably led to a resurgence of interest in the theoretical puzzles related to quantification and situational interpretation in natural language. Formal and computational semantics are thus very much alive, and the future looks bright.
- Approx. viii, 360 pages
- DE GRUYTER MOUTON
- Type of Publication:
- Semantics; logic; computational linguistics