Recent Talks & Papers:
My research is in three domains within the study of human languages:
I - Formal Semantics: form and interpretation of language
Linguistic structures are systematically related to language use in
actual communication. We see that most clearly when using language for
making logical statements. When I tell you “most students in this room
are vegetarian” I tell you something completely different than when I
use the same words in the sentence “most vegetarians in this room are
students”. The different forms of the two sentences create different meanings. Formal Semantics studies the
workings of such meaning-form interactions. In my dissertation (Utrecht Univ. 1998) and subsequent book
(MIT Press 2001), I studied operations that govern interpretations of plural, indefinite and coordinate constructions.
I continue to work on the interface between meaning and form
in these areas and other domains. Currently I am also completing an introductory textbook on Formal Semantics.
II - Computational Linguistics: automatic representation and processing of linguistic knowledge
I have been active in
research on computational modeling of syntactic
and semantic information especially in textual entailment, morphological analysis, information extraction, and human interaction with geographic
information systems. Together with colleagues and students, I was
involved in developing the first annotated Hebrew treebank
– a general platform for analyzing forms of Semitic languages. In
Computational Semantics I also worked in the framework of `Natural
Logic’, and more recently, on annotating data of textual entailment.
III - African drum languages
Some years ago I got fascinated by the special linguistic properties of
African drumming. On this subject I have been working in Senegal together with the family of
grandmaster drummer Doudou Ndiaye Rose, and worked on characterizing grammatical aspects of Senegalese traditions of playing the sabar drum. Here you find some links to this work.
For a list of downloadable talk slides and papers see link.