Empirical Advances in Categorial Grammar

Empirical Advances in Categorial Grammar


(ESSLLI 2015 workshop)


Yusuke Kubota (lastname.firstname.fn@u.tsukuba.ac.jp), University of Tsukuba, Ohio State University

Robert Levine (lastname.1@osu.edu), Ohio State University



Workshop information:

This workshop provides a forum for discussion of recent empirical advances in categorial grammar (CG). After the revival of interest in CG in linguistics in the 80s, various extensions to the Lambek calculus (in the Type-Logical Categorial Grammar (TLCG) tradition; Morrill 1994, Moortgat 1997) and an early version of Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG; Ades and Steedman 1982, Steedman 2000, Baldridge 2003) have been proposed. But the fundamental question of whether CG constitutes an adequate linguistic theory still seems to be wide open. Moreover, there are now numerous variants of CG, both in the TLCG tradition and in CCG (Oehrle 1994, Jacobson 1999, Moortgat 2007, Pollard and Mihalicek 2010, Morrill et al. 2011, Barker and Shan 2015, to name just a few). Which of these theories constitutes the most adequate version of an empirical theory of natural language?

Logical, mathematical, and computational analyses have tended to take precedence over empirical ones in the past 30 years in CG research. These are all important and very illuminating, but at the same time we may now want to pause and reflect on the question of just where we are in terms of empirical adequacy. In this connection, it is, we believe, instructive to remind ourselves that the most profound areas of mathematics, such as analysis, are those which first emerged in the course of investigations into the properties of the natural universe by physicists (Boyer 1949). There probably is a similar relation between formal and empirical investigations in our field as well, and we think that the time is ripe to critically scrutinize the empirical consequences of the various formal techniques/frameworks proposed in the literature in the past 30 years, as well as ones that are being developed at this very moment.

The following is a list of topics which naturally fit the theme of the workshop, but this is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list; we welcome any submission whose topic pertains to the empirical adequacy of CG.

Important dates:

February 15, 2015: Submission deadline

April 15, 2015: Notification of acceptance

June 15, 2015: Proceedings paper due

August 10-14, 2015: Workshop (at ESSLLI 2015 in Barcelona, Spain)

Program committee:

Chris Barker (New York University)

Daisuke Bekki (Ochanomizu University)

Pauline Jacobson (Brown University)

Yusuke Kubota (University of Tsukuba, co-chair)

Robert Levine (Ohio State University, co-chair)

Michael Moortgat (Utrecht University)

Glyn Morrill (Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya)

Richard Oehrle (OS Foundation)

Carl Pollard (Ohio State University)

Mark Steedman (University of Edinburgh)

Yoad Winter (Utrecht University)


We'd like to thank the Institute for Comparative Research at the University of Tsukuba and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (KAKENHI; Grant number 15K16732) for their financial support for this workshop.


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Baldridge, Jason. 2002. Lexically Specified Derivational Control in Combinatory Categorial Grammar. Ph.D. thesis, University of Edinburgh.

Barker, Chris and Chung-chieh Shan. to appear. Continuations and Natural Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Boyer, Carl. 1949. The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development. New York: Dover.

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Hoeksema, Jack. 1984. Categorial Morphology. Ph.D. thesis, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Hoeksema, Jack and Richard D. Janda. 1988. Implications of process-morphology for categorial grammar. In Oehrle et al. (1988), 199-247.

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Kubota, Yusuke and Robert Levine. 2014. Against ellipsis: Arguments for the direct licensing of `non-canonical' coordinations. MS., University of Tsukuba and Ohio State University.

Mihalicek, Vedrana and Carl Pollard. 2012. Distinguishing phenogrammar from tectogrammar simplifies the analysis of interrogatives. In P. De Groote and M.-J. Nederhof, eds., Formal Grammar 2010/2011, 130-145. Heidelberg: Springer.

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Moortgat, Michael. 2009. Symmetric categorial grammar. Journal of Philosophical Logic 38:681-710.

Moot, Richard. 2014. Hybrid type-logical grammars, First-order linear logic and the descriptive inadequacy of Lambda grammars. MS., Laboratoire Bordelais de Recherche en Informatique.

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Morrill, Glyn, Oriol Valentin, and Mario Fadda. 2011. The displacement calculus. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 20:1-48.

Oehrle, Richard T. 1994. Term-labeled categorial type systems. Linguistics and Philosophy 17(6):633-678.

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