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A. Herbelot (Univ. Pompeu Fabra): A formal distributional semantics for cognitively-plausible reference acts

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Reference -- the ability to talk *about* things -- is one of the most
fundamental functions of language. This function is well accounted for
in formal semantics, via the classic notions of extension, intension and
truth value. The standard formal apparatus is however difficult to
transfer to a realistic and cognitively-plausible speaker setup, where
models and denotation functions are not shared amongst individuals. In
this talk, I propose a hybrid semantic formalisation drawing from set
theory and distributional semantics. The set-theoretic aspects of this
formalisation retain part of the standard notion of reference, whilst
its distributional aspects account for model learnability and thus,
speaker differences. I suggest that a combined semantics affords a range
of inferences that reconcile standard ideas of denotation with speaker
individuality. I then report on a series of experiments that test the
learnability of such a formalisation from raw data, showing results on
the acquisition of quantified concept-property pairs, the representation
of entity vectors, and the acquisition of quantifiers themselves.

Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 11:00 to 12:00
Inria B21
Aurélie Herbelot
Universitat Pompeu Fabra