Talk of interest: Graf on Logic for Linguistic Structures

Logic Group Colloquium on Friday, April 21: Thomas Graf (Stony Brook)

  Fragments of First-Order Logic for Linguistic Structures

Logic has always played a central role in the study of natural language
meaning. But logic can also be used to describe the structure of words
and sentences. Recent research has revealed that these structures are so
simple that they can be modeled with very weak fragments of first-order
logic. Unfortunately, many of these fragments are still not particularly
well-understood on a formal level, which has become a serious impediment
to ongoing research. This talk is thus equally about the known and the
unknown: I will survey the empirically relevant fragments of first-order
logic and explain how they allow for completely new generalizations
about linguistic structures at the word and sentence level. But I will
also highlight the limits of our current understanding and which
mathematical challenges need to be overcome if the logical approach to
natural language is to realize its full potential. Hopefully, an
alliance of linguists, logicians, and computer scientists will be able
to solve these problems in the near future.