Geoffrey K. Pullum, Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, is the guest speaker at the ACLC seminar on Friday 15 March 2019 at 16.15.
Syntactic Theory from a Model-Theoretic Perspective
Beginning around 1960 a little-noted minority line of mathematical work on syntax took a strikingly different line from the familiar perspective of formal language theory came to dominate the linguistic landscape. Three mathematical logicians separately proved the regular (finite-state) languages could be precisely captured without reference to generative grammars or finite automata. Slowly over the ensuing five decades the work was clarified, generalized, and developed. There is now a well understood mathematical basis for characterizing different levels of syntactic complexity independently of the familiar machinery of generative grammars. A very small minority of the formal syntax community has been exploring the implications, some of which are potentially revolutionary. In this talk I attempt to show in detail how the change in mathematical perspective leads to new insights.
[The somewhat less technical talk that I will give to the Discourse in Philosophy Colloquium (March 14th, F2.19 ILLC, 16:00; see http://projects.illc.uva.nl/LoLa/DIP-Colloquium/) provides useful conceptual background to this one, but is not a necessary prerequisite. My talk at the Vossius Center (March 18, University Library, 16:00), by contrast, will explore the prehistory of the mainstream generative approach.]
More information can be found on the personal page of professor Pullum.
PC Hoofthuis, Room 5.02
1012 VB Amsterdam