LINGUIST List 12.460

Tue Feb 20 2001

Calls: Verbs/Arguments/Polysemy, Computer/Lang/Lit

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>

As a matter of policy, LINGUIST discourages the use of abbreviations or acronyms in conference announcements unless they are explained in the text.


  1. Wilhelm Geuder, Workshop on Verbs, Arguments, and Polysemy
  2. Henry Biggs, Computer Approaches to Language and Literature

Message 1: Workshop on Verbs, Arguments, and Polysemy

Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 17:36:56 +0100
From: Wilhelm Geuder <>
Subject: Workshop on Verbs, Arguments, and Polysemy


"Workshop on Verbs, Arguments, and Polysemy"

SFB 471, Universitaet Konstanz, Germany

July 23-25, 2001


The aim of this workshop is to discuss issues in the semantic
representation of verbs that arise in connection with the phenomenon of
polysemy. In approaching this topic, we would like to stress the ways in
which it is linked to the theory of events and of thematic roles.

One aspect of the semantics of verbs that clearly makes them special with
respect to the issues of polysemy and lexical repesentation lies in the
fact that meaning variation of verbs is reflected in their selection of
arguments. While the mapping between events and arguments has played a
prominent role in works on aspectual structure, we feel that the topic of
its interplay with sense variation in verbs does not have received the
amount of attention that it deserves. The following leading questions

* How does the selection of arguments interact with the formation of
different lexical senses of a verb?
* Which different levels of lexical variation can be identified with regard
to verb meanings, and how can semantic representations be constructed that
represent the relevant semantic factors in a sufficiently fine-grained way?

While purely syntactic mechanisms that bring about variation in argument
linking are not in the focus of this workshop, there is still the question
of different levels of semantic representation that might give rise to
different kinds of polysemy. On the one hand, variation in argument
selection may just be an indicator of a changed lexical sense of the verb.
Ideally, our representation of verb meanings should show how the different
semantic gradients of sense extension are rooted in the features of the
verb meaning and their interplay with the information contributed by
argument roles and argument types. This then requires a semantic
representation that has to be far more fine-grained than the usual lexical
decomposition. The shape that such a model of verb meanings should take is
still very much under debate, however.

On the other hand, there are various cases in which different variants seem
to be drawn from the same overall situation, or maybe "frame":
	a. load the cart with hay / load hay onto the cart
	b. leave the scene / leave a gap
	c. open the jar/ open the lid
Certainly, many alternations of this superficial type cannot be analysed as
different choices from a set of arguments that co-occur in one argument
structure, and indeed it is unclear whether any such examples can be
regarded as "pure" argument alternations, instead of polysemy. Variation of
such a type could be amenable to a treatment that posits another more
shallow level of lexical variation that rests on a common background shared
by the variants. This would lead to incorporating a foreground-background
distinction into lexical meanings, as e.g. in Fillmore's "Frame" semantics.
Again, a number of questions arise from such an approach: How is this
foreground-background distinction in lexical information to be spelled out,
or, how does the notion of a "frame" for verbs relate to the notion of


David Dowty, Christiane Fellbaum, Charles Fillmore, Hans Kamp, Beth Levin,
Malka Rappaport Hovav

There will be space for about seven additional submitted papers. The time
slot for presentation is one hour, including discussion period.


Electronic submission is strongly preferred.
If you would like to present a paper, please send a detailed abstract of
roughly 2 pages to the following address:

Send your abstract as plain e-mail text or as an attached pdf-file.
In case you would like to submit a file in some other format, please
contact us beforehand.

Otherwise, send a 2-page abstract to the following address:

Prof. Peter Pause
Universitaet Konstanz
Fachbereich Sprachwissenschaft
Postfach 5560
78457 Konstanz, Germany

DEADLINE for submission: April 17, 2001
Notification of acceptance: May 7

The language of the workshop will be English.
We shall be able to partially reimburse speakers for their travel expenses.
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Message 2: Computer Approaches to Language and Literature

Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 13:20:11 -0600
From: Henry Biggs <>
Subject: Computer Approaches to Language and Literature


Computer Approaches to Language and Literature, Submissions, March 1!

The Modern Language Association (MLA) will be sponsoring a special
Discussion Group this December in New Orleans, Louisiana on the use of
Computer Studies in Language and Literature. 

We would like to take this opportunity to strongly (!) encourage the
participation of any interested "LinguistList-ers" in this event.

The entire MLA convention will take place from December 27-30; the date of
our discussion group is yet to be determined but will land within this time

The title is: "Digital Approaches to Language and Text: Words, Images and

We are interested in current studies in stylistics, authorship,
linguistics, pedagogy, quantitative and qualitative analysis with
particular interest in new directions (proposed or realized).


Please submit a 250-500 word abstract via e-mail by March 1 to Henry Biggs

Please also note that if your paper is accepted you will need to become an
MLA member, and the deadline to do that, officially, is April 1. 

We look forward to your submissions!


Henry Biggs

Henry Biggs, Assistant Dean 
Washington University
205 S. Brookings Dr.
Campus Box 1117
St. Louis, Mo. 63130
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