LINGUIST List 24.2372

Mon Jun 10 2013

Confs: Cognitive Sci, Philosophy of Language, Pragmatics, Semantics/Israel

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <>

Date: 10-Jun-2013
From: Pavel Kats <>
Subject: Non-Compositionality and Figurative Speech: Collocations, Idioms, Metaphors, Proverbs
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Non-Compositionality and Figurative Speech: Collocations, Idioms, Metaphors, Proverbs Short Title: Non Compositionality 2013

Date: 23-Jun-2013 - 28-Jun-2013 Location: Jerusalem, Israel Contact: Pavel Kats Contact Email: < click here to access email > Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science; Philosophy of Language; Pragmatics; Semantics

Meeting Description:

The summer school will take place at the Australia Research and Graduate Studies center at the Hebrew University June 23-27, 2013, and will host lecturers from numerous universities both in Israel and Europe. All who are interested are welcome.

Within the discipline of Linguistics, the core principle of modern semantic theory has been Frege’s principle of compositionality: the meaning of an expression is determined by the meanings of its constituents and the rules used to combine them. This principle has to a large extent constrained the phenomena studied in formal semantics. Phenomena whose import appears to violate the principle of compositionality have been considered to fall outside the domain of formal semantics, and have so far been studied by philosophers, literary scholars, cognitive linguists, and lexicographers. The outcome is that under the label of non-compositional meaning we find a variety of language phenomena, which are far from forming a homogenous class. Language philosophers often divide language into literal vs. figurative speech, the latter containing different types of tropes: metaphors, metonymies, hyperboles, irony, similes, sarcasm and others. Of those, metaphors get most attention for a reason, not obviously formulated in comparative terms. Syntacticians and semanticists more readily adopt the dimension of classification into idioms vs. compositional expressions. Corpus linguists prefer to speak about collocations, which are highly conventionalized frozen expressions. To complicate the picture further, there are additional genres which usually serve phraseologists and folklorists: allusions, sayings, proverbs, clichés, analogies, zeugmas. The bottom line is that despite being widely acknowledged to be pervasive in natural language, non-compositional speech and meaning remain largely under-studied in comparison to their compositional counterparts.

The Minerva School will bring together prominent scholars representing several subdisciplines of linguistics: formal semantics, lexical semantics, syntax, psycholinguistics, and corpus linguistics, in order to create a joint multidisciplinary outlook on the complex domain of non-compositional language. The schedule will consist of a number of intensive mini-courses targeted at students of masters level and higher, and will provide the attendants with the state-of-the-art approaches and tools that will allow them to form their own unique critical viewpoint necessary for further research. The core schedule will be enriched by invited lectures that will complete the picture with perspectives from adjacent disciplines as well, such as folklore and cognitive science.

Page Updated: 10-Jun-2013