The Proper Use of Quantification in Ordinary Language

Organisator(en) Uli Sauerland & Stephanie Solt
Workshop/Tagung ESSLLI 2011
Veranstaltungsbeginn 08.08.2011, 09.00 Uhr
Veranstaltungsende 12.08.2011, 18.00 Uhr
Ort Ljubljana

Despite 40 years of research, quantification is currently again a central topic of research at the interface between logic and language. Generalized Quantifier Theory (GQT) and Discourse Representation Theory (DRT) still are standard bearers when it comes to the representation of quantifier meaning.  But a new frontier in quantification research is to account for the use of quantifiers, in addition to the meaning they contribute to sentence and discourse.  

In GQT and DRT, many quantifiers are semantically identical to one another: mostand more than halfat least threemore than two and three; and about 100 and some 100. Even when there is no identity, the meanings of quantifiers overlap, and many quantifiers could be used truthfully to describe the same situation.  Nevertheless, the choice of a specific quantifier by a speaker has semantic and pragmatic consequences, and listeners are sensitive to the subtleties of a speaker's choice. The goal of a theory of quantifier use is an account of how speakers choose one of the many true quantifiers and how listeners interpret a speaker's choice.  

The PUQOL workshop aims to bring together current research within semantics, logic, pragmatics, and cognitive science that addresses quantifier use within the perspective of model theoretic semantics and pragmatics, including:

  • the cognitive processes underlying quantifier production and understanding
  • models of vagueness and approximation in quantifier meaning
  • the link between information structure and quantification
  • the interaction of quantification with pragmatic processes
  • repercussions of work on quantifier use for semantic theory
  • first language acquisition of quantifier meaning and use
  • formal experimental results of particular use to the investigation of quantification

PUQOL will take place as part of the 23rd European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information (ESSLLI 2011).

Invited Speakers

  • Cornelia Ebert (Stuttgart University)
  • Bart Geurts (Nijmegen)
  • Larry Horn (Yale University)
  • Dag Westerståhl (Gothenburg University)

Important Dates

Submission deadline: February 15, 2011
Notifications: April 15, 2011
Extended abstract for ESSLLI 2011 Proceedings:  June 1, 2011

Organizers: Uli Sauerland, Stephanie Solt

Contact: PUQOL 2011 puqol2011(at)


DAY 1: Monday, August 8th, 2011:

14:00 -- 14:30

Uli Sauerland and Stephanie Solt, ZAS Berlin
The proper use of quantifiers in ordinary language: Introduction

14:30 -- 15:00

Natalia Zevakhina, Radboud University Nijmegen
Availability of quantifier scalars

15:00 -- 15:30 

Bob van Tiel, Radboud University Nijmegen
The typicality structure of quantifiers

DAY 2: Tuesday,  August 9th, 2011:

14:00 -- 14:30

Hadas Kotek, Yasutada Sudo, Edwin Howard and Martin Hackl, MIT
A superlative reading for 'most'

14:30 -- 15:00

Aviya Hacohen, Dana Kozlowski and Ariel Cohen, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Superlative quantifiers as speech act modifiers: Experimental evidence

15:00 -- 15:30

Marcin Zajenkowski, Rafał Styla and Jakub Szymanik, University of Warsaw and University of Groningen
Schizophrenic patients find proportional quantification difficult due to working memory deficits

DAY 3: Wednesday, August 10th, 2011:

14:00 -- 14:30

Dany Jaspers, Hogeschool University Brussel
Different degrees of naturalness of quantifiers and colour terms

14:30 -- 15:30

Bart Geurts, Radboud University Nijmegen
Quantifiers and pronouns: an inferential approach

DAY 4:  Thursday, August 11th, 2011:

14:00 -- 14:30

Robert Henderson, Scott Anderbois and Adrian Brasoveanu, University of California, Santa Cruz
The pragmatics of quantifier scope: A corpus study

14:30 -- 15:30

Cornelia Ebert, University of Stuttgart
Variations among long-distance readings in English and German - an experimental study

DAY 5:  Friday, August 12th, 2011:

14:00 -- 14:30

Chris Cummins, University of Cambridge
Constraint-based modelling of numerical quantifier usage and interpretation

14:30 -- 15:30

Laurence Horn, Yale University
Contrariwise: Disjunctive syllogism and pragmatic strengthening