Meaning and Cognition

The goal of the Research Theme Meaning and Cognition is to investigate the interface between cognition and linguistic encoded meaning, e.g. how the properties of cognitive systems like the approximative number system, form and restrain possible lexical meanings, and how linguistic meanings are acquired by children and how this in turn influences the properties of cognitive systems. The research focuses on “logical” expressions like and and or, numerical expressions and the linguistic representation of scales, vagueness and iconic meaning.

Research on this topic builds on existing expertise on formal semantics and pragmatics, in particular research on implicatures in the DFG Priority Program XPrag.de. The research theme will lead to more detailed semantic models and models of cognition.

Beside the projects within XPrag.de Lexical Inference vs. Scalar Implicature (Sauerland), Modelling the Use of Quantifiers in Typical and Atypical Speakers Probabilistically(Krifka, Sauerland) and Experimental Game Theory and Scalar Implicatures. Investigating variation in context and scale type(Benz) further projects at ZAS are contributing to this topic, namely the project Logic across languages: Expressing and interpreting connectives cross-linguistically (Nicolae) and the ERC Synergy Grant Realising Leibniz’ dream: Child languages as the mirror of the mind (Sauerland & Alexiadou).