research group in formal semantics

@ UC Berkeley

Welcome to the home of the research group in formal semantics at UC Berkeley! We study meaning with the help of tools from logic and formal syntax, aiming to integrate the study of linguistic meaning, grammatical structure, and crosslinguistic variation.



In Spring 2018, we meet Mondays, 1pm, in Dwinelle 1303. Our focus for the first half of this semester is on attitude reports. For the second half of the semester, we will interweave continued discussion of attitude reports with discussion and presentation of our ongoing work in progress.

  • April 23: Mass and count; plans for fall 2018
  • April 16: Sven Neth on 3rd readings AND Erik Hans Maier on Tswefap quantifiers
  • April 9: Virginia Dawson on disjunction in Tiwa AND Rachel Rudolph on copy-raising
  • April 2: Tyler Lemon on Vietnamese comparatives
  • March 19: Tessa Scott on temporal interpretation in Mam Mayan
  • March 12: Shifty indexicals without de se requirements
  • March 5: Anand and Nevins; de se via indexical shift
  • February 26: De se via binding; indexicals and contexts
  • February 19: no meeting [Presidents' Day]
  • February 12: Lewis 1979 on attitudes de dicto and de se
  • February 5: De re constructions in Nez Perce and Tiwa (Work in progress by Virginia Dawson, Amy Rose Deal)
  • January 29: De re constructions in Nez Perce (Work in progress by Amy Rose)
  • January 22: Schwager 2011 and the replacement principle


  • RGFS @ SALT! This year's conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT 28; MIT) will feature an invited talk by Amy Rose Deal on a topic we've discussed quite a bit in Spring 2018 -- de re reporting.
  • RGFS @ SULA! The upcoming workshop on Semantics of Under-Represented Languages in the Americas (SULA 10; Toronto) will feature two RGFS talks. Both are on the topic of comparatives, building from our work together in Fall 2017. Julia Nee will present "Comparative Constructions in Teotitlan del Valle Zapotec". Amy Rose Deal (with Vera Hohaus, University of Tübingen) will present "Vague predicates, crisp judgments" (which does not say so in the title, but is about Nez Perce).
  • RGFS @ CLS! Emily Clem represents RGFS at this year's annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS 54). Emily's talk is entitled "Exceed-comparative languages and the Degree Abstraction Parameter", and will be presented in a special session on the semantics of modification.
  • RGFS @ ACAL! RGFS members are bringing two great formal semantics talks to this year's Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL 49; Michigan State). Emily Clem and Erik Hans Maier will present "Comparison in Tswefap: Evidence for Degree Abstraction in an Exceed-comparative Language". Virginia Dawson (with Hannah Sande, Berkeley PhD '17, now at Georgetown) will present "Counting mass nouns in Guébie (Kru)".
  • RGFS @ LSA! Among the many Berkeley talks at this year's LSA annual meeting were several by RGFS participants. Tessa Scott and Emily Clem presented their work in syntax -- Tessa's on resumption in Swahili and Emily's on switch reference in Amahuaca. On the semantic side, Virginia Dawson presented "Individual nouns, substance nouns, and plurality in a classifier language" (the classifier language in question being Tiwa!).