Type theory and meaning in linguistics


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Type theory has a large influence on computer science for example in functional programming languages such as Haskell. However, it can also be relevant in linguistics and help to answer the question what "meaning" for natural languages is. This talk presents approaches to explain meaning of natural languages statements using tools from logic and computer science

Type systems are popular in computer science, for example among functional programming languages such as Haskell and various ML dialects. The theory behind these type systems, called type theory, is an active field of research both in computer science and logic. Another field where type theory can be relevant is natural language semantics, the study of meaning of natural language statements. It is a difficult task to specify in a rigorous manner what "meaning" should be in the context of natural languages. This talk will discuss the concept of meaning for natural languages, present some of the formal approaches to meaning established in the last 50 years and show how type theory and other tools from computer science can help us to express meaning for natural languages.