From Montague Semantics to Modern Type Theories: A Meaningful Comparison

Stergios Chatzikyriakidis (CLASP, University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Zhaohui Luo (Departmet of Computer Science, Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom)

Modern type theories (MTTs) have been employed in the last 30 years as foundational languages for formal semantics (MTT-semantics for short), as alternatives to set theory as used in Montague’s semantics. However, so far, no direct and meaningful comparison between Montague’s semantics and MTT-semantics has been attempted in order to elucidate their similarities/differences and advantages/disadvantages, both on foundational issues in understanding and reasoning and on semantic treatments of linguistic phenomena. In this course, we take up this task and discuss MTT-semantics in direct comparison to Montague’s semantics. After introducing these two semantic frameworks and discussing their foundational differences, we shall move on to several core linguistic phenomena and compare their treatments in both traditions: modification, copredication, intensionality and event semantics. We discuss the results and propose ways of moving forward.