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Language Modeling: Exploiting Logical Form


Admission requirements

BA level syntax and semantics or BA level computational linguistics


Not all linguists are convinced that the meaning of a sentence can be expressed in and by the grammar, with formal and finite resources. The background issue here is whether (some form of) meaning can be determined, in the very same sense that has been applied to formal aspects of sentences (phonological, morphological and syntactic structure): can the meaning of a sentence be determined by finite calculations within in a principled framework?
This course analyzes the linguistic architecture of the Leiden language automaton Delilah – – which aims to compute fully specified sentential meanings for the sake of inference, by deep processing. The automaton produces three different levels of Logical Form, on the basis of a neo-Davidsonian event semantics.
We will scrutinize the assumptions, the grammar and the logic underlying these Logical Forms, and discuss the question under which conditions these semantic representation are relevant to the theory of grammar, to language description and to natural language processing. In particular, we will pay attention to the question which aspects of sentence meaning should be computable this way, and which may fall outside this window. Papers are solicited on the (non-)computability of semantic phenomena in any language. Thus, students are invited to project their semantic insights on the concept of computability.

Course objectives

The student is able to compare theoretical goals, research efforts and computational effects in semantics-oriented, grammar-based deep language processing;
The student is able to weigh theoretical validity and descriptive adequacy against computability.


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • Time spent on attending seminars: 26 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 154 hours

  • Time to prepare for the exam and/or write a paper (including reading / research): 100 hours

Assessment Method

Final paper 100%


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • C. Cremers, M. Hijzelendoorn and H. Reckman. From form to meaning and back. Dutch as a computable language.

2011 ms. Available as PDF from the lecturer.


Students should register through uSis. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:


MA Linguistics departmental office, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;