Workshop on Approaches to Coercion and Polysemy (CoPo 2017)

A forum that will enable comparison of lexical, compositional and pragmatic approaches, and interaction between people coming from formal semantics, pragmatics and computational linguistics backgrounds. 


Open book with dictionary.
Illustration photo:

The phenomenon of coercion, where the interpretation of an expression seems to change depending on another expression that it stands in a predication or modification relationship with (e.g. ‘Fred began a book / began an essay / finished his drink / finished the kitchen / is a good boy / is a good pianist / froze the water / froze the bottle / has red hair / eats red meat / drinks coffee / drank two coffees’) is widespread and has often been remarked on within formal semantics, pragmatics and computational linguistics (Asher 2011, Egg 2003, Nunberg 1979, Piñango&Deo 2016, Pustejovsky 1995, Recanati 2004). However, it remains not well-understood, especially as regards the following questions:

  • To what extent do these examples represent a unified phenomenon, and what constrains the availability of these kinds of enriched interpretations?
  • What do these examples tell us about the nature of the lexicon, and the nature of predication?
    • To what extent do we need lexical meaning to be context-dependent?
    • To what extent do we need a more sophisticated compositional system than is commonly assumed in formal semantics?
  • How can the coerced interpretation be implemented?

We wish to create a forum that will enable comparison of lexical, compositional and pragmatic approaches to these questions, and interaction between people coming from formal semantics, pragmatics and computational linguistics backgrounds.  We are particularly interested in the interaction between coercion and the wider issue of polysemy, where a word may have more than one closely-related meaning.

Invited speakers

  • Nicholas Asher (CNRS/IRIT)
  • Robin Cooper (University of Gothenburg)


Participation in the workshop is free, but requires registration.

Register here
(available until 6 November 2017, 12:00)


Monday 20 November 2017

09:30–10:00 Registration and welcome  
10:00–10:40 Katherine Fraser (University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)) Polysemy of an English posture verb: A Case Study of Non-literal Meaning
10:40–11:20 Patrick Murphy (University of Toronto) I'm done my homework: Complement Coercion and Aspectual Adjectives in Canadian English
11:20–12:00 Jan Wiślicki (University of Warsaw) Dispensing with Unwanted Polysemy: Deriving verbal idioms by coercive typing
12:00–13:00 Lunch FYI: Lunch will be provided
13:00–14:00 Invited talk: Nicholas Asher (Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse) Type presuppositions and fine grained types: from coercion to co-composition and a finer grained look at determiners
14:00–14:10 Mini break  
14:10–14:50 Julia Lukassek (Universität Tübingen) Coercion and Underspecification Integrated: The State-Event-Ambiguity of Aspectual Verbs
14:50–15:30 Markus Egg (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) Semelfactives
15:30–15:50 Break  
15:50–16:30 Bryan Leferman (University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)) The Aspectual Uniformity of Evaluative Adjectives
16:30–17:10 Emmanuele Chersoni, Alessandro Lenci & Philippe Blache (Aix-Marseille University) Modeling the Compositional Cost of Logical Metonymies with Distributional Semantics
18:30 Dinner at Café Christiania (Nedre Vollgate 19) FYI: We meet at the main entrance of Niels Treschows hus at 18h

Tuesday 21 November 2017

09:00–10:00 Invited talk: Robin Cooper (University of Gothenburg) Coercion in Languages in Flux
10:00–10:10 Mini break  
10:10–10:50 Peter Sutton & Hana Filip (Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf) Coercion: Container, Contents and Measure Readings
10:50–11:30 Stergios Chatzikyriakidis (University of Gothenburg) & Zhaohui Luo (Royal Holloway, University of London) Identity Criteria of CNs: Quantification and Copredication
11:30–11:50 Break  
11:50–12:30 Eriko Kinoshita, Koji Mineshima and Daisuke Bekki (Ochanomizu University) Coercion as Proof Search in Dependent Type Semantics
12:30–13:00 Alexandra Spalek & Matthew Gotham (University of Oslo) Closing Comments and Discussion

Practical information

We have about 35 registered participants, so if you plan to use handouts you should bring about that many copies.

Getting to the venue

The workshop will take place on the top floor of Niels Treschows hus, at the University of Oslo's Blindern campus. To get to the campus from the city centre, take either the tram line 17 (destination Rikshospitalet) and get off at Universitetet Blindern, or the metro line 4 or 5 (westbound) and get off at Forskningsparken.

Getting to the dinner

The workshop dinner will be held at Café Christiania in the city centre. From the conference venue, we will take metro line 4 or 5 (eastbound) and get off at Stortinget.

See the Ruter website for public transportation information. Tickets can be bought at metro stations or by using the Ruter Reise app on your phone.


See accommodation suggestions.

Tags: Linguistics, Semantics, Lexicon, Composition
Published June 15, 2017 8:48 AM - Last modified Sep. 13, 2018 9:48 AM