Author Archives: partee

Partee to zoom to Moscow for talk for logicians Nov 18

November 18, 2020, (8am EST, 4pm in Moscow) Barbara gives a Zoom talk “in Moscow” called “Language and Logic: Ideas and Controversies in the History of Formal Semantics”, as part of “Logical Perspectives Open Lectures” organized by Lev Beklemishev, Steklov Mathematical Institute, Moscow, for Nov 17-18. Open to all; Registration required at I’d be delighted to have linguists there too to join in the discussion after the talk. The other two lectures in the series are on Nov 17 – one by Anil Nerode at 4pm Moscow and one by Yuri Gurevich at 6pm Moscow. I think the talks are all intended for students and younger scholars, so I expect the other two to be interesting and accessible as well.

Barbara at Penn Oct 18

Barbara will give a talk at the next  ILST Seminar at the University of Pennsylvania on Friday October 18th at 1:30pm in Room 401B of 3401 Walnut St. (ILST = the Integrated Language Science and Technology initiative). Anyone in the Philly area is welcome.

The talk is related to her history of formal semantics project. The title is “Psychologism and Anti-Psychologism in Semantics: Changing Notions of Semantic Competence”.

Barbara (and others) in Moscow

from Barbara Partee

I gave a series of five lectures in the 3rd Annual Fall School for Formal Syntax and Formal Semantics at HSE (the Higher School for Economics) in Moscow, September 1-7. The series was “The History of Formal Semantics”. The five lectures were (1) The history of formal semantics: founding revolutions; (2) History of the syntax-semantics interface; (3) The starring role of quantification in the history of formal semantics; (4) History of the semantics of arguments and adjuncts; (5) Lexical Semantics in Formal Semantics: History and Challenges.

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Day 2, including changing of the guard with David Pesetsky. 


Other lecturers in the Fall School were David Pesetsky, Tatiana Philippova, Pavel Caha, Natalia Slioussar, Yasutada Sudo, and Daniele Panizza. We all enjoyed going to some of each other’s lectures, too, and the students were very lively and engaged. It was a good week! Afterwards, Volodja and I spent several days visiting friends in Moscow, capping it off with dinner with Katia Vostrikova and Petr Kusliy and his family on our last evening – that was also great.

Katia, Petr, and Petr’s wife Anya.

Barbara in Israel and Moscow

Volodja and I have been in Israel and Russia the past 2 ½ weeks, mostly visiting friends and family, but with a couple of academic activities. On September 24, we participated in the 7th Annual Bar-Ilan Semantics Workshop, organized by Susan Rothstein, where I gave a talk, “Lexical Semantics in Formal Semantics: History and Challenges”, a slightly edited version of my 2016 Bolzano ESSLLI workshop talk. Other participants were Keren Khrizman, Fred Landman and Aviv Schoenberg, Hana Filip, Maria Gepner, and Susan Rothstein.

And on October 4 in Moscow at the Higher School of Economics, in a formal semantics class taught by Natasha Ivlieva and Alexander Podobryaev, I gave a guest lecture: Part 1: Noun Phrases and Quantification. Part 2: Weak Noun Phrases and Existential Sentences. That last was very nostalgic, because their class is in many ways a continuation of the introduction to formal semantics classes that I taught in Moscow every year from 1996 to 2014. The students seemed to be very good and very interested. I’m happy that formal semantics is thriving in Moscow.


Barbara at ESSLLI in August

ESSLLI was held in Bolzano this summer, August 15-26. Barbara was there for a workshop in the second week on “Referential Semantics One Step Further: Incorporating Insights from Conceptual and Distributional Approaches to Meaning“, organized by Carla Umbach and Louise McNally. My talk was “Lexical Semantics in Formal Semantics: History and Challenges“. The workshop was very stimulating; so was another one I attended on particles and modal adverbs, “Formal, Probabilistic and Typological Approaches to Discourse Particles and Modal Adverbs“, organized by Zeevat, Hogeweg, and van Bergen. Saw lots of old friends and colleagues, and enjoyed exploring Bolzano.

Barbara and Volodja to Georgia, Israel, Russia

Barbara and Volodja will be in Tbilisi Sept 13-19 for a linguistics round table where Barbara will give a 3-lecture series on the history of formal semantics. Then they go to Israel Sept 19-29, partly to visit family and friends, but also to be in a workshop on Slavic Semantics that Susan Rothstein has organized at Bar-Ilan University. Then to Moscow and Kazan’ Sept 29-Oct 8 to visit family and friends, and Barbara will be an invited speaker at a workshop on semantics and pragmatics at the Higher School of Economics on Sept 30, with a talk on the history of formal pragmatics. Back home Oct 8, no more trips this fall.

Department picnic Sunday Sept 11

Department picnic for linguists and friends, family-friendly, potluck, at Barbara and Volodja’s (50 Hobart Ln) Sunday, Sept 11, at 3:30.
Details in full invitation that went out to the whole ling-colloq mailing list. If you didn’t get it, write to Tom Maxfield ( — he can get you onto the ling-colloq mailing list. And in the meantime, there’s a copy here.
Hope to see everyone there who can get there! — Barbara and Volodja