Research in Semantics

Drs. Jürgen Bohnemeyer, Jean-Pierre Koenig, Eun-Hee Lee, David Zubin.

Semantics is a very important research specialty of the department of Linguistics at UB. It involves a very active and diverse group of researchers who study meaning from both a cognitive and formal perspective.

Prof. Bohnemeyer specializes in the semantics of temporal and spatial reference. His research spans issues such as lexical and viewpoint aspect, tense, temporal anaphora, event segmentation, causality, locative and motion descriptions, spatial frames of reference, deixis, and natural language ontology. He studies lexical, compositional, and pragmatic properties of these domains, applying methods of both conceptual and formal semantics. His work has a strong cross-linguistic focus in semantic typology, aiming to bring evidence from language variation to bear on theories of semantics, the syntax-semantics interface, and the cognitive embedding of language.

Prof. Koenig specializes in lexical semantics, the interface between lexical semantics and Gricean pragmatics, and the interface between syntax and semantics. His recent research has focused on grammatical aspect in English and Thai, lexical aspect in Hindi, Mandarin, and Thai, the semantics of the participant roles (particularly, instruments), as well as differences in the discourse role of various kinds of NPs (within Discourse Representation Theory).

Prof. Lee's research interests include temporal anaphora in narrative discourse, event semantics and aspect, semantics/discourse-pragmatics interface, and the dynamic process of context updating and situated inferences in the current research framework of dynamic semantics. She has been working on cross-linguistic studies of tense and aspect, such as the difference between presupposition and entailment in Korean perfect markers, aspectual adverbs in Korean and English, the interaction between lexical and grammatical aspect focusing on the progressive, and the semantics of past forms in narrative discourses.