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1st Semester 2021/22: Team Semantics and Dependence: Linguistic and Philosophical Applications.

Marco Degano, Maria Aloni

In team semantics formulas are intepreted with respect to sets of evaluation points, rather than single ones. These evaluations points can be valuations (propositional team logic, Yang and Väänänen 2017), assignments (first-order team semantics, Galliani 2021) or possible worlds (team-based modal logic, Aloni 2021; Lück 2020). Dynamic semantics and inquisitive semantics can also be considered examples of team-based systems.


Historically, team semantics was developed as the main semantics for (in)dependence logics (Hintikka and Sandu 1989; Hodge 1997; Väänänen 2007, Galliani 2021), with applications in many areas (database theory, quantum theory, networks, …) [see e.g. Presentations Academy Colloquium Dependence Logic, Amsterdam, 2014]. A special mention goes to our ILLC colleague Theo Janssen (1948-2018), who dedicated his last works to the applications of logics of dependence and independence to natural language semantics (in particular compositionality and the de re/de dicto distinction, Janssen 2013).


In this project, we will provide an overview of different team-based systems with a focus on linguistic and philosophical applications. We will examine the conceptual motivations behind team semantics and concentrate on four main linguistic phenomena: free choice (Aloni 2021), modified numerals (Aloni and van Ormondt 2021), exceptional scope of indefinites (Brasoveanu and Farkas 2011), and marked indefinites (Aloni and Degano 2021).


Students with a mathematical or computational background are also very welcome and in the second part of the project they can decide to focus on the mathematical aspects of the frameworks (as in Anttila 2021) or work on computational implementations.


The project will feature three lectures in the first week and a guest lecture by Alexi Anttila (most probably in the second week). In the second week, students will choose a paper to read and present, followed by a discussion. We will provide a list of papers and discuss the nature of these presentations at the beginning of the course. In the remaining two weeks, students will work on a short project (see Assessment below).


The project has a dedicated homepage, which will be updated before and during the project.


If you are interested in this project, please contact the instructors by email before 22 December 2021.


An interest in the topic is all you need.


The assessment might vary depending on the number of students enrolled. Ideally, it will involve a presentation and a short project. We encourage projects done in groups, as students with different backgrounds can learn from each other. The project will be based on students' interests after individual meetings. Possible topics are (a) in-depth cross-linguistic study; (b) novel modelling of linguistic phenomena; (c) design of an experimental study; (d) mathematical explorations of the formal systems discussed during the project.


Aloni, M. (2021). “Logic and Conversation: the case of Free Choice”. Ms. [pdf]


Aloni, M. and Degano, M. (2021). “(Non-)specificity across languages: constancy, variation, v-variation”. Ms. (available before the beginning of the course)


Aloni, M and Ormondt, P van. (2021). “Modified numerals and split disjunction: the first-order case.” Ms. [pdf]


Anttila, A. (2021). The Logic of Free Choice Axiomatizations of State-based Modal Logics. MoL Thesis. [pdf]


Brasoveanu, A., Farkas, D.F. (2011) “How indefinites choose their scope”. Linguistic and Philosophy 34, 1–55. DOI: 10.1007/s10988-011-9092-7


Galliani, P. (2021), “Dependence Logic”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. URL:


Hintikka, J. and Sandu G. (1989), “Informational independence as a semantical phenomenon”, in Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science VIII (J. E. Fenstad, et al., eds.), North-Holland, Amsterdam, DOI: 10.1016/S0049-237X(08)70066-1


Hodges, W. (1997), “Compositional Semantics for a Language of Imperfect Information”, Logic Journal of the IGPL, 5(4): 539–563. DOI: 10.1093/jigpal/5.4.539


Janssen, T. M. (2013). “Compositional natural language semantics using independence friendly logic or dependence logic”. Studia Logica, 101(2), 453-466. DOI: 10.1007/s11225-013-9480-9


Lück, M. (2020). Team logic : axioms, expressiveness, complexity. Hannover : Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität. PhD Thesis. DOI: 10.15488/9376


Väänänen, J. (2007), Dependence Logic: A New Approach to Independence Friendly Logic, (London Mathematical Society student texts, 70), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511611193

Yang, F., and Väänänen, J. (2017). “Propositional team logics.” Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 168.7: 1406-1441. DOI: 10.1016/j.apal.2017.01.007