Linguistics and English Language

Language evolution seminar

Speaker: Chris Cummins (University of Edinburgh)

Title: Efficient meanings for numerals

Abstract: The use of number in natural language gives rise to various ambiguities that are difficult to characterise precisely: should reference to "200 people" be understood to invoke an exact interpretation, a lower bound, an upper bound, an approximate interpretation, or some combination of these? In practical terms, this is potentially consequential because of how numerical quantity information feeds into our decision-making. In this talk I aim to explore how subtleties of number interpretation bear upon our subsequent reasoning, but also what governs our interpretative decisions at a more abstract level: does the meaning of number reflect rational principles about how we should use simple signals to convey complex information?


Seminars are organised by the Centre for Language Evolution

Andres Karjus

Centre for Language Evolution

Feb 12 2019 -

Language evolution seminar

2019-02-12: Efficient meanings for numerals

Room G32, Psychology Building, 7 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ