Skip navigation

Language and Natural Reasoning

What we do

Knowing what a text means involves drawing inferences based on the information in the text. Our group works on inferential properties of linguistic expressions to enable automated reasoning for NL understanding.

We want to contribute to the theoretical understanding of how language and reasoning interact and to the computational modeling of such interactions. Currently we concentrate on

  • the linguistic encoding of temporal and spatial information,
  • the linguistic encoding of modality and veridicity,
  • local textual inferences,
  • natural logic,
  • deriving logical forms that allow interaction with structured information and computational reasoners.


Members in Residence

Johan van Benthem, Cleo Condoravdi, Thomas F. Icard III, Lauri Karttunen, Sven Lauer, Dan Lassiter, , Tania Rojas-Esponda, Stanley Peters, Annie Zaenen

Off-Campus Members

David Beaver, Danny Bobrow, Sabine Gründer, Graham Katz, Shalom Lappin, Larry Moss, Valeria de Paiva, Kyle Richardson, Richard Waldinger

Completed Sponsored Projects


Some of the lexical resources we have been working on for the FAUST project can be browsed by this link. We welcome comments and suggestions. Please let us know if you find the data useful for some project of yours and give us credit if you use the data.

Current Projects


Natural language provides speakers/authors with a variety of ways to signal to hearers/readers what their stance is on the factuality of events or the existence of the entities mentioned in the discourse. Linguists have studied these under the heading of implicatives, factives and epistemic modal expressions. The advent of crowd sourcing techniques allows us to refine and complement these studies. At this point we are looking at the following sub-issues:

Semantics and pragmatics of lucky

The construction be lucky to VP is ambiguous. Some people will be lucky to survive entails its complement clause: some people will survive. But Sam will be lucky to survive can be understood differently: probably Sam will not survive. The idiomatic ‘probably not’ interpretation of lucky is subject to a complex set of conditions. We are running experiments with Amazon's Mechanical Turk to systematically investigate all the factors that are involved.

Factive adjectives

While factive verbs have been studied extensively, there are few studies of factive adjectives. We are currently examining the various constructions in which factive adjectives can be found (e.g. It be ADJ that S, NP be ADJ that S, NP be ADJ to VP, It be ADJ to VP). Corpus and experimental evidence suggests that there is quite a bit of variation in the factivity status of these adjectives.

Working group on veridicality/factivity annotation standards

An international working group trying to define ISO standards for this type of annotation. If you are interested, send a message to


Workshop on Modality on April, 12 2013

Click here for more information.

Lexical Resources

Here is a link to a collection of lexical resources: lists of adjectives, verbs, and verb-noun collocations with their semantic signatures (factives, counterfactives, and six types of implicatives).

Last modified Thursday, 21-Mar-2013 22:04:17 PDT

Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional