[picture of Lauri Karttunen] Lauri Karttunen

I am an Adjunct Professor in Linguistics at Stanford and an ACL Fellow. I started my academic life as a semanticist and switched over to computational linguistics in the 1980s. During my many years at Xerox I did pioneering work on finite-state technology and its linguistic applications. Currently I am back in semantics thinking about local textual inference at Stanford. I am a member of a group of researchers at the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI). The name of our group is Language and Natural Reasoning.

I received my Ph.D. in Linguistics from Indiana University in 1969 on a semantics dissertation about discourse referents, and pronoun/antecedent relations (Bach-Peters sentences, paycheck pronouns). As a Linguistics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, 1969-1983, I worked mostly on semantics. My papers from that period are about topics such as implicative verbs, presuppositions, conventional implicatures, and questions. During my last years at UT I became more and more interested in computational issues. The 1983 KIMMO system was an early implementation of two-level morphology. At the SRI AI Laboratory in 1984-1987 my main interest was parsing in a unification-based grammar formalism, SRI's PATR-II. If you are interested in vintage papers from these years, please visit my Paper Archive.

At PARC from 1987 to 2011, on loan to XRCE between 1994 and 2000, I made contributions to finite-state technology and its application to morphology and syntax. In 2003 Kenneth R. Beesley and I published a textbook on Finite State Morphology that comes with software for creating and using finite-state networks. The book has its own web site. There are many commercial applications of this technology starting with Inxight in 1997, a PARC spin-off now part of SAP. The European META-NET organization awarded XFST a META Seal of Recognition at the 2012 Meeting in Brussels.

The Association for Computational Linguistics gives each year at its Annual Meeting a ‟Lifetime Achievement Award.″ I became the recipient of the 2007 award at the 45th Annual Meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, June 26, 2007. See the video of the award ceremony and my acceptance speech, “Word Play.” The written version of the talk appeared in the December 2007 issue of Computational Linguistics.

The Linguistics Department at Indiana University honored me with a Distinguished Alumni Award in April 2009. My acceptance speech tells the story of how I got Bloomington and managed to get a Ph.D. in Linguistics.

Recent Presentations

A Learning Corpus for Implicatives Slides for the presentation at the Semantics and Pragmatics Group meeting at Stanford. December 5, 2016.

Presupposition: What went wrong? Slides for the presentation at the special session on Presuppositions at the 26th SALT Conference at UTAustin, May 10, 2016.

From Natural Logic to Natural Reasoning. Slides for the presentation at the 16th CICLing conference in Cairo, Egypt, April 16, 2015.

Three ways of not being lucky Slides with presentation notes for the invited talk at SALT 24, May 30, 2014 at NYU.

Recent Publications

Presupposition: What went wrong? Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 26, Mary Moroney, Carol-Rose Little, Jacob Collard, and Dan Burgdorf, (eds.), 705-731, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 2016.

From Natural Logic to Natural Reasoning. In the Proceedings of CICLing 2015, Part I, LNCS 9041, Alexander Gelbukh, (ed.), 295-309, Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, 2015.

(with Stanley Peters, Annie Zaenen, and Cleo Condoravdi) The Chameleon-like Nature of Evaluative Adjectives. In Empirical Issues in Syntax and Semantics 10, Christopher Piñón, (ed.),233-250, CSSP–CNRS, Paris, 2014.

You Will Be Lucky To Break Even. In From Quirky Case to Representing Space: Papers in Honor of Annie Zaenen. Tracy Holloway King and Valeria de Paiva, editors, 167-180. CSLI Publications, Stanford, CA. 2013.

Simple and Phrasal Implicatives. In the Proceedings of *SEM: The First Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics. Montréal, Canada. June 7-8, 2012, 124-131.

Pattern Matching with FST -- A Tutorial. Technical Report TR-2010-01. Palo Alto Research Center, Palo Alto, CA, 2010.

Word Play. Computational Linguistics 33:4 443-467. 2007.

(with D.B. Bobrow, B. Cheslow, C. Condoravdi, V. de Paiva, T. H. King, R. Nairn, C. Price, A. Zaenen) PARC’s Bridge and Question AnsweringSystem. In Proceedings of the GEAF 2007 Workshop. CSLI Studies in Computational Linguistics.

(with D.B. Bobrow, C. Condoravdi, V. de Paiva, T. H. King, Rowan Nairn, C. Price, A. Zaenen) Precision-focused Textual Inference. In the Proceedings of ACL-PASCAL Workshop on Textual Entailment and Paraphrasing, June 28-29, 2007. Prague, Czech Republic.

The Insufficiency of Paper-and-Pencil Linguistics: the Case of Finnish Prosody. In Intelligent Linguistic Architectures: Variations on themes by Ronald M. Kaplan, Miriam Butt, Mary Dalrymple, and Tracy Holloway King (eds), 287-300, CSLI Publications, Stanford, California, 2006.

(with  Rowan Nairn and Cleo Condoravdi) Computing relative polarity for textual inference. In the Proceedings of ICoS-5 (Inference in Computational Semantics). April 20-21, 2006. Buxton, UK.

Numbers and Finnish Numerals. In A Man of Measure Festschrift in Honour of Fred Karlsson on his 60th Birthday, a special supplement to SKY Journal of Linguistics, vol 19:2006, Mickael Suominen, Antti Arppe, Anu Airola, Orvokki Heinämäki, Matti Miestamo, Urho Määttä, Jussi Niemi, Kari K. Pitkänen and Kaius Sinnemäki (eds.) 407-421.

(with Kenneth R. Beesley) Twenty-five years of finite-state morphology. In Inquiries into Words, Constraints and Contexts. Festschrift for Kimmo Koskenniemi on his 60th Birthday(2005), Antti Arppe, Lauri  Carlson, Krister Lindén, Jussi Piitulainen, Mickael Suominen, Martti Vainio, Hanna Westerlund and Anssi Yli-Jyrä (eds.), 71-83, CSLI Studies in Computational Linguistics ONLINE, Copestake, Ann (Series Editor). CSLI Publications, Stanford, California. 2005.

(with Annie Zaenen and Richard Crouch) Local Textual Inference: can it be defined or circumscribed? ACL 2005 Workshop on Empirical Modelling of Semantic Equivalence and Entailment. June 30, 2005. Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Christopher D. Manning. Local Textual Inference: It's hard to circumscribe, but you know it when you see it - and NLP needs it. MS. Stanford University. 2006.

(with Richard Crouch and Annie Zaenen) Circumscribing is not excluding: A reply to Manning. MS. Palo Alto Research Center. 2006.

(with Annie Zaenen) Veridicity. In Annotating, Extracting and Reasoning about Time and Events. Dagstuhl Seminar Proceedings 05151, G. Katz, J. Pustejovsky, F. Schilder (eds.), Dagstuhl, Germany. 2005.

Computing with Realizational Morphology. In Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Text Processing, Alexander Gelbukh (ed.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 2588, 205-216, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg. 2003.

Some Classic Papers on Semantics

Discourse Referents. In Semantics: Critical Concepts in Linguistics. Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach (ed.), Vol. III, 20-39. Routledge, 2003. Also in Syntax and Semantics 7: Notes from the Linguistic Underground, 363-85, J. D. McCawley (ed.), Academic Press, New York 1976. Translations: Textreferenten. In Semantik und Generative Grammatik, pages 175-197, F. Kiefer (ed.), Athenaeum, Frankfurt 1972; Referenti testuali.  In La linguistica testuale, 121-147, M.-E. Conte (ed.), Feltrinelli, Milan 1977. The first version of this paper appeared in the Proceedings of Coling'69.

Syntax and Semantics of Questions. In Formal Semantics. The Essential Readings. Paul Portner and Barbara H. Partee (eds.), pages 382-420. Blackwell, 2003. Also in Semantics: Critical Concepts in Linguistics. Javeier Gutiérrez-Rexach (ed.), Vol. V, 207-249. Routledge, 2003 and in Questions,  H. Hiz (ed.), 165-210, Reidel, Dordrecht 1978.  Originally appeared in Linguistics and Philosophy 1 1-44, 1977.

(with Stanley Peters) Conventional Implicature. in Syntax and Semantics 11, Presupposition, 1-56, C.-K. Oh and D. A. Dinneen (eds.), Academic Press, New York 1979.

Presupposition and Linguistic Context. Theoretical Linguistics 1 181-94, 1974. Also in Pragmatics: A Reader, Steven Davis (ed.), 406-415, Oxford University Press, 1991. Translation: Presuposición y contexto lingüistico. In Textos clásicos de pragmática (eds.), 175-192, María Teresea Julio and Ricardo Muños, Arco Libros, Madrid 1998.

The Logic of English Predicate Complement Constructions. Publications of the Indiana University Linguistics Club, Bloomington 1971. Translations: Die Logik englischer Prädikatkomplement-konstruktionen. in Generative Semantik, 243-78, W. Abraham and R. Binnick (eds.), Athenaeum, Frankfurt 1973; La logique des constructions anglaises à complément prédicatif. Langages 8 56-80, 1973.


Finite State Morphology. Kenneth R. Beesley and Lauri Karttunen. CSLI-Studies in Computational Linguistics, CSLI-Publications, Stanford, CA, 2003. The original paperback version was reissued as an eBook in 2014. The book has its own web site: FSM Book Home Page

Paper Archive

Lauri Karttunen <laurik@stanford.edu>
Center for the Study of Language and Information
210 Panama St.
Stanford, CA 94305, USA

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