As of 2023, I am the PI of the International Research Project LogicalFun (Logic and Language: Crosslinguistic Variation in the Semantics of Functional Words), a 5-year grant funded by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, INSHS. The consortium includes the following partner institutions:

The project aims to analyze the relevance of logical properties for the study of natural language phenomena, by showing that the ability to reason and draw inferences is an essential component of speakers’ semantic competence and, more generally, of the human language capacity. To this end, the project combines formal and crosslinguistic approaches to meaning to propose an in-depth and wide-ranging joint investigation of polarity and wh-systems, two linguistic phenomena that are typically investigated separately, despite the fact that they present pervasive morpho-syntactic and semantic connections across languages. Polarity-sensitive and wh-expressions are attested universally and are closely related to more commonly studied logical operators (connectives, quantifiers), yet have more complex distributional and interpretive properties across languages. They display remarkable sensitivity to the logical properties of the context where they occur, making them privileged areas to investigate the manifestations of logical resources in natural language and the influence of structure and context on semantic composition. The research currently planned in “LogicalFun” is organized in three work packages:

  • Crosslinguistic and language-internal diversity: provide a solid and diverse crosslinguistic empirical base for the joint study of polarity and wh-systems, which can serve as a basis for future studies of the two phenomena, regardless of the theoretical framework;
  • Meaning strengthening: propose unified alternative-based semantic analyses that explain the observed patterns and capture the attested variation, across phenomena and across paradigms;
  • Formal model: develop a valid and cognitively realistic model of the underlying semantic competence, responsible for speakers’ intuitions, with a full inventory of the building blocks and the meaning composition rules associated with these phenomena.