Second. Best. Summer. School. Ever.

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NASSLLI PIC NASSLLI 2010 is a week long summer school that offers 15 superlative graduate level courses and workshops on Language, Logic and Information from leading scholars, plus pre-session tutorials to bring you up to speed. And the price is incredibly low, just $150 for the entire week if you're a student and register by May 1.

"Second best"? We'll come to that.

As part of a team of nine academics drawn from Linguistics, Computer Science, and Philosophy, I helped pull the NASSLLI 2010 program together, and I'm really, really excited about all the courses we're offering. In fact, my problem now is that the program is so exciting that I can't figure out what not to tell you about.

Since this is Language Log, I could maybe get away with not mentioning the logic courses, and concentrating instead on all the courses that are more obviously on linguistics and computational linguistics. Then I wouldn't talk about the concentration of three courses and workshop on Dynamic Epistemic Logics (DEL) put together and taught by leaders in this rapidly developing area (Hans van Ditmarsch, Eric Pacuit, and Alexandru Baltag and Sonja Smets). Mind you, DELs are logics of communication par excellence, and have applications to classic puzzles in philosophy of language like the Muddy Children's Paradox. Maybe it's best if I do mention the DEL concentration.

Well, ok, but I definitely don't need to mention the course David McCarty is offering on Applications of Intuitionistic Logics. Then again, he does say that the culmination of the course will be an answer to the question “How large is a language?”

Hmm. I certainly can't leave out Mathias Niepert's course on Markov Logic, since that presents a framework for modeling mixtures of hard and soft constraints with very obvious applications to problems in language. And I can't leave out Jeff Pelletier's introductory course on Many-Valued Logics because they're so fundamental to linguistic problems like vagueness and presupposition, and because Jeff has done so much brilliant work on semantics, including being a chief architect of the best named publication on semantics ever, The Generic Book.

You might think I could omit mention of Carlos Areces and Patrick Blackburn's tutorial and introductory course Logics: A Modal Perspective. Well, except that you may never get a better prerequisite free introduction to logic, and modal logics in particular, the class of logics which have been and remain central to studies of central topics in linguistics and philosophy of language, like time, and intensionality. Besides, I can still vividly remember Patrick's inimitable lecturing style: after he proves compactness, you will feel finite for several minutes.

But this is a real problem. I'm forced to publish a huge long post leaving out none of the NASSLLI courses, since I obviously can't omit mention of any of the following courses:

Cleo Condoravdi and Sven LauerImperative Meaning in Context

Kathleen Currie HallPhonological Relationships in Linguistic Theory

Greg KobeleMinimalist Grammars

Sandra Kübler and Markus DickinsonDependency Parsing

Shalom LappinComputational Learning Theory and Poverty of the Stimulus Arguments

Larry Moss and Annie ZaenenWorkshop on Inference from Text

Reinhard MuskensNatural Language Semantics

John PaolilloStatistical Models of Language

I can only think of one reason why graduate students and other researchers with an interest in formal approaches to language should not attend NASSLLI: they'll find it close to impossible to decide what courses not to take.

And now a request. If you can think of a good reason why people should enroll in NASSLLI, please feel free to comment below. Maybe those of you who've been to previous NASSLLI's, or the European equivalent ESSLLI (the two summer schools are supported by the same international organization, FoLLI) have stories to tell, and can post comments about the great experiences you've had at similar summer schools, and why young researchers should rush to register.

As for me, personally, well, the ESSLLI summer schools played a formative role in my graduate studies, and introduced me to a spectacular array of friends and colleagues, dozens and dozens of whom I'm still in regular contact with years afterwards. But the ESSLLI summer schools gave me much more than that. For it was at a certain ESSLLI summer school, in Saarbrücken, Germany, almost 20 years ago (and this, obviously, was the best summer school ever), that I met the woman I later married.

As you see, this is a unique opportunity: please register right away for NASSLLI 2010! And if you can persuade your friends to register too, we'll waive all your future Language Log subscription fees.


  1. Kenny Easwaran said,

    April 16, 2010 @ 2:27 am

    One thing you didn't mention is that it's in Bloomington. Although I haven't been there, a friend of mine was just visiting the math department there a few days ago and said it's the prettiest college town he's seen.

  2. emilio said,

    April 16, 2010 @ 5:27 am

    I am an italian linguist. I've been at the ESSLLI last summer. The offering was extraordinarily rich and the quality just excellent. Definitely, I didn't know what courses not to take. The unusual way linguistics, logic and CS blended together was a plus, in my opinion. I plan to attend the next one in Copenhagen this year. I'm sure NASSLLI is great as well. I recommend it to everybody.

  3. Mike said,

    April 16, 2010 @ 10:45 am

    I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Moss give a talk on Natural Logic about a month ago at the Association for Symbolic Logic annual conference. Wonderful presentation from a wonderful speaker. I certainly wish I could attend this event.

  4. Mark Liberman said,

    April 16, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

    I believe that when you separate the words with periods, it's becoming obligatory to spell the last one "evar".

    (If only I had a punctuation aware search engine with by-date indexing and trustworthy hit counts I could try to document this putative trend, and find out of it applies with! exclamation! marks! too! Hope springs eternal.

    BTW, I like the notion "becoming obligatory".

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