The topic of the courses in the area Variation is the wealth of variation of natural language meaning, as it arises based on diverse historical, language-specific, social, and medial conditions. Here, the following questions are put forward:


  • What facilitates and limits the historical variability of linguistic meaning? What are the differences and commonalities between the semantic components of the various languages of the world? How do sign languages convey meaning?
  • How do social relations and the social role of both the speaker and the hearer influence the constitution of natural language meaning?
  • What is the evolutionary potential of human languages, and how does this relate to the languages of animals? How can computer­aided methods contribute to the investigation of natural language semantics?


The following courses are offered:


C1 (Remus Gergel) Anything goes in semantic change? Using data, compositionality and the interfaces towards a restrictive theory

C2 (Thomas Jügel) Perfect mapping: Typological similarities and variations of the perfect across languages

C3 (Gemma Barberà) The meaning of space in sign language: Conveying reference in a different language modality

C4 (Sally McConnell-Ginet) Meaning, society, and power

C5 (Cedric Boeckx) The descent of meaning: Primate semantics, with Modification

C6 (Christina Unger) Computational approaches to meaning