Hi. I’m a Professor of Linguistics at New York University. You can email me at email@example.com.
Here is my CV, and here is my Google Scholar web page.
Research: I’m a semanticist, that is, I study natural language meaning. These days I’ve been working on scope, dynamics, and update. I love to talk to linguists, philosophers of language, and computer scientists, and I’m especially interested in adapting techniques from functional programming such as functors, monads, and continuations.
- Meaning: I developed and teach a general-education course called Meaning, which is part of the Texts and Ideas component of the Humanities CORE at NYU. We engage with the work of Aristotle, Bacon, Wittgenstein, Grice, and many others. Creating meaning is one of the supreme activities of the human species–but what, exactly, are we doing when we create meaning? How should we think about meaning?
- Introduction to Semantics: I also teach Introduction to Semantics in the Linguistics department.
- Keeping Track of Conversations: Scoreboards, Semantics and Psychology (working title): in Spring 2022, Liz Camp, Andy Egan and I are teaching a joint Rutgers/NYU seminar rethinking the role of language in communication. What’s so special about truth, anyway?
- Dynamic Semantics: I taught a seminar in spring of 2021 on Dynamic Semantics. Course materials and a lightly annotated bibliography are available here. See also my new draft (just below).
- Monads and all that: Jim Pryor and my course on some beautiful and useful computational techniques here.
- Current Projects:
- Dynamic Semantics
- Composing local contexts: This is a newly revised version of a paper I drafted in 2008. It uses an innovative continuation-passing style transform to provide a minimal dynamic semantics on which dynamic effects depend only on truth conditions and order of evaluation.
- Rethinking scope islands. 2021. Linguistic Inquiry. Contrary to the standard wisdom, abundant naturally-occuring data shows that clauses are not scope islands. Preprint and Haskell code available here.
- The logic of Quantifier Raising. 2020. Semantics and Pragmatics, Early Access. The first study of the formal properties of Quantifier Raising. I show that QR is decidable, even in the presence of unrestricted type lifting.
- NL-lambda as the Logic of Scope and Movement. 2019. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 28, 217–237. Decidability, interpolation, and soundness and completeness proofs for a logic with Quantifier Raising and a unit, which can characterize both overt and covert movement.
- Selected Papers:
- Negative polarity as scope marking. 2018. Linguistics and Philosophy 41.5: 483–510. doi:10.1007/s10988-018-9234-2
- Why relational nominals make good concealed questions. 2016. Lingua 182: 12–29. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2016.01.002
- Scope. In Shalom Lappin and Chris Fox (eds). 2015. The Handbook of Contemporary Semantics, 2d edition. Wiley-Blackwell. 47–87. doi:10.1002/9781118882139.ch2
- Barker, Chris and Chung-chieh Shan. 2014. Continuations and Natural Language. Oxford University Press.
- Bumford, Dylan and Chris Barker. 2013. Association with distributivity and the problem of multiple antecedents for singular different. Linguistics and Philosophy 36.5: 355–369. doi:10.1007/s10988-013-9139-z
- Scopability and Sluicing. 2013. Linguistics and Philosophy. 36.3:187–223. doi:10.1007/s10988-013-9137-1
- Negotiating taste. Inquiry 56.2–3: 240–257. doi:10.1080/0020174x.2013.784482
- Quantificational binding does not require c-command. 2012. Linguistic Inquiry 43.4: 614–633. doi:10.1162/ling_a_00108.
- Imperatives denote actions. 2012. In Ana Aguilar Guevara, Anna Chernilovskaya, and Rick Nouwen (eds). Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 16, Volume 1. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics. 57–70
- Free choice permission as resource-sensitive reasoning. 2010. Semantics and Pragmatics 3.10: 1–38. doi:10.3765/sp.3.10
- Cosubstitution, derivational locality, and quantifier scope. 2010. Proceedings of TAG+10: The 10th International Conference on Tree Adjoining Grammars and Related Formalisms.
- Clarity and the grammar of skepticism. Mind and Language 24.3: 253–273. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0017.2009.01362.x
- Chris Barker and Chung-chieh Shan. 2008. Donkey anaphora is in-scope binding. Semantics and Pragmatics 1.1: 1–42. doi:10.3765/sp.1.1
- Parasitic Scope. 2007. Linguistics and Philosophy. 30.4: 407–444. doi:10.1007/s10988-007-9021-y
- Direct Compositionality on Demand. 2007. In Chris Barker and Pauline Jacobson (eds). Direct Compositionality. Oxford University Press. 102–131.
- Chris Barker and Pauline Jacobson (eds). 2007. Direct Compositionality. Oxford University Press.
- Possessive weak definites. In Kim, Ji-yung, Lander, Yury, and Partee, Barbara H. (eds). 2005. Possessives and Beyond: Semantics and Syntax. Amherst, MA: GLSA Publications. 89–113.
- Continuations and the nature of quantification. 2002. Natural Language Semantics 10.3:211–242. doi:10.1023/a:1022183511876
- The Dynamics of Vagueness. 2002. Linguistics and Philosophy 25.1:1–36. doi:10.1023/a:1014346114955
- Individuation and Quantification. 1999. Linguistic Inquiry 30.4:683–691. doi:10.1162/002438999554264
- Partitives, Double Genitives, and Anti-uniqueness. 1998. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 16:679–717. doi:10.1023/a:1005917421076
- Episodic -ee in English: A thematic role constraint on new word formation. 1998. Language 74.4:695–727. doi:10.2307/417000
- Presuppositions for Proportional Quantifiers. 1996. Natural Language Semantics 4:237–259. doi:10.1007/bf00372821
- Possessive Descriptions. 1995. CSLI Press.
- Chris Barker and David Dowty, Non-verbal thematic proto-roles. 1993. Proceedings of NELS 23, Amy Schafer (ed). GSLA, Amherst, 49–62.
- Group terms in English: representing groups as atoms. 1992. Journal of Semantics 9: 69–93. doi:10.1093/jos/9.1.69
I’m rebuilding (November 2020) my professional web page (this page), please be patient…
Older stuff: an elementary lambda tutorial