Type Theory and the
Semantics of Local Context

James Pustejovsky
Computer Science Department Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02454 USA

In this course, I will address the question of how words encode context. More specifically, I examine the formal mechanisms responsible for argument and adjunct selection in language. I outline a theory of lexically type-driven semantic selection and composition that permits restricted polymorphisms, while explaining the creative use of words in novel contexts. Building explicitly on Generative Lexicon's richer notion of compositionality, I explore the type language and logic necessary to model local context in natural language. Words encode local context as typing information. The compositional rules of the language refer to these types. The operations possible during composition for these types are: selection, coercion, exploitation, and introduction. I present analyses of many well-known grammatical constructions using combinations of these mechanisms. I will explore the formal properties of the languages that are generated by inclusion of these selection mechanisms, and review how cross-linguistic selection phenomena correlate with the model presented here.