Title: “Quantifying compositionality using Partial Information Decomposition”

Abstract: In this talk, I will present ongoing work on compositionality and idioms. Natural language is usually understood to be compositional, even though many utterances seem to violate the principle, the most obvious example being idioms. With an idiom, it is not enough the know the meanings of the subparts and the way those parts are combined, as there is some extra information that comes from the joint occurrence of the subparts. At the same time, idioms seem to differ among themselves in how how much of their meaning comes from their individual words. These facts suggest that a definition of compositionality that corresponds to intuitions should place utterances along a spectrum and should make reference to an amount of meaning contribution. I propose a novel information-theoretic definition of compositionality and present ongoing experimental work on the topic.

Date: Tuesday September 19th at 3:00 PM

Location: Meetings are held both in person in room 117 of McGill Linguistics department and on zoom.