OSU Linguistics Logo Craige Roberts

portrait by Prudence Whittlesey 2013

Professor of Linguistics
The Ohio State University

My main areas of specialization within linguistics are formal semantics and pragmatics. Within these fields, my principal research interests are:

  • Anaphora, definiteness, and specificity. Indexicals and proper names.
  • Formal models of the context of utterance and its role in interpretation: Presupposition, focus, implicature, perspective, and domain restriction
  • The semantics and pragmatics of modality, mood, tense, and aspect
As a student I studied formal semantics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst under Barbara H. Partee. I then held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford, where I was exposed to interdisciplinary work on pragmatics in the tradition of Paul Grice, and to work on Planning Theory in AI. Since then, my work on pragmatics has involved a dialogue with colleagues in computer science, logic, philosophy, and psychology. In this vein, I am involved in an interdisciplinary Pragmatics Initiative, involving not only scholars and graduate students from the relevant disciplines at OSU, but also other scholars from the U.S. and Europe.

I've been collaborating with David Beaver, Mandy Simons, and Judith Tonhauser since 2006 on projects that pertain to projective meaning: presupposition, conventional implicature, and other non-assertoric aspects of utterance meaning. We have a new collaborative grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (2015-2018): "What's the question? A cross-linguistic investigation into compositional and pragmatic constraints on the question under discussion". This is related to two other projects: I've been a member of the German Science Foundation Research Network Questions in Discourse. And we are in dialogue with a project at the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research on Inquisitive Semantics.

The QUD is big this summer at NASSLLI (taking place at Rutgers). Judith, Mandy, David and I (aka BRST) are teaching a course on the subject, and Kyle Rawlins is teaching one on "Modeling Questions and Responses in Discourse". Plus I'll be part of a workshop organized by Daniel Altshuler and Sam Cumming on "Anaphora & Coherence", with a great line-up of participants. BRST is also organizing a special session of SemDial 2016; stay tuned for more details.

Also summer 2016: the Institut des Sciences Cognitives at UQAM has organized an interdisciplinary summer school on Reasoning/LeRaisonnement from June 20 through July 1st. Check out the line-up, including a session with yours truly, Jonathan Ginzburg and Matthew Stone.

I am also involved in a project on Perspectival Meaning with Jefferson Barlew and Eric Snyder. We organized a Special Session on "Perspectival expressions and the de se across languages" at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting in January, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

My colleague at OSU Philosophy, Stewart Shapiro, and I have a long-term project on natural language metaphysics. We're conducting a joint seminar on the natural language metaphysics of modality this spring term at OSU. In conjunction with that, we're organizing a workshop in March. More soon.

Up-coming talks:

  • February 13, 2016: "Conditional Plans and Imperatives" at the NYU Workshop on Imperatives and Deontic Modals, February 13, 2016..
  • May 3, 2016: "Linguistic convention and the architecture of interpretation". Rutgers colloquium.
  • May 6-7, 2016: talk at Mayfest 2016: Context, University of Maryland.
  • June 24, 2016: "Constrained practical reasoning in linguistic interpretation" at Reasoning/LeRaisonnement, summer school at l'Université de Québec à Montréal.
  • Sepember 15-18, 2016: conference on Friedrich Waismann, University of Vienna, Austria.

I'm an Associate Editor of the journal Linguistics and Philosophy, and a member of the editorial board of Semantics and Pragmatics.

Office Hours in Spring 2016: Tuesday 1:30-2:30 and by appointment.

Directions to office: Come to the east side of the Ohio Stadium, enter between doors 22 and 24. Come up to the first floor (one floor above ground) and follow the maps to #118G.

Contact Information:
Email: croberts AT ling.osu.edu
Department of Linguistics
108A Ohio Stadium East
1961 Tuttle Park Place Columbus, OH 43210