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:
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.
- 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
I've been collaborating with
Mandy Simons, and
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
in Discourse. And we are in dialogue with a project at the
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific
Research on Inquisitive
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
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
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,
My colleague at OSU
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.
- 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"
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
and Philosophy, and a member of the editorial board
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.
Email: croberts AT ling.osu.edu
Department of Linguistics
108A Ohio Stadium East
1961 Tuttle Park Place
Columbus, OH 43210