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.

I am also involved in a project on Perspectival Meaning with Jefferson Barlew and Eric Snyder. We are organizing 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.

Other up-coming talks:

  • December 16, 2015: "Assessing epistemic modal assertions" at the closing event of the Amsterdam project: The Inquisitive Turn.
  • December 16-18, 2015: "Conditional plans and imperatives: A semantics and pragmatics for imperative mood" at the Amsterdam Colloquium 2015.

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 Autumn 2015: Thursdays 3:45-5:00 and by appointment

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