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Introduction: Julio Song

Hi all,

I'm Julio Song, a final-year linguistics PhD at Cambridge (UK) studying syntactic categories and their formal flexibility. When I introduce my research, I usually get reactions like 'that is too broad' and 'which categories more specifically', and I had always felt a bit uneasy to say what interested me was indeed 'category' on a broad, abstract level -- until I met Category Theory.

I've only started learning CT this year (upon a random conversation with a math PhD), but the more I understand, the more I realize it's exactly the kind of universe I want to settle in, for a major issue in my work is layered levels of category abstraction, and CT provides a tool to formulate precisely that! This came as a surprise, as I had naively assumed the application of CT in linguistics was confined to type-based semantics (and perhaps NLP), never expecting it to play a role also in (narrow) syntax, where the main interest is in hierarchical structure rather than compositionality (now I know CT is equally powerful in conveying both).

A second surprise in my learning journey is that Applied Category Theory is already a flourishing subdiscipline. This is exciting because the extensiveness of CT makes it almost a 'theory of everything', and reaching out to more areas is no doubt a step towards realizing this potential. Pupils of CT are fortunate, as we have such a nice community and super helpful online platforms like Azimuth. I found my way here a bit late but will try to catch up and am surely looking forward to learning a lot from all of you!

Julio

Comments

  • 1.

    Welcome, Julio! If you like mathematics that's abstract and general yet full of cogent insights, category theory is for you!

    There seems to be a thriving "category theory and linguistics" group at Oxford and other locations, and it's found its way into the ACT2018 school, with students working with Martha Lewis to read and blog about papers on the subject... I hope you've seen those blog articles.

    I don't know of any "category theory and linguistics" at Cambridge, but I've spent a lot of time visiting Cambridge and talking to Martin Hyland, Peter Johnstone, Marcelo Fiore and especially students of Martin Hyland - especially Eugenia Cheng, Tom Leinster and Aaron Lauda. So there's plenty of category theory to be found in Cambridge.

    If you want to start a discussion group on linguistics here, go ahead! It only takes a few mouse clicks: just post something under "Applied Category Theory Discussion Groups" (see the left of this page).

    Comment Source:Welcome, Julio! If you like mathematics that's abstract and general yet full of cogent insights, category theory is for you! There seems to be a thriving "category theory and linguistics" group at Oxford and other locations, and it's found its way into the ACT2018 school, with students working with Martha Lewis to read and blog about papers on the subject... I hope you've seen those blog articles. I don't know of any "category theory and linguistics" at Cambridge, but I've spent a lot of time visiting Cambridge and talking to Martin Hyland, Peter Johnstone, Marcelo Fiore and especially students of Martin Hyland - especially Eugenia Cheng, Tom Leinster and Aaron Lauda. So there's plenty of category theory to be found in Cambridge. If you want to start a discussion group on linguistics here, go ahead! It only takes a few mouse clicks: just post something under "Applied Category Theory Discussion Groups" (see the left of this page).
  • 2.

    Thanks for the welcome message and the useful information, @John! I will take a look at the research of the people you mentioned. I know there are a few people doing CT in the math department at Cambridge (basically those you mentioned) and also a seminar series running already for 10+ years, but linguistics-oriented work seems lacking (none in the linguistics department), which is a shame.

    And yes it is a great idea to start a discussion group. I see @KeithPeterson has already done it so will just join in there. :-)

    This online course is awesome. Thanks for making it happen!

    Comment Source:Thanks for the welcome message and the useful information, @John! I will take a look at the research of the people you mentioned. I know there are a few people doing CT in the math department at Cambridge (basically those you mentioned) and also a seminar series running already for 10+ years, but linguistics-oriented work seems lacking (none in the linguistics department), which is a shame. And yes it is a great idea to start a discussion group. I see @KeithPeterson has already done it so will just join in there. :-) This online course is awesome. Thanks for making it happen!
  • 3.

    See you around! Thanks for starting to ask some good questions!

    Comment Source:See you around! Thanks for starting to ask some good questions!
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