Michael Franke

Michael Franke
University of Tuebingen | EKU Tübingen · Department of Linguistics

PhD

About

99
Publications
11,485
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
936
Citations
Citations since 2017
39 Research Items
627 Citations
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140

Publications

Publications (99)
Article
Full-text available
In natural language conversations, speakers often communicate ‘if and only if’ when they say ‘if’. The reasons why in some circumstances, yet not all, conditionals receive a biconditional interpretation remain under investigation. Von Fintel (2001) proposed an account where the interpretation of a conditional (“if p, then q”) is predicted to depend...
Article
Full-text available
Although it is often assumed that the natural language expressions 'some' and 'or' are interpreted according to their first-order logic counterparts, in certain contexts, they receive a narrower interpretation: 'some' is strengthened to 'some, but not all', and 'or' to 'A or B, but not both'. This process is typically explained as an instance of sc...
Article
Full-text available
Language interfaces with many other cognitive domains. This paper explores how interactions at these interfaces can be studied with deep learning methods, focusing on the relation between language emergence and visual perception. To model the emergence of language, a sender and a receiver agent are trained on a reference game. The agents are implem...
Article
Full-text available
Words of estimative probability (WEPs), such as ‘possible’ and ‘a good chance’, provide an efficient means for expressing probability under uncertainty. Current semantic theories assume that WEPs denote crisp thresholds on the probability scale, but experimental data indicate that their use is characterised by gradience and focality. Here, we imple...
Article
Full-text available
In anticipating upcoming content, comprehenders are known to rely on real-world knowledge. This knowledge can be deployed directly in favor of upcoming content about typical situations (implying a transparent mapping between the world and what speakers say about the world). Such knowledge can also be used to estimate the likelihood of speech, where...
Article
Languages are powerful solutions to coordination problems: They provide stable, shared expectations about how the words we say correspond to the beliefs and intentions in our heads. Yet, language use in a variable and nonstationary social environment requires linguistic representations to be flexible: Old words acquire new ad hoc or partner-specifi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Language interfaces with many other cognitive domains. This paper explores how interactions at these interfaces can be studied with deep learning methods, focusing on the relation between language emergence and visual perception. To model the emergence of language, a sender and a receiver agent are trained on a reference game. The agents are implem...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research in cognitive science and psycholinguistics has shown that language users are able to predict upcoming linguistic input probabilistically, pre-activating material on the basis of cues emerging from different levels of linguistic abstraction, from phonology to semantics. Current evidence suggests that linguistic prediction also oper...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent advances in computational cognitive science (i.e., simulation-based probabilistic programs) have paved the way for significant progress in formal, implementable models of pragmatics. Rather than describing a pragmatic reasoning process in prose, these models formalize and implement one, deriving both qualitative and quantitative predictions...
Preprint
Full-text available
While a large body of work has scrutinized the meaning of conditional sentences, considerably less attention has been paid to formal models of their pragmatic use and interpretation. Here, we take a probabilistic approach to pragmatic reasoning about conditionals which flexibly integrates gradient beliefs about richly structured world states. We mo...
Article
Full-text available
Numerical descriptions furnish us with an apparently precise and objective way of summarising complex datasets. In practice, the issue is less clear-cut, partly because the use of numerical expressions in natural language invites inferences that go beyond their mathematical meaning, and consequently quantitative descriptions can be true but mislead...
Preprint
Languages are powerful solutions to coordination problems: they provide stable, shared expectations about how the words we say correspond to the beliefs and intentions in our heads. Yet language use in a variable and non-stationary social environment requires linguistic representations to be flexible: old words acquire new ad hoc or partner-specifi...
Article
Full-text available
The present study investigated how listeners understand and process the definite and the indefinite determiner. While the definite determiner clearly conveys a uniqueness presupposition, the status of the anti-uniqueness inference associated with the indefinite determiner is less clear. In a forced choice production task, we observed that participa...
Article
Significance Theoretical linguistics postulates abstract structures that successfully explain key aspects of language. However, the precise relation between abstract theoretical ideas and empirical data from language use is not always apparent. Here, we propose to empirically test abstract semantic theories through the lens of probabilistic pragmat...
Article
One of the great challenges in word learning is that words are typically uttered in a context with many potential referents. Children's tendency to associate novel words with novel referents, which is taken to reflect a mutual exclusivity (ME) bias, forms a useful disambiguation mechanism. We study semantic learning in pragmatic agents—combining th...
Article
Full-text available
Real-time speech comprehension is challenging because communicatively relevant information is distributed throughout the entire utterance. In five mouse tracking experiments on German and American English, we probe if listeners, in principle, use non-local, early intonational information to anticipate upcoming referents. Listeners had to select a s...
Preprint
Full-text available
Real-time speech comprehension is challenging because communicatively relevant information is distributed throughout the entire utterance. In five mouse tracking experiments on German and American English we probe, if listeners, in principle, use early intonational information to anticipate upcoming referents. Listeners had to select a speaker inte...
Preprint
Real-time speech comprehension is challenging because communicatively relevant information is distributed throughout the entire utterance. In five mouse tracking experiments on German and American English we probe, if listeners, in principle, use early intonational information to anticipate upcoming referents. Listeners had to select a speaker inte...
Preprint
Logic tells us that two negatives make a positive, but in language, things are not so black and white: A person "not unhappy" may not be entirely happy. We hypothesize that innovative uses of double negatives like "not unhappy" stem from listeners entertaining flexible meanings for negation markers like "not" and "un-", which context can then help...
Article
Full-text available
Conversation is often cast as a cooperative effort, and some aspects of it, such as implicatures, have been claimed to depend on an assumption of cooperation (Grice, 1989). But any systematic class of inference derived from assumptions of cooperation, such as implicatures, could also be, on occasion, used to deceive listeners strategically. Here, w...
Chapter
A vexing puzzle about vagueness, rationality, and evolution runs, in crude abbreviation, as follows: vague language use is demonstrably suboptimal if the goal is efficient, precise and cooperative information transmission; hence rational deliberation or evolutionary selection should, under this assumed goal, eradicate vagueness from language use. S...
Article
A presupposition is a condition that has to be met in order for a linguistic expression to be appropriate. The definite determiner (as in the banana) triggers the uniqueness-presupposition that there is a uniquely identifiable banana in the relevant discourse context. The indefinite determiner (as in a banana) is similarly associated with anti-uniq...
Article
There is substantial support for the general idea that a formalization of comprehenders' expectations about the likely next word in a sentence helps explaining data related to online sentence processing. While much research has focused on syntactic, semantic, and discourse expectations, the present event‐related potentials (ERPs) study investigates...
Preprint
Full-text available
Generalized linear mixed models are handy tools for statistical inference, and Bayesian approaches to applying these become increasingly popular. This tutorial provides an accessible, non-technical introduction to the use and feel of Bayesian mixed effects regression models. The focus is on data from a factorial-design experiment.
Article
We present novel experimental data pertaining to the use and interpretation of simple probability expressions (such as possible or likely) and complex ones (such as possibly likely or certainly possible) in situations of higher-order uncertainty, i.e., where speakers may be uncertain about the probability of a chance event. The data is used to crit...
Preprint
Full-text available
Listeners can rapidly integrate intonational information to infer a speaker's intended meaning. But not all components of an intonation contour contribute to meaning equally well. Prenuclear pitch accents, tonal events preceding the nuclear pitch accent in an utterance , have been described as not reliably mapping onto discourse meaning. We use mou...
Preprint
Full-text available
Intonation plays an integral role in comprehending spoken language. It is also remarkably variable, often exhibiting only probabilistic mappings between form and function. Despite this apparent uncertainty, listeners can rapidly integrate intonational information to predictively map a given pitch accent onto the speaker's likely referential intenti...
Article
Full-text available
According to standard linguistic theory, the meaning of an utterance is the product of conventional semantic meaning and general pragmatic rules on language use. We investigate how such a division of labor between semantics and pragmatics could evolve under general processes of selection and learning. We present a game‐theoretic model of the compet...
Preprint
Full-text available
Human behavior is often remarkably flexible, showing the ability to quickly adapt to the statistical peculiarities of a particular local context. When it comes to language, previous work has shown that listeners' anticipatory interpretations of intonational cues are adapted dynamically when cues are observed to be stochastically unreliable. This pa...
Article
Certain uses of vague quantifiers few and many intuitively compare a true quantity to a priori expectations about that quantity. A concrete proposal for the truth conditions of such readings stipulates a contextually-stable threshold on a contextually-variable representation of a priori expectations (Clark, H. H. 1991. Words, the world, and their p...
Article
Full-text available
Signalling games are popular models for studying the evolution of meaning, but typical approaches do not incorporate vagueness as a feature of successful signalling. Complementing recent like-minded models, we describe an aggregate population-level dynamic that describes a process of imitation of successful behaviour under imprecise perception and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Complex uncertainty expressions such as probably likely and certainly possible naturally occur in everyday conversations. However, they received much less attention in the literature than simple ones. We propose a probabilistic model of the use and interpretation of complex uncertainty expressions based on the assumption that their predominant func...
Article
Standard applications of evolutionary game theory look at a single game and focus on the evolution of behavior for that game alone. Instead, this article uses tools from evolutionary game theory to study the competition between choice mechanisms in a rich and variable multigame environment. A choice mechanism is a way of subjectively representing a...
Article
Full-text available
Compositionality is a key design feature of human language: the meaning of complex expressions is, for the most part, systematically constructed from the meanings of its parts and their manner of composition. This paper demonstrates that rudimentary forms of compositional communicative behavior can emerge from a variant of reinforcement learning ap...
Article
The scalar item some is widely assumed to receive a meaning enrichment to some but not all if it occurs in matrix position. The question under which circumstances this enrichment can occur in certain embedded positions plays an important role in deciding how to delineate semantics and pragmatics. We present new experimental data that bear on this t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Possibility and probability expressions, like possibly or probably, are frequently assumed to communicate that the probability of a proposition is above a certain threshold. Most previous empirical research on these expressions has focused on cases of known objective chance: if the true objective probability is given, would a speaker usepossibly, p...
Article
Probabilistic pragmatics aspires to explain certain regularities of language use and interpretation as behavior of speakers and listeners who want to satisfy their conversational interests in a context that may contain a substantial amount of uncertainty. This approach differs substantially from more familiar approaches in theoretical pragmatics....
Article
Full-text available
Recent advances in probabilistic pragmatics have achieved considerable success in modeling speakers’ and listeners’ pragmatic reasoning as probabilistic inference. However, these models are usually applied to population-level data, and so implicitly suggest a homogeneous population without individual differences. Here we investigate potential indiv...
Data
Data from Experiment 1. (CSV)
Data
URLs for Experiments. (PDF)
Data
Posterior Predictive Check for Heterogeneous Model. (PDF)
Data
Derivation of Predictions for Idealized Reasoning Types. (PDF)
Data
Explanation of Heterogeneous Type Definitions. (PDF)
Data
Details on the Calculation of Bayes Factors. (PDF)
Data
Data from Experiment 2. (CSV)
Data
Details on the Prior Elicitation Experiment. (PDF)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent years have seen increased interest in experimental approaches in pragmatics, but pragmatics has not been an experimental discipline from the start. As a result, a common problem is one of mapping between theory and experimental data: how do established theoretical notions carry over to precise predictions about to-be-expected data?; converse...
Article
Based on a concrete proposal for the semantics of vague quantifiers few and many suggests unspecified parameters which are hard to assess by introspection, we argue for the potential value of data-oriented computational modeling. We demonstrate how semantic values can be estimated from experimental data and a probabilistic model of language use.
Chapter
Recent developments in Bayesian experimental pragmatics have received much attention. The Rational Speech Act (RSA) model formalizes core concepts of traditional pragmatic theories quantitatively and makes predictions that fit empirical data nicely. In this paper, we analyze the RSA model and its relation to closely related game theoretic approache...
Article
Evolutionary game theory classically investigates which behavioral patterns are evolutionarily successful in a single game. More recently, a number of contributions have studied the evolution of preferences instead: which subjective conceptualizations of a game's payoffs give rise to evolutionarily successful behavior in a single game. Here, we wan...
Chapter
How can one influence the behavior of others? What is a good persuasion strategy? It is obviously of great importance to determine what information best to provide and also how to convey it. To delineate how and when manipulation of others can be successful, the first part of this chapter reviews basic findings of decision and game theory on models...
Article
Language use and interpretation is heavily contingent on context. But human interlocutors need not always agree what the actual context is. In game theoretic approaches to language use and interpretation, interlocutors’ beliefs about the context are the players’ beliefs about the game that they are playing. Together this entails that we need to con...
Article
Evolutionary game theory is a general, but mathematically precise framework for modeling the competition between and fitness-based selection of different types of behavior. We review recent applications of this framework to account for the evolution of behavior that lends meaning to ostensible acts and signs.
Chapter
Full-text available
We survey a number of game theoretic models that capture speakers’ and listeners’ pragmatic back-and-forth reasoning about mutual beliefs and linguistic behavior (i.e., utterance choice and interpretation). Two types of models are presented. Firstly, models that rely on rationality of choices and beliefs therein are shown to predict general pragmat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many natural language quantifiers are classically associated with a stringent binary semantics, and similarly categorical pragmatic enrichments. But much experimental data shows that intuitions about appropriateness of use seem to be more fuzzy and more subtle, yet highly regular nonetheless. To account for these gradient typicality judgements, I s...
Article
In a recent contribution in this journal, Sascia Pavan proposed a new game theoretic approach to explain generalized conversational implicatures in terms of general principles of rational behavior. His approach is based on refining Nash equilibrium by a procedure called iterated admissibility. I would like to strengthen Pavan’s case by sketching an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper addresses two issues that arise in a degree-based approach to the semantics of positive forms of gradable adjectives such as /tall/ in the sentence /John is tall/ (e.g., Kennedy & McNally 2005; Kennedy 2007): First, how the standard of comparison is contextually determined; Second, why gradable adjectives exhibit the relative-absolute di...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Compositional language use shows in creatively associating hitherto unencountered meanings and forms in systematic ways. I submit that compositionality, as a key feature of human language, is no reason not to see a continuum between human speech and animal communication. Basic forms of compositional creativity presuppose surprisingly little cogniti...
Conference Paper
Leading models of language evolution seek to explain key properties of language as emerging from repeated interactions of language-using agents. This paper will explore some of the consequences that integrating a more realistic social interaction structure into established models of language evolution in terms of evolutionary game theory has and re...
Article
We compare level-κ utility maximization and level-κ regret minimization in evolutionary competition based on averages of one-shot plays over many randomly generated strategic games. Under the assumption that Theory-of-Mind-reasoning of depth κ incurs a cost monotoni- cally increasing with κ, our results show that mixed states with low levels of rea...
Article
Game theoretic pragmatics is a small but growing part of formal pragmatics, the linguistic subfield studying language use. The general logic of a game theoretic explanation of a pragmatic phenomenon is this: (i) the conversational context is modelled as a game between speaker and hearer; (ii) an adequate solution concept then selects the to-be-expl...
Article
Full-text available
We reopen the investigation into the formal and conceptual relationship between bidirectional optimality theory (Blutner in J Semant 15(2):115–162, 1998, J Semant 17(3):189–216, 2000) and game theory. Unlike a likeminded previous endeavor by Dekker and van Rooij (J Semant 17:217–242, 2000), we consider signaling games not strategic games, and seek...
Article
Basic speech-act distinctions apply quasi-universally across languages, but little attention has been paid so far to formally modelling the evolution of these. Even worse so, standard models of language evolution from evolutionary game theory deliver functionally ambiguous meanings: evolved meanings in Lewisean signalling games seem hybrids between...
Article
Full-text available
Linguistic pragmatics assumes that conversation is a by-and-large cooperative endeavour. Although clearly reasonable and helpful, this is an idealization and it pays to ask what happens to natural language interpretation if the presumption of cooperativity is dropped, be that entirely or only to some degree. Game theory suggests itself as a formal...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Lewis (1969) invented signaling games to show that meaning convention can arise simply from regularities in communicative behavior. This paper contributes to the question how the forma-tion of signaling conventions depends on the social structure of a population. Our results not only show that different language conventions can coexist, but also wh...
Conference Paper
Kennedy (2007) explains differences in the contextual variability of gradable adjectives in terms of salience of minimal or maximal degree values on the scales that these terms are associated with in formal semantics. In contrast, this paper suggests that the attested contextual variability is a consequence of a more general tendency to use gradabl...
Article
Full-text available
Quantity implicatures are inferences triggered by an utterance based on what other utterances a speaker could have made instead. Using ideas and formalisms from game theory, I demonstrate that these inferences can be explained in a strictly Gricean sense as *rational behavior*. To this end, I offer a procedure for constructing the context of uttera...
Article
Full-text available
We model unawareness of possibilities in decision-making and (linguistic) pragmatic reasoning. A background model is filtered through a state of limited awareness to provide the epistemic state of an agent who is not attending to all possibilities. We extend the standard notion of awareness with assumptions (implicit beliefs about propositions the...
Chapter
A number of constructions in various languages display a different behavior in the scope of epistemic and deontic modals. For example, the German indefinite determiner irgendein gives rise to different inferences under the two kinds of modals (Aloni and Port 2010; Kratzer and Shimoyama 2002). Furthermore, while the Romanian determiner vreun is lice...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Vagueness is a pervasive feature of natural languages that is challenging semantic theories and theories of language evolution alike. We focus here on the latter, addressing the challenge of how to account for the emergence of vague meanings in signaling game models of language evolution. We suggest that vagueness is a natural property of meaning t...
Conference Paper
This paper summarizes the essence of a recent game theoretic explanation of free choice readings of disjunctions under existential modals ([8]). It introduces principles of game model construction to represent the context of utterance, and it spells out the basic mechanism of iterated best response reasoning in signaling games.
Conference Paper
This paper applies a model of boundedly rational “level-k thinking” [1,3] to a classical concern of game theory: when is information credible and what shall I do with it if it is not? The model presented here extends and generalizes recent work in game-theoretic pragmatics [4,6]. Pragmatic inference is modeled as a sequence of iterated best respons...
Article
Full-text available
To some, the relation between bidirectional optimality theory and game theory seems obvious: strong bidirectional optimality corresponds to Nash equilibrium in a strategic game (Dekker and van Rooij 2000). But in the domain of pragmatics this formally sound parallel is conceptually inadequate: the sequence of utterance and its interpretation cannot...
Article
Full-text available
This thesis offers a general game theoretic model of language use and interpretation and applies it to linguistic pragmatics in the vein of Grice (1989). The model presented here —called the ibr model— explains pragmatic phenomena, such as conversational implicatures, as arising from a sequence of iterated best responses: starting from the literal,...
Article
To some, the relation between bidirectional optimality theory and game theory seems obvious: strong bidirectional optimality corresponds to Nash equilibrium in a strategic game (Dekker and van Rooij 2000). But in the domain of pragmatics this formally sound parallel is conceptually inadequate: the sequence of utterance and its interpretation cannot...
Technical Report
Models and methods of rational choice theory naturally suggest them- selves as excellent candidates for formal accounts of pragmatic inferences conceived in a Gricean fashion as the result of interpreting language use as rational human action. This paper spells out a particular way of us- ing game theory in linguistic pragmatics and assesses weakne...
Article
This paper applies a model of boundedly rational “level-k thinking” (c.f. Stahl and Wilson, 1995; Crawford, 2003; Camerer, Ho and Chong, 2004) to a classical concern of game theory: when is information credible and what shall I do with it if it is not? The model presented here extends and generalizes recent work in game-theoretic pragmatics (Stalna...
Chapter
Full-text available
Pseudo-imperatives, a special kind of sentential conjunctions and disjunctions, display a surprisingly divergent preference bias. This paper aims to explain this pragmatic preference puzzle based on the different discourse segmentation behavior of conjunction and 'and' disjunction 'or'. To lend credence to the suggested explanation, related non-sta...
Chapter
Biscuit conditionals (BCs) are certain non-standard conditionals named after Austin's famous example: ``There are biscuits on the sideboard, if you want them.'' Although conditional constructions on the surface, BCs lack the standard reading of conditionals: it is commonly held that the IF-clause of a BC does not restrict the truth of the consequen...
Article
According to the optimal assertions approach of Benz and van Rooij, conversational implicatures can be calculated based on the assumption that a given signal was optimal, i.e. that it was the sender's best choice if she assumes, purely hypothetically, a particular naive receiver interpretation behavior. This paper embeds the optimal assertions appr...
Article
Full-text available
According to von Fintel and Iatridou (2005a) teleological sufficiency statements, i.e. sentences of the form "In order for p, only have to q", pose a problem of compositionality: it is not clear how to account for their intuitive meaning in terms of a standard theory of only and the meaning of the embedding sentence "In order for p, have to q". The...
Article
Full-text available
Pseudo-Imperatives Michael Franke Abstract: Pseudo-imperatives are compound sentences where an imperative sentence is followed by 'and' or 'or' and a declarative sentence. Schematically, pseudo-imperatives are of the form: an imperative I + 'and' | 'or' + a declarative sentence D Following Schwager's (2004) terminology, I will refer to pseudo-imper...
Article
Full-text available
Lewis (1969) invented signaling games to show that meaning convention can arise simply from regularities in communicative behavior. This paper contributes to the question how the formation of signaling conventions depends on the social structure of a population. Our results not only show that different language conventions can coexist, but also whe...

Network

Cited By