• Research CV

    In Progress



    Selected Presentations

    • 2020. Rationalizing evaluativity. Sinn und Bedeutung 25. (with Jessica Rett). [slides] [recording]

    • 2019. Superlative scope, comparison classes, and negative polarity. Invited colloquium, USC. [slides]

    • 2018. Effectful composition in natural language semantics. NASSLLI 2018: New type-theoretic tools in natural language semantics (with Simon Charlow). [slides]

    • 2018. Binding into superlative descriptions. Semantics and Linguistic Theory 28. [slides]

    • 2017. Split-scope effects in definite descriptions. Invited colloquium, Boston University.

    • 2016. Polyadicity in descriptions. Invited talk, University of Pennsylvania.

    • 2016. Monadic dynamic semantics: Side effects and scope. Natural Language and Computer Science 4 (with Simon Charlow). [slides]

    • 2016. The rabbit in the hat is back: Definites with joint uniqueness presuppositions. Definiteness Across Languages (with Lucas Champollion and Linmin Zhang).

    • 2016. Decomposing definiteness: Effects of delayed quantification in descriptions. Semantics and Linguistic Theory 26. [poster]

    • 2016. Split-scope definites. Invited talk, Queen Mary University. [slides]

    • 2015. Temporal modification without pronouns. Invited talk, NYU Continuations and Scope Workshop. [handout]

      2015. Adjectives of comparison. Invited talk, UCSC S-Circle (with Chris Barker).

    • 2014. Incremental quantification and the dynamics of pair-list phenomena. Invited talk, Stanford Construction of Meaning Workshop. [slides]

    • 2013. Universal quantification as iterated dynamic conjunction. 19th Amsterdam Colloquium.

    • 2013. Generalized association with distributivity. Semantics and Linguistic Theory 23 (with Chris Barker). [poster]

    • 2012. It-clefts are IT (inquiry-terminating) constructions. Semantics and Linguistic Theory 22 (with Dan Velleman, David Beaver, Emilie Destruel, Edgar Onea, and Elizabeth Coppock). [poster]

    • 2011. "Yes, but..." -- Exhaustivity and at-issueness across languages. Third Workshop on Projection, Entailment, Presupposition, and Assertion (with Dan Velleman, David Beaver, Emilie Destruel, and Edgar Onea). [poster]

    • 2009. Effects of grammatical form and familiarity on metaphor comprehension. Metaphor Festival, Stockholm (with Lauretta Reeves).

  • Resources github/dylnb

    Lecture Notes

    • Notes, papers, and code demonstrating the use of monads as a tool for natural language semantics from my ESSLLI 2015 course with Chris Barker and Simon Charlow.

    Semantic Fragments

    • Haskell code for Bumford 2015, "Incremental quantification and the dynamics of pair-list phenomena", embedded in an implementation of Charlow's (2014) monadic dynamic semantics.

    • Haskell code for Bumford and Barker 2013, "Association with distributivity and the problem of multiple antecedents for singular 'different'".

    • Yet another PLA calculator, this time with rewritable history! The calculator is written in Elm, a purely functional language, so the code is the semantics. Also check out Simon Charlow's command line version, and Chris Potts's original web app.

    Experiments, Simulations, Data

    • A Jupyter notebook computing and demonstrating the Rational Speech Act models reported in Bumford and Rett 2020, "Rationalizing evaluativity"

    • The javascript and related source material for a grammar learning experiment to be online using psiTurk. The experiment elicits production data during exposure to an artificial language, and explores the role of expectation in complex pattern learning.

    Other Projects

    • I designed and help maintain the Semantics and Linguistic Theory site

    • The Lambda Calculator, "an interactive, graphical application to help students of natural language semantics practice derivations in the typed lambda calculus" (developed in coordination with Lucas Champollion, Josh Tauberer, and Maribel Romero)

    • Djinn-Grams, a collection of self-fulfilling n-grams

  • About dbumford@ucla.edu

    I am an Assistant Professor in UCLA's Department of Linguistics. My research concentrates on formal semantics and pragmatics, especially in their interfaces with theoretical computer science. My dissertation explored ways in which dynamic semantics and split-scope mechanisms can help make sense of apparently indeterminate definite descriptions, like relative superlatives. I have also worked on pair-lists, temporal modification and domain restriction, neg-raising, and statistical grammar learning. In addition, I'm involved in an ongoing collaborative project investigating exhaustivity implicatures, clefts, and exclusives across languages.

  • Classes at UCLA


    • Definiteness and degrees: Spring 2018
    • Relative clauses and reconstruction: Spring 2019


    • Semantic Theory I: Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020
    • Semantic Theory II: Winter 2018
    • Semantic Theory III (Dynamic Semantics): Spring 2020


    • Introduction to Linguistic Analysis: Fall 2017
    • Semantics I: Winter 2020
    • Semantics II: Winter 2018, Winter 2019
    • Mathematical Structures in Language: Fall 2018