We were excited to host the first Experiments in Linguistic Meaning (ELM*) conference virtually by the University of Pennsylvania, September 16-18, 2020. Information on continued engagement with conference presentations and access to videos and materials can be found on the 2020 Conference page.

The conference is dedicated to the experimental study of linguistic meaning broadly construed, with a focus on theoretical issues in semantics and pragmatics, their interplay with other components of the grammar, their relation to language processing and acquisition, as well as their connections to human cognition and computation. It aims to include representation of linguistic, psychological, logical, philosophical, social, developmental, computational, as well as cross-linguistic and cross-cultural perspectives.

While having to do an online event was not the same as the in-person ELM we had envisioned, we were excited to see all the high quality work presented. We hope that the platform we used to implement – campuswire.com – allowed for lots of interaction in an easy and accessible way and made for an interactive and community-building experience. Also, we are already beginning plans for a second, in-person ELM at Penn in May 2022!
(Save the date: May 19-21, 2022)

Invited Speakers:

David Barner
(Psychology and Linguistics, UCSD )

Suzi Lima
(Linguistics, University of Toronto)

Jonathan Phillips
(Cognitive Science, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Philosophy, Dartmouth)

Maribel Romero
(Linguistics, University of Konstanz)

The experimental study of meaning in language draws on a broad spectrum of disciplines, topics, and methodologies, and ELM reflects this diversity in its scope. We plan to hold ELM biennially to foster the interdisciplinary study of meaning, and to create a community of scholars that might not otherwise meet and interact with each other with regularity. We encourage researchers from around the world to submit their recent work to ELM1, and to attend in order to discuss the latest theories and data in the cognitive science of meaning broadly construed.

The University of Pennsylvania is home to a vibrant interdisciplinary community that studies language and meaning across several departments. ELM acknowledges support from Penn’s Integrated Language Sciences and Technology (ILST) Initiative; mindCORE, Penn’s hub for the integrative study of the mind; and Penn’s Department of Linguistics.

Philadelphia is a UNESCO World Heritage City with great history, culture, restaurants and museums. Most major points of interest are within walking distance of the conference location.


Florian Schwarz: florians@sas.upenn.edu

Anna Papafragou: anna4@sas.upenn.edu

Stay tuned about ELM 1 and future iterations by joining our Mailing List!



The Linguistic Society of America (LSA) is proud to publish the Proceedings of ELM. Find out more about membership here.

*By coincidence, two conferences with the acronym ELM were conceived of at the same time. If you’re looking for our friends at the other ELM, click here: Expression, Language, Music (ELM 2020)