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Barbara Hall Partee Edit Profile

linguist , university professor

Barbara Hall Partee, American linguist, educator. Recipient Chancellor's medal University Massachusetts, 1977; National Endowment of the Humanities fellow, 1982-1983; International Research and Exchanges Board fellow, 1989-1990, 95, Fulbright fellow 2000.


Partee, Barbara Hall was born on June 23, 1940 in Englewood, New Jersey, United States. Daughter of David B. and Helen M. Hall.


Bachelor with high honors in Mathematics, Swarthmore College, 1961. Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1965. Doctor of Science (honorary), Swarthmore College, 1989.

Doctor of Science (honorary), Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1992. Doctor of Science (honorary) (honorary), Russian State Humanities University, Moscow, 2001.


She is one of the founders of contemporary formal semantics in the United States. She retired from UMass in September 2004. Partee began her professorial career at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1965 as an associate professor of linguistics.

She taught there until 1972, when she transferred to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, soon becoming a full professor. During her time at UMass Amherst, she has taught numerous students who would become notable linguists including Gennaro Chierchia and Irene Heim. She helped popularize Montague's approach to the semantics of natural languages among linguists in the United States, especially at a time when there was a lot of uncertainty about the relation between syntax and semantics.

In her later years she has become increasingly interested in a new kind of intellectual synthesis, forging connections to the tradition of lexical semantic research as it has long been practiced in Russia.


  • Honors she received include the presidency of the Linguistic Society of America (1986), honorary doctorates from Swarthmore College(1989), Charles University in Prague (1992), Copenhagen Business School (2005), and University of Chicago (2014), election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1984) and the United States National Academy of Sciences (1989). In 1992, she received the Max-Planck-Forschungspreis (research award of the Max Planck Society. Together with Hans Kamp).

    She has been a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2002.



Through her interactions with the philosopher and logician Richard Montague at UCLA in the 1970s she played an important role in bringing together the research traditions of generative linguistics, formal logic, and analytic philosophy, pursuing an agenda pioneered by David Lewis in his 1970 article General Semantics.


Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Academy of Sciences (chair anthropology section 1993-1996), American Academy Arts and Sciences, Sigma Xi. Member Linguistic Society of America (president 1986), American Philosophical Association, Association Computational Linguistics, Royal Netherlands Academy Arts and Sciences (foreign).


Married Morriss Henry Partee, 1966 (divorced 1971). Children: Morriss M., David M., Joel T. Married Emmon Werner Bach, 1973 (divorced 1996).

Married Vladimir B. Borschev, 1997.

David B.

Helen M. Hall

Morriss Henry Partee

Emmon Werner Bach

Vladimir B. Borschev

Morriss M. Partee

David M. Partee

Joel T. Partee