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Supported by

  • SSHRC (410-2010-1264; Bernhard Schwarz and Junko Shimoyama, Co-PIs)
  • SSHRC (435-2013-0103; Luis Alonso-Ovalle, PI; Bernhard Schwarz and Junko Shimoyama, Co-Is.)
  • FQRSC (2012-SE-144646; Lisa Travis, PI)
  • FQRSC (2013-NP-164823; Luis Alonso-Ovalle, PI)

Syntax-Semantics Research Group


Summer 2014

DatePresentationBackground reading(s)

Friday, August 22, 2014

3:00 -4:30 pm

Alanah McKillen, "Anaphora and Focus."

Sauerland (2013) "Presuppositions and the Alternative Tier" and Heim (2008) "Features on Bound Pronouns"

Friday, July 30, 2014

3:00 -4:30 pm

Alex Drummong, "Condition B and Dahl's paradigm".

Friday, June 6, 2014
10:00 - 11:30 am

Shimoyama, Drummond, Schwarz and Wagner, "Dislocation, fragments, and ellipsis"

Ott, Dennis and Mark de Vries (2013) Right-dislocation as deletion. Ms. Univ. of Groningen.
Friday, June 20, 2014
3:00 - 4:30 pm

Brian Buccola on Al-Khathib (2013) 'Only' and Association with Negative Antonyms. Ph. Diss. MIT (Part I)

Al-Khatib's dissertation is available here: http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/84414
Friday, June 27, 2014
3:00 - 4:30 pm

Brian Buccola on Al-Khathib (2013) 'Only' and Association with Negative Antonyms. Ph. Diss. MIT (Part II)

Winter 2014

Meeting Time

Fridays 3:00-4:30 pm 
Room 117, 1085 Dr. Penfield

The syntax-semantics research group meeting is an informal venue where people interested in syntax, semantics and pragmatics gather to present their work in progress, or discuss articles. Graduate students who work or wish to work in these areas are expected to participate. This is an ideal place to get feedback, so students are particularly encouraged to present articles of their interest, present various stages of their projects for term papers, evaluation papers or dissertations, or try out with practice talks for conferences. Starting this semester, we will have a series of informal tutorials on semantic topics. These mini 'crash courses' do not presuppose any background in semantics. Drop Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Brian Buccola or Alanah McKillen a line if you want to present something.

DatePresentationBackground reading(s)
Friday, February 14, 2014
3:00-4:30 pm
Meg Grant on processing subset comparatives.
Friday, March  21, 2014
3:00-4:30 pm
David-Étienne Bouchard: "The purpose of this tutorial will be to provide a semantics to sentences containing a degree operator, in particular the comparative morpheme 'more¹. In order to do this we will introduce degrees in our semantic ontology and enrich the denotations of gradable adjectives like tall and heavy. Degree operators will be treated as quantifiers over degrees and shown to have some flexibility in scope, albeit in a limited manner. Kennedy (1999), Projecting the Adjective, chapter 1. Heim (2001). Degree Operators and Scope.
Friday, April 25, 2014
3:00-4:30 pm
David-Étienne Bouchard: Tutorial on degree semantics, part II.

Fall 2013

Meeting Time

Fridays 3:00-4:30 pm 
Room 117, 1085 Dr. Penfield

The syntax-semantics research group meeting is an informal venue where people interested in syntax, semantics and pragmatics gather to present their work in progress, or discuss articles. Graduate students who work or wish to work in these areas are expected to participate. This is an ideal place to get feedback, so students are particularly encouraged to present articles of their interest, present various stages of their projects for term papers, evaluation papers or dissertations, or try out with practice talks for conferences. Drop Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Brian Buccola or Alanah McKillen a line if you want to present something.

DatePresentationBackground reading(s)
Friday, September 13, 2013
3:00-4:30 pm
Brian Buccola on scalar modifiers.

Elizabeth Coppock and Thomas Brochhagen, Raising and resolving issues with scalar modifiers, Semantics and Pragmatics, 6-3, pp. 1-57

Friday, September 27, 2013
3:00-4:30 pm
Dan Goodhue. "Intonation in English yes/no responses."

Krifka, Manfred. (2013) Response particles as propositional anaphors. SALT 23.

Liberman, M., and Sag, I. (1974). Prosodic form and discourse function. Proceedings of Chicago Linguistics Society (CLS), 10,

Thursday, October 3, 3:00 -4:30pm Alex Drummond and Junko Shimoyama. "QR as an agent of vehicle change."

Bhatt, Rajesh and Shoichi Takahashi. (2011) Reduced and unreduced phrasal comparatives. NLLT 29:581-620.

Thursday, October 10, 2:30 -5:00pm

2:30-3:45 Mats Rooth (Cornell University): TBA (on focus)

3.45pm Refreshments

4.00-5.15pm Dorit Abusch (Cornell University): Anaphoric relations in sequential and conflated pictures 

Friday, October 11, 3:00 -4:30pm Brendan Gillon on dative shift.

Friday, October 18, 2013
3:00-4:30 pm
Oriana Kilbourn-Cerón. "Almost: scope and covert exhaustification."

Penka, D. (2006) Almost there: the meaning of almost. Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung. 

Chierchia, G., Fox, D. & Spector, B. (2011) The grammatical view of scalar implicatures and the relationship between semantics and pragmatics. In Semantics : an international handbook of natural language meaning. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

NOTICE:
11:30-1:00
Leacock 738

Rajesh Bhatt (UMass Amherst). "An Argument for Semantically Contentful Head Movement
(with Stefan Keine)"

In this presentation we develop an argument that head movement may have semantic effects and that it can hence not be a PF phenomenon.The argument is based on novel facts regarding scope in infinitival complementation structures in German. We show that every elementinside the infinitival clause must take scope over the matrix verb ifthe embedded clause is a VP that remains in situ. If, by contrast, theembedded clause is either a vP or a VP that undergoes movement, no such wide scope is possible. We propose that wide scope of embedded elements is the result of syntactic verb cluster formation: The infinitival verb incorporates into the higher verb. To obtain theobserved scope facts, we suggest that the verb cluster is semantically interpreted via Function Composition. Supplemented with standard assumptions about the interpretation of movement, this account derivesthe wide scope of material inside the embedded clause.

Friday, November 8, 2013
3:00-4:30 pm

Room 117

Keir Moulton (Simon Fraser University). Tentative title: "Separating Crossover from Cataphora, Experimentally."

Bianchi, Valentina. 2010. A note on backward anaphora
Barker, Chris. 2012. Quantificational binding does not require c-commandLinguistic Inquiry 43: 614-633.
Elbourne, Paul. 2005. Situations and individuals, MIT Press. 
Schlenker, Philippe. 2005. Non-redundancy: Towards a semantic reinterpretation of binding theory. Natural Language Semantics 13:1-92. 

Friday, November 29, 2013
3:00-4:30 pm
Eliot Michaelson (Philosophy. McGill), "Against Salientism". Abstract: Both philosophers of language and linguists commonly appeal to salience in order to fix the meanings of context-sensitive terms in context.  By considering the particular case of demonstratives, I will argue that the claim that salience fixes meaning in context is either trivial and uninformative, or else it is false.  To show this, it will prove necessary to distinguish between four different types of salience: objective, speaker-oriented, listener-oriented, and coordinative.  Objective salience, I argue, is in fact conceptually incoherent.  The other three notions, on the other hand, make bad predictions in a number of cases.  On this basis, I suggest that salience-based theories ought to be dispreferred to the alternative hypothesis ---that speakers' intentions are in fact responsible for fixing meaning in context.

Cancelled

Friday, December 6, 2013 3:00-4:30 pm

Marzieh Mortazavinia on even Crnic, Luka. 2011. Getting even. Ph.D. Dissertation, MIT. (focus on chapter 6)
Rullmann, H. 1997. Even, polarity, and scope. Papers in experimental and theoretical linguistics 4. 40–64.

Friday, December 6, 2013 2:30-4:30 pm

Practice talks for the 19th Amsterdam Colloquium (Alexandra Simonenko, Dan Goodhue, Bernhard Schwarz, Luis Alonso-Ovalle.)