Author Archive for McLing

P* Reading Group – Jan 10

In the winter 2017 semester, P* Reading Group will meet on Tuesdays 1-2 pm in Room 117. The first meeting of the semester will be on Tuesday 10th at 1-2 pm in Room 117. Don will lead a discussion of Mattys et al. (2014). Extrinsic cognitive load impairs low-level speech perception. Everyone is welcome!

Two Talks by Mats Rooth and Dorit Abusch on October 11

Mats Rooth and Dorit Abusch will give two semantics taks on Tuesday October 11th (from 12:30 to 2:30 in room 002.) The title of the talks are:
Dorit Abusch, “A dynamic semantics for indexing in pictorial narratives.”
Mats Rooth, “Picture descriptions, centered content, and finite state intensional semantics.”
Everybody is invited.

Semantics Reading Group: Friday 9, Maayan Adar

The Semantics Research Group will meet this year on Friday’s from 3-4:30 in room 117 on days when we do not have colloquia scheduled. If your are interested in presenting any research (original or someone else’s) on anything related to semantics or one of its interfaces, please send Dan Goodhue an e-mail.

To kick off this semester (and building on our discussions about questions over the summer), Maayan Adar (MA McGill ’14) is visiting from UCLA on Friday the 9th to tell us about his research on NPI licensing in embedded questions (see abstract below). All are welcome to attend!

 

McGill at CLS 52

The 52nd Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, held at the University of Chicago from April 21 to 23, featured three presentations by McGillians:

  • Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron, Michael Wagner & Meghan Clayards: The effect of production planning locality on external sandhi: A study in /t/
  • Dejan Milačić: Two types of dual number
  • Luis Alonso-Ovalle (McGill): Spanish siquiera in the EVEN landscape

TOM 9: A Success.

The ninth Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal workshop in semantics (TOM 9) took place on Saturday, April 23, 2016, at McGill, in the Ballroom of Thomson House. The workshop was well attended and offered all participants, faculty and students alike, many opportunities for thought provoking exchanges. Congratulations to the organizers: Elena Russo, Chris Bruno, Junko Shimoyama and Bernhard Schwarz.

 

IMG_3109

 

Buccola & Spector in Linguistics and Philosophy

Brian Buccola’s (McGill PhD 2016) paper Modified numerals and maximality has been accepted for publication at Linguistics and Philosophy. The article, which is co-authored with Benjamin Spector, builds on central parts of Brian’s PhD thesis Maximality in the semantics of modified numerals.  Congratulations, Brian!

Luis Alonso-Ovalle at the APA Pacific Meeting

Luis Alonso-Ovalle has just returned from the 90th Annual Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, where he was invited to deliver a commentary (“Do Scalar Alternatives Provide Enough Truthmakers? (A Note on Santorio, Paolo (2015) “Alternatives and Truthmakers in Conditional Semantics”).

TOM 9 at McGill

The ninth Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal workshop in semantics (TOM 9) will take place on Saturday, April 23, 2016, at McGill in the Ballroom of Thomson House. The program includes two talks by students from our department:

Francesco Gentile: “Degree questions and collective predication: a puzzle for interval semantics”

Dan Goodhue: “VERUM focus and epistemic bias in English polar questions”

The full program is available here: http://tom9semantics.wix.com/tom9

There is no registration fee, but those planning to attend are requested to pre-resister at the link provided above.

Schwartz and Goad in Language Acquisition

Misha Schwartz (BA 2014) and Heather Goad’s paper Indirect positive evidence in the acquisition of a subset grammar has just been accepted for publication in Language Acquisition. The abstract appears below:
This paper proposes that second language learners can use indirect positive evidence (IPE) to acquire a phonological grammar that is a subset of their L1 grammar. IPE is evidence from errors in the learner’s L1 made by native speakers of the learner’s L2. It has been assumed that subset grammars may be acquired using direct or indirect negative evidence or, in certain L1–L2 combinations, using positive evidence. The utility of IPE is tested by providing native speakers of English with indirect evidence of the phonotactic constraints holding of word-initial clusters in Brazilian Portuguese (BP), which are a subset of those in English. Participants were tested on the well-formedness of BP-like words and the results indicate that approximately one-third were able to use the IPE to make appropriate BP-like judgements. This suggests that IPE may be another source of evidence that learners can use to build a grammar that is a subset of their own L1 grammar.

TOM 9 @ McGill: April 23

The Department of Linguistics at McGill University is hosting the 9th annual Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal workshop on semantics (TOM 9) on Saturday April 23, 2016.

Invited speakersMichela Ippolito (University of Toronto) and Guillaume Thomas (University of Toronto).

Call for papers: TOM is an ideal venue for graduate students to present their ongoing work and to get feedback from faculty and fellow students. As in previous years, TOM 9 accepts abstracts for talks and posters. Talks will be 20 minutes long with 10 minutes for questions. Abstracts should be maximum one-page in length, with at least one-inch margins and 12 point font (Times or equivalent), and should indicate whether they should be considered for a talk, a poster, or both.

Please submit your abstract to the contact person in your area:

Toronto/Hamilton: Michela Ippolito <michela.ippolito@utoronto.ca

Bernhard Schwarz <bernhard.schwarz@mcgill.ca

Ottawa: Raj Singh <subazad@gmail.com>

Deadline for abstract submission: March 1, 2016

Notification of acceptance: by March 15.

Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron in Journal of Semantics

Oriana Kilbourn-Cerón’s article “Embedded Exhaustification: Evidence from Almost” has been accepted for publication at the Journal of Semantics. Congratulations, Oriana!

Epistemic Indefinites

Epistemic IndefinitesEpistemic Indefinites: Exploring Modality Beyond the Verbal Domain, a collected volume edited by Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Paula Menéndez-Benito has just been published by Oxford University Press. Congratulations to all contributing authors and to the editors!

 

Schwarz in “Semantics and Pragmatics”

“Consistency preservation in Quantity implicature: the case of at least“, a new paper by Bernhard Schwarz has been accepted for publication in Semantics & Pragmatics. Congratulations, Bernhard!

TOM 8 at Carleton

The 8th Annual Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Workshop on Semantics is taking place on April 11 at Carleton. Our own Dan Goodhue and Henrison Hsieh are presenting.

You can check the program here:

http://carleton.ca/ics/cu-events/tom-8-eighth-annual-toronto-ottawa-montreal-workshop-semantics/

 

Luis Alonso-Ovalle at Cornell

Luis Alonso-Ovalle has just returned from a trip to Cornell University where he gave a colloquium talk at the Department of Linguistics. The title of his talk was: “Modality in the Nominal Domain: Random Choice and Modal Harmony”

Announcement: SIAS Summer Institute 2015-2016

2015–2016 INSTITUTE

The Investigation of Linguistic Meaning: In the Armchair, in the Field, and in the Lab

  • July 20–31, 2015
    Berlin, Germany, organized by the Wissenschaftskolleg and ZAS
  • July 18–29, 2016
    Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA, organized by the National Humanities Center

CONVENERS AND GUEST LECTURERS

  • Angelika Kratzer, Professor of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • Manfred Krifka, Professor of General Linguistics at Humboldt Universität Berlin and
    Director of the Zentrum für Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin (ZAS)
  • Emmanuel Chemla (ENS and Institut Jean Nicod, Paris); Lisa Matthewson (University of British Columbia); Jesse Snedeker (Harvard University); Malte Zimmermann (Universität Potsdam).

Continue reading ‘Announcement: SIAS Summer Institute 2015-2016’

Syntax/Semantics Reading Group: 11/21 – Hadas Kotek on Questions (Part II)

Hadas Kotek will present this Friday, November 21, at the Syntax/Semantics Reading Group (Room 117 at 3:00) on her work on questions. This is the second part of the November 7 presentation. All welcome!

I will present the theory of question semantics proposed in my dissertation. The theory builds on Cable’s (2007; 2010) syntax of pied-piping, where interrogative movement is driven by Q-particles (silent in English, but visible in e.g. Tlingit), but develops a new semantics for this system. I show that this new semantics is able to  model a range of data not captured at the same time in previous theories, including intricate patterns of pied-piping, superiority effects, the presuppositions of questions, the readings of multiple questions, and focus intervention effects in multiple questions. Time permitting, I will also discuss some possible modifications and expansions of the theory that I have been contemplating recently. (Although this presentation is a continuation of the presentation I gave two weeks ago, new participants are welcome! I will re-introduce the theory at the beginning of the talk.)

Syntax/Semantics Reading Group, 10/14 – Hadas Kotek on questions

Hadas Kotek will present this Friday, November 7, at the Syntax/Semantics Reading Group (Room 117 at 3:00) on her work on questions.

In this talk I present the theory of question semantics proposed in my dissertation. The theory builds on Cable’s (2007; 2010) syntax of pied-piping, where interrogative movement is driven by Q- particles (silent in English, but visible in e.g. Tlingit), but develops a new semantics for this system. I show that this new semantics is able to  model a range of data not captured at the same time in previous theories, including intricate patterns of pied-piping, superiority effects, the presuppositions of questions, the readings of multiple questions, and focus intervention effects in multiple questions. Time permitting, I will also discuss some possible modifications and expansions of the theory that I have been contemplating recently.

Syntax/Semantics Reading Group, David Nicolas (Institute Jean Nicod), 10/10

Friday, October 10, 2014 | 3:00 -4:30 pm

David Nicolas, (Institute Jean Nicod) “Plural logic and sensitivity to order” (joint work with Salvatore Florio KSU)

Sentences that exhibit sensitivity to order (e.g. John and Mary arrived at school in that order and Mary and John arrived at school in that order) present a challenge for the standard formulation of plural logic. In response, some authors have advocated new versions of plural logic based on more fine-grained notions of plural reference, such as serial reference (Hewitt 2012) and articulated reference (Ben-Yami 2013). The aim of this article is to show that sensitivity to order should be accounted for without altering the standard formulation of plural logic. In particular, sensitivity to order does not call for a more fine-grained notion of plural reference. We point out that the phenomenon in question is quite broad and that current proposals are not equipped to deal with the full range of cases in which order plays a role. Then we develop an alternative, unified account, which locates the phenomenon not in the way in which plural terms can refer, but in the meaning of special expressions such as in that order and respectively.

At Last Two Days At Least

As previously announced, Bernhard Schwarz and Luis Alonso-Ovalle presented at the Two Days At Least workshop organised by the ERC funded ROSE project (Restriction and Obviation in Scalar Expressions) led by Rick Nouwen and his team at Utrecht University. The conference was held at the Kasteel de Hooge Vuursche to where McLing reporters were sent to provide the picture below.

2014-09-10 19.58.27

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