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P* Reading Group, 4/12 — Alex Zhai

This Monday at 12:30pm, Alex (Z.) will present on her project titled “Acoustic characteristics of vowel reduction in advanced Spanish-English bilinguals”. All are welcome! To join the meeting, please use the information in the confirmation email that you received following registration. If you haven’t registered, please do so here.

Syntax/semantics group, 4/16 – Mathieu Paillé

This week’s syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Friday, April 16th at 2:30pm. Mathieu Paillé will present a 20-minute talk entitled “Généraliser l’unicité thématique: une alternative à base d’exhaustivité.”

The talk will be in French but following discussion can be in either French or English. The talk is meant for an audience of both syntacticians and semanticists.

Abstract: En général, les propositions simples n’admettent pas plus d’un constituant portant le même rôle thématique; c’est ce qu’on appelle l’unicité thématique (une idée bien connue par la seconde clause du critère thêta de Chomsky (1981), par exemple). On peut observer cela dans une phrase comme #Louise mange avec une fourchette avec une cuillère, où il y a deux instruments. Dans cette présentation, j’argumente que le concept d’unicité thématique est en fait un cas spécial d’un phénomène sémantique plus général. On compare donc le cas de #Certaines lettres pour Amy sont pour Simon (une violation d’unicité thématique) à d’autres effets semblables chez les prédicats simplexes, par exemple #Certaines responsabilités provinciales sont fédérales. Qu’elle soit «thématique» ou «prédicationnelle», je propose que cette unicité provient du renforcement sémantique des constituants en question, mais qu’il s’agit d’une sorte de renforcement particulière: les constituants doivent apparemment être renforcés localement (Chierchia et al. 2012), puisqu’un renforcement global ne créerait pas de contradiction interne à la phrase, et donc aucune illicéité.

Move and Agree, 4/16 – Neda Todorovic presents Barany and van der Wal 2021

The Move & Agree Reading Group is meeting this Friday, April 16 and Neda Todorovic will be discussing Barany & van der Wal 2021 paper entitled “We-dont-agree (only) upward”. Please contact Hermann Keupdjio for Zoom information.

Syntax/Semantics Reading Group, 4/9 — Martina Martinović

This week’s syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Friday, April 9th at 2:30pm. Martina Martinović will be presenting joint work with Dr. Ryan Bochnak (UBC).

Flavours of the future: The case of Wolof di

The auxiliary di in Wolof (Niger-Congo) is associated with several readings: an event-in-progress/progressive reading, a habitual reading, and a future reading. Interestingly, the availability of these readings depends on di’s structural position: when it is below C, all readings are available, but when it is in C, only the future reading is possible. We provide a unified analysis of the readings of di by combining and expanding on several independently motivated analyses for progressives, habituals, and modality. We propose that the behaviour of Wolof di provides new evidence for the idea that modal height correlates with modal flavour (Hacquard 2010, Kush 2011), specifically, that different modal bases are available at different syntactic heights because of the availability of different types of modal anchors. Progressives and habituals crucially involve event-relative circumstantial modality (Portner 1998, Ferreira 2016), and futures are derived from either a circumstantial or epistemic modal base (and give rise to different readings).

Move and Agree group, 4/9 – Terrance Gatchalian presents Bjorkman and Zeijlstra 2019

The Move & Agree Reading Group is meeting this Friday, April 09 and Terrance will be discussing Bjorkman and Zeijlstra’s 2019 paper entitled Checking Up on (ϕ-)Agree. Please contact Hermann Keupdjio for Zoom information.

P* Reading Group, 3/29 — Meghan Clayards

Next Monday at 12:30pm, Meghan will lead a discussion on “Context-dependent phonetic enhancement of a phonation contrast in San Pablo Macuiltianguis Zapotec” (Barzilai, M. L. & Riestenberg, K. J., 2021).

To join the meeting, please use information in the confirmation email that you received following registration. If you haven’t registered, please do so here.

Syntax/Semantics Reading Group — Canceled

There will be no Syntax-Semantics reading group this week. The next meeting will take place on Friday April 9th at 2:30pm.

P* Reading Group, 3/22 — Alex Zhai

This week Alex Zhai will be presenting work titled “Acoustic characteristics of vowel reduction in advanced Spanish-English bilinguals”. P* Group meets on Mondays at 12:30pm. All are welcome! To get information on how to join the meeting, please register here.

Syntax/Semantics Reading Group, 3/26 — Carol-Rose Little

This week’s syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Friday, March 26th at 2:30pm before the colloquium. Carol-Rose Little will be presenting some recent work on Ch’ol applicatives.

Abstract: In this talk, I will discuss the applicative morpheme as it shows up in external possession in Ch’ol. On the one hand, the possessor seems to have raised from its position from the theme DP. However, other data suggest that the external possessor and possessee are in fact a DP constituent, raising questions about its status as an external argument in certain contexts.

Syntax/semantics group, 3/19 – Zoë Belk on right-node raising

This week’s syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Friday, March 19thth at 2:30pm. Zoë Belk will be presenting some recent work on right-node raising.
Abstract: This paper argues, following Barros and Vicente (2011), for a mixed analysis of right-node raising, in which the phenomenon is derived either through ellipsis or through multidominance. It demonstrates that, while right-node raising has properties indicative of ellipsis and of multidominance, the two derivations are not in free variation: in some circumstances, only one derivation is possible. Right-node raising is therefore the result of two distinct derivations that both obey the same word order restrictions. This analysis accounts for a number of syntactic and semantic properties associated with right-node raising.

P* Reading Group, 3/8 — Alex Cucinelli

This week Alex Cucinelli will be leading discussion on “Assessing the psychological status of the Vowel Shift Rule” (Jaeger 1984). P* Group meets on Mondays at 12:30pm. All are welcome! To get information on how to join the meeting, please register here.

Syntax/Semantics Reading Group — Canceled

The Syntax-Semantics reading group will not be meeting this week. The next meeting will take place on Friday March 19th at 2:30pm.

Move&Agree, 3/5 – Chen 2017

Move&Agree Reading Group is meeting this Friday, March 05 and will be discussing Chen’s 2017 paper entitled Philippine type voice affixes as A’-agreement. Please contact Hermann Keupdjio for Zoom information.

P* Reading Group, 2/22 — Natália Brambatti Guzzo

This week Natália Brambatti Guzzo will be leading discussion on “Pretonic Vowel Reduction in Brazilian Portuguese: Harmony and Dispersion”. P* Group meets on Mondays at 12:30pm. All are welcome! To get information on how to join the meeting, please register here.

Sytax/Semantics group, 2/26 – Masashi Harada presenting Viola Schmitt

This week’s syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Friday, February 26th at 2:30pm. Masashi Harada will be presenting a recent paper by Viola Schmitt titled “Cumulation Across Attitudes and Plural Projection”. The presentation will be related to the colloquium talk that Viola Schmitt will be giving directly after the reading group. Below is an abstract for the paper.
Abstract: This paper investigates cumulative readings of sentences in which some, but not all of the plural expressions have a de dicto reading, i.e. sentences where the lower plural is interpreted in the scope of an attitude verb like believe. I argue that such cases represent a problem for existing accounts of cumulativity, because the required cumulative relation cannot be formed. I then motivate and propose an alternative analysis where all plural expressions are interpreted in situ: I expand the ‘plural projection’ framework put forth by Haslinger & Schmitt (2018, 2019), Schmitt (2019), where embedded pluralities ‘project’ to the denotations of higher nodes in the sense that the latter reflect the part-structure of the former and where cumulativity is derived via a compositional rule in a step-by-step fashion. I show that if the denotations of the plurals with the de dicto construal are analyzed as pluralities of individual concepts, which project in the afore-mentioned sense to pluralities of propositions, the data can be explained straightforwardly. This proposal differs from treatments in terms of collective belief that don’t appeal to pluralities of propositions (Pasternak 2018a,b), in that it (i) arguably generalizes to a larger number of examples and (ii) links grammatical plurality in the embedded clause to the availability of cumulative readings.

Syntax/semantics group, 2/19 – Hermann Keupdjio on resumptive pronouns in Bamikele (rescheduled)

This week’s syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Friday, February 19th at 2:30pm. Hermann Keupdjio––rescheduled from last week due to Montreal-wide internet problems––will be presenting his work on the syntax and semantics of resumptive pronouns in Bamileke entiled “Economy of derivation vs economy of interpretation: Resumption in Medumba”. An abstract is here: abstract

Syntax/semantics group, 2/12 – Hermann Keupdjio on resumptive pronouns in Bamikele

This week’s syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Friday, February 12th at 2:30pm. Hermann Keupdjio will be presenting his work on the syntax and semantics of resumptive pronouns in Bamileke entiled “Economy of derivation vs economy of interpretation: Resumption in Medumba”. An abstract is here: abstract

P* Reading Group, 2/8 — Beini Wang

Next Monday at 12:30pm, Beini will lead a discussion on “Tone languages and the universality of intrinsic F0: evidence from Africa”.

We are changing the meeting time because we are still trying to find a good time for everyone. If none of the times work well, we might do different times each week based on what’s best for most people and on the availability of the discussion leaders.

To join the meeting, please use information in the confirmation email that you received following registration. If you haven’t registered, please do so here.

Syntax/semantics group, 2/5 – Bernhard Schwarz

This week’s syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Friday, February 5th at 2:30pm. Bernhard Schwarz will be presenting his recent work with Alan Bale (Concordia) and David Shanks (McGill), ‘Measurement monotonicity and comparisons of concentration’. A precursor of this work can be found at: https://archive.illc.uva.nl/AC/AC2019/uploaded_files/inlineitem/Bale_Schwarz_and_Shanks_Monotonicity_restored_more_.pdf
Abstract: Grammar does not fully determine a measure function for much to invoke when combining with a mass noun, as in more watermore string, or more travel. But certain measure functions are invariably excluded. Schwarzschild (2006) argued that permissible measure functions must be monotonic—they must track the relevant parthood relation between entities in the mass noun’s extension. We draw attention to potential counterexamples to this constraint: comparisons of concentration, comparatives about the concentration of substances in substances that contain them. Such comparatives seemingly reference measure functions that are non-monotonic, as they seem to output degrees of purity or density (Bale and Barner 2009). Extending Bale and Schwarz (2020), however, we argue that they must not in fact be so analyzed. What such cases actually teach us, we propose, is that much can reference Skolemized measure functions—functions that map any individual, their Skolem argument, to a measure function.  Comparisons of concentration can arise when different values serve as Skolem arguments in the main clause and in the comparative clause. Schwarzschild’s constraint, now extended to also apply to the outputs of Skolemized measure functions, can and must be upheld.

P* Group — No Meeting

P* Group will resume regular scheduled meetings next week, stay tuned!

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