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Syntax-Semantics Reading Group, 9/24 – Alex Göbel

The first syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Friday, September 24th at 2:30pm. Alex Göbel will be presenting his work, “Accommodation, Global and Local: Experimental Data from English & Vietnamese“. We will also set up the schedule for the semester.

Abstract:

The ability of (some) presuppositions to be accommodated – either relative to the global context when they are not satisfied or locally when embedded under a semantic operator in order to prevent a clash – constitutes an important aspect of semantic theorizing but is empirically not well understood. In this collaborative project with Thuy Bui (Nguyen Tat Thanh University, Vietnam), we were interested in assessing whether global and local accommodation difficulty pattern together across a range of presupposition trigger types – following up on an impressionistic overlap of prior classifications – and if as a result the two accommodation types should be viewed as being rooted in the same underlying mechanism or not. I will present data from three experiments comparing English and Vietnamese to address this issue, additionally contributing an extension to an understudied language and a cross-linguistic perspective.

Please remember to register in advance at the following link: https://mcgill.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZArduGorzMsH9YD9vzVXNnLxjWRfiB6ZLqk. You can also sign up for slots here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1WHtIRQVvHXipoVKlh-0xhHYKuCh55b5CwPqA4n3ueBM/edit#gid=0. Finally, if you did not receive an email from Jonny last Friday (through the group mailing list) and wish to be added to the list, please email him. (jonathan.palucci@mail.mcgill.ca)

P* Reading Group

The time of the P* group meeting will be 1-2 pm on Thursdays. The first meeting will be on Sept 23 (1: 00 pm). To attend the meeting, please first register here: https://mcgill.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUofu6oqzwvGNcO_blbZvGfDVIeVp2G71mb.  The meeting link will be sent to you after the registration. You only need to register for the first meeting. If you would like to be added to the PGROUP Mailing List, please email Wei with your contact information. 

P* Reading Group Scheduling

We’re scheduling a time that works best for the weekly P* group meeting for this semester. If you are interested in attending, please mark down all time slots that work for you in this poll:

https://doodle.com/poll/2wmmaqkvi2t5ir78?utm_source=poll&utm_medium=link

Email Wei (wei.zhang16@mail.mcgill.ca) with any questions.

Syntax-Semantics Reading Group Meetings

Syntax-Semantics group meetings will take place on Fridays from 14:30-15:30. Our first meeting will take place on September 24th. There will be more information about the first meeting when the date comes closer. In the meantime, you can register in advance for the meetings using this link (you will only need to register once).

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You can also, start signing up for slots using this link (note that the first two slots are already taken).

Email Jonny Palucci for any questions.

Syntax/semantics reading group scheduling

Syntax/semantics reading group will start off virtually this year. If you’re interested in joining, please fill out the scheduling poll here by September 6th. If you are not a member of the McGill linguistcs department, please also email Jonathan Palucci with your contact information.

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.
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