Archive for the 'Semantics Group' Category

Semantics Group, 30/11

In this week’s meeting, Masashi Harada will give a talk titled “Contextual effects on case in Japanese copular constructions: A solution by ellipsis.” Abstract below. As usual, the meeting will take place on Friday at 3pm in Room 117. All are welcome to attend!

Abstract: I discuss a new type of case connectivity effects in copular constructions, based on Japanese data. I show that the availability of accusative case on the predicate nominal in Japanese copular sentences depends on the context where the sentence occurs. This contextual effect is surprising because case assignment is generally considered to be a purely morpho-syntactic phenomenon. However, I reconcile the contextual variability in case with morpho-syntactic case licensing theory. Specifically, I propose that the copular sentences in question involve ellipsis taking as its antecedent pro that has its value  determined contextually. The proposed analysis yields a new insight into the mechanism of ellipsis seemingly without a linguistic antecedent, and advance analysis of connectivity effects.

Semantics Group, 11/23

In this week’s meeting, Francesco Gentile and Bernhard Schwarz will present their joint work on how many-questions. Below is the abstract of their Sinn und Bedeutung’s paper “A uniqueness puzzle: how many-questions and non-distributive predication.”

We discuss a novel observation about the meaning of how many-questions, viz. a uniqueness implication that arises in cases that feature non-distributive predicates, such as How many students solved this problem together?. We attempt an analysis of this effect in terms of Dayal’s (1996) Maximal Informativity Presupposition for questions. We observe that such an analysis must be reconciled with the unexpected absence of uniqueness implications in cases where the non-distributive predicate appears under a possibility modal. We explore two possible solutions: (i) the postulation of a scopally mobile maximality operator in degree questions of the sort proposed in Abrusán and Spector (2011); (ii) the proposal that the informativity to be maximized is based on pragmatic, contextual, entailment rather than semantic entailment. We explain why neither solution is satisfactory. We also observe that a Maximal Informativity Presupposition fails to capture uniqueness implications in how many-questions with predicates that are weakly distributive in the sense of Buccola and Spector (2016), such as How many students in the seminar have the same first name?. We conclude that uniqueness implications in how many-questions have must have a source that is independent of Dayal’s (1996) Maximal Informativity Presupposition.
As usual, we will meet on Friday in Room 117, starting at 3pm.

Semantics Group, 11/9

In this week’s meeting, Jessica Coon will be giving a talk titled “Headless relative clauses and (possible?) free-choice free relatives in Ch’ol”. Jessica will present new work on Ch’ol headless relatives (collaborative with Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez, CIMSUR-UNAM), arguing that maximal and existential free relatives share an identical core structure, and receive different interpretations based on the environments in which they appear. Jessica will also present some puzzling data on a possible free-choice morpheme. As usual, the meeting will take place in Room 117 from 3pm to 4:30pm. All are welcome to attend!

Semantics Group, 11/2

This week the Semantics Group won’t meet at the usual time on Friday, because the department’s colloquium is taking place at the same time. However, we just started a reading group on Keenan’s book “Logical Properties of Natural Language: Eliminating the Universe”. We shall be meeting on Friday at 2pm (Room: TBC). We will discuss Chapter 3. All are welcome to join the reading group! For more details, email Brendan, Justin or Francesco.

Semantics Group, 10/19

The Semantics Group will exceptionally meet this Friday from 2:30pm until 4:00pm in room 117, in order for a midterm to take place at 4:00pm in the same room. In this week’s meeting, Francesco Gentile will present his ongoing research on modal adjectives and non-local modification. All are welcome to attend!

Semantics Group, 10/5

The Semantics Group will be meeting on Friday from 3pm until 4:30pm in room 117. In this week’s meeting, Junko Shimoyama will give a practice talk titled “On apparent embedding of positively biased negative polar questions in Japanese”. All are welcome to attend!



Semantics Research Group, 9/28

The Semantics Research Group will be meeting on Friday from 3pm until 4:30pm in room 117. In this week’s meeting, Justin Royer will give a practice talk in preparation for NELS. The title of the talk is “Domain restriction and noun classifiers in Chuj (Mayan).”  All welcome to attend!


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