16 November 2014

Call for Abstracts: Gradability, Scale Structure and Vagueness

Abstracts are invited for submission to the workshop “Gradability, Scale Structure, and Vagueness: Experimental Perspectives”, which will take place in Madrid, at the Center for Social Sciences and Humanities of the Spanish National Research Council, on May 28th and 29th, 2015.

As its title states, the workshop is concerned with the semantics of gradability, scale structure and vagueness from an experimental perspective. We invite papers that challenge or confirm current formal analyses of these phenomena in view of experimentally collected data; that discuss how semantic and pragmatic theory can benefit from experimental methodologies; and that aim for an explicit and detailed account of the use, mental representation, online processing, neural correlates or acquisition of expressions of gradability, scalarity, and vagueness. Papers may address — but are not limited to — the following questions: 

The ontological status of degrees and their role in the analysis of vagueness, gradability and scalarity phenomena, if any (Kennedy 1999, 2007; Heim 2000; Nouwen 2005; van Rooij 2011a,b; Solt & Gotzner 2012).

Comparison constructions across categories and languages (Pancheva 2006; Geurts & Nouwen 2007; Nouwen 2008; Beck et al. 2010; Ravid et al. 2010; Wellwood et al. 2012; Bobalijk 2012).

Scale-based classifications of gradable predicates such as the absolute vs. relative distinction, the nature of the standards for the applicability of gradable expressions, and the ways in which standards are determined (Rotstein & Winter 2004; Kennedy & McNally 2005; Syrett 2007, Syrett et al. 2010; Sassoon 2012; McNally 2011; Burnett 2014a,b).

Evidence for specifications of implicit parameters, such as comparison class, judge, scalar dimension(s), or standards, in the derivation of vague and gradable expressions, and their role in processing (Solt & Gotzner 2012; Schumacher 2012).

The usage of vague language in the context of borderline cases (e.g., things which are ‘neither tall nor not tall’), apparent contradictions (such as ‘tall and short’), and the Sorites paradox (Serchuk et al. 2011; Ripley 2011; Kriz & Chemla 2014; Alxatib & Pelletier 2011).

The connections between vagueness and other types of context dependence such as ambiguity and polysemy (Schumacher 2012, 2014), imprecision or approximation (Lewis 1979; Lasersohn 1999; Krifka 2007; Hackl 2009; Syrett et al. 2010; Bambini et al. 2013; Solt 2014; Solt et al. 2014), anaphora and presupposition (Kamp 1981; Burkhardt 2008), and multidimensionality and gradability (Kamp 1975; Kennedy 1999; van Rooij 2011a,b; Sassoon 2013; Burnett 2014a,b).

The consequences of vagueness for the architecture of grammar, given the diverse aspects of grammar into which vagueness infiltrates (Chierchia 2010)

8 talks will be selected among the submissions. They will be allotted 35 minutes plus 10 minutes for discussion. One person can submit at most one single-authored abstract and an additional co-authored one. Abstracts must be anonymous, at most 2 pages long including references and examples, 12 pt Times New Roman font, and in .pdf format. They will be submitted electronically via Easychair. Please add 5 keywords.

Invited speakers:
Rick Nouwen (Universiteit Utrecht)
Roumyana Pancheva (University of Southern California)
Petra Schumacher (University of Cologne)
Stephanie Solt (Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin)
 Important dates:
Abstract submission: January 15th, 2015
Notification of acceptance: March 1st, 2015
Workshop dates: May 28th-29th, 2015
 In conjunction with this workshop, the organizers are preparing a volume with the same title for the new Springer series ‘Language, Cognition and Mind’. Papers based on the accepted talks will be considered for this publication.

Registration is free, but please let us know if you will be attending by filling in the form you will find in the workshop’s web page:

Organizers: Elena Castroviejo (ILLA-CSIC), Louise McNally (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Galit W. Sassoon (Bar-Ilan University)

 Contact: expgrad2015@gmail.com