10 February 2013

Lisa Green talks at Yale on Friday

Lisa Green gives a talk this Friday, February 15, at Yale University entitled "Aspect, Events and Variation."

Yasutada Sudo gives talk Monday (tomorrow)

Yasutada Sudo (Institute Jean Nicod, Ecole Normale Supérieure) will give a talk on Monday, February 11 at 4:00 in Machmer E-37. The title and abstract follow.

Title: The Problem of Non-entailed Presupposition: Toward a Multi-dimensional Theory of Presupposition


Presupposition is intensively discussed in the theoretical literature today, and a multitude of competing theories have been put forward that differ both conceptually and empirically (Beaver 2001, Beaver & Krahmer 2001, Chemla 2009, Fox 2008, 2012, George 2008, Geurts 1999, Heim 1983, Peters 1979, van der Sandt 1992, Schlenker 2008, 2009, 2010a,b). The goal of this talk is to contribute to this debate by raising an empirical problem for current theories, and to motivate the 'multi-dimensional' view of presupposition. The key observation is that some predicates have presuppositions that are not entailed by their assertive meanings (in the sense of generalized entailment), which I call 'non-entailed presuppositions'. I claim that when combined with certain quantifiers, predicates with non-entailed presuppositions give rise to meanings that pose a serious challenge for current theories of presupposition. In particular, the problem illustrates the need for a more expressive theory where assertive meanings and presuppositions can be true or false independently from each other. To this end, I advocate a multi-dimensional theory of presupposition. The multi-dimensional view was once popular in the 70's (Karttunen & Peters 1979), but it is now known that it faces an empirical problem called the 'Binding Problem' in quantified sentences. This was once considered to be a fatal problem for the multi-dimensional view and led to the development of modern one-dimensional theories, but I will offer a solution in the second talk.

Suzi Lima at LARC/Acquisition Lab

Magda Oiry writes:

This Monday, Suzi Lima will present her work in the lab acquisition / LARC meeting:

"How bilingual Yudja speakers (Tupi; Brazil) perceive quantities in their second language (Brazilian Portuguese)"

We will meet in the Partee room at 12/12:10.

Everyone is welcome!

Yasutada Sudo gives talk on Tuesday: Presupposition Projection in Quantified Sentences

Yasutada Sudo (Ecole Normale Supérieure) will give a talk at 4:00Pm on Tuesday, February 12, in Machmer W-26. The title and an abstract of his talk follow.

Title: Presupposition Projection in Quantified Sentences and Cross-Dimensional Anaphora


Presupposition projection in quantified sentences has been a particularly tantalizing issue for theories of presupposition (Karttunen & Peters 1979, Heim 1983, van der Sandt 1992, Beaver & Krahmer 2001, George 2008, Schlenker 2008, 2009, Chemla 2009, Fox 2012). In this talk I will offer a novel theory of presupposition projection in quantified sentences. Its main empirical support comes from the hitherto unnoticed correlation between presupposition projection through quantifiers and cross-sentential anaphora with quantificational antecedents: those quantifiers that support 'maxset anaphora' give rise to universal presuppositions, and those quantifiers that support 'refset anaphora' give rise to presuppositions weaker than universal presuppositions. I propose a multi-dimensional theory of presupposition where this correlation is directly captured by the mechanism of 'cross-dimensional anaphora'. The resulting theory, I claim, is empirically superior to its alternatives (cf. the first talk). In particular, it solves the Binding Problem that has plagued the multi-dimensional view of presupposition. Furthermore, it is also conceptually attractive in that it gives a principled explanation of the projection properties of quantificational expressions based on their anaphoric properties.

PsychoSyntax schedule

Brian Dillon writes:

The PsychoSyntax schedule for this semester is arrived! Here are the meeting we have scheduled:

2/11: No meeting
2/25: Tracy. Licensing ellipsis and its interaction with variable rules in AAVE
3/11: Shayne & Brian. Discussion of Mauner & Koenig (2000): Linguistic vs. conceptual sources of implicit agents in sentence comprehesion
3/25: Amanda. A closer look at syntactic satiation effects
4/8: Open time
4/22: Yangsook. Processing antecedent-anaphor dependencies in Korean.
5/6: Open time.

Meetings will take place at 3pm in the Partee Room (301 South College). If you'd like to present during one of our remaining open date, shoot me an email. 

Linguistics Club Game night on Wednesday

Jeremy Cahill writes:

We invite you to come join us for Game Night, featuring Phonetic and  
Standard Scrabble, Bananagrams, Boggle, and more. Pizza will be  

What:  Game Night
Where: 301 South College (next to Du Bois Library)
When:  Wednesday 2/13 at 5:30 PM

RSVP appreciated for head count:  jccahill@student.umass.edu

Have any board game suggestions? Please let me know.

Noah Contant gives practice talk

Seth Cable writes:

Hi Everyone,

I'm writing to announce that our own Noah Constant will be presenting a practice job talk next Friday (2/15) in the Partee Room at 9AM.

Everyone is cordially invited and encouraged to come. I'll be bringing some breakfast items ; )

Post-Doc position in semantics/pragmatics in Düsseldorf

The Cooperative Research Center (CRC) 991 'The Structures of Representation in Language, Science and Cognition', which is funded by the German Science Foundation at the Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf seeks a postdoctoral researcher. The CRC brings together faculty and students from the departments of General Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Philosophy, Romance and German Depts. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to this interdisciplinary community.

The successful candidate will contribute to a research project whose goal is to better understand how compositional semantics interacts with discourse structure and discourse coherence. The focus of the project is context dependence of temporal expressions (e.g. tense, aspect, temporal adverbials) with the aim of proposing semantic constraints imposed by temporal expressions on anaphora resolution. Prior research on temporality and discourse dynamics is not required.

The appointment will be for two years, starting October 1, 2013, with the possibility of renewal for four more years thereafter (until 2019). Applicants must have completed their PhD degrees by the time of the appointment. The department welcomes international applications.

Applications should be sent in pdf format via email (subject line “Job application – Post Doc”) to: Daniel Altshuler (daltshul@gmail.com). Dossiers should include a CV, one representative publication, and a short letter summarizing: (a) your research activity and (b) why you would like to work on the context dependence of temporal expressions. Candidates should also arrange for three letters of reference to be sent directly to the email above. Applications should be received by April 1 for full consideration.
The Heinrich-Heine-University is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from women, minorities and handicapped applicants, who will be given preference in case of equal qualifications.

The availability of this position is subject to budgetary approval.

Special PsychoSyntax event on Friday

Brian Dillon writes:

We'll be having a special PsychoSyntax event next Friday (2/15). Abhijit Debnath will join us and talk about his work on the "Minimal Agent-Predicate" preference in sentence comprehension and present some processing experiments in Bangla. See the attached abstract from this years WCCFL. We'll meet at 3:30pm in Partee 301 (the empty colloq slot).


LSA Summer Institute at the University of Michigan

The Linguistic Society of America's Summer Institute takes place this June 24-July 19 at the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. UMass faculty Seth Cable, Lisa Green, Angelika Kratzer and Lisa Selkirk are teaching classes, as are UMass alumni Anne-Michelle Tessier and Gillian Gallagher. Joe Pater will be a discussant at the workshop "Universality and Variability: New Insights from Genetics."

For more information, see: http://lsa2013.lsa.umich.edu

Fellowships are available; see http://lsa2013.lsa.umich.edu/about/registration-and-fellowship-information/

Postdoctoral Research position at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

Alexandra Jess and John Kingston recommend:


PhD position at Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

PhDJohn Kingston and Alexandra Jesse recommend: