Modeling pragmatic inference in referential communication and word learning
Time: 04:00pm - 05:00pm
Place: Psychology Room 101
Michael Frank (Stanford University)A short, ambiguous message can convey a lot of information to a listener who is willing to make inferences based on assumptions about the speaker and the context of the message. Pragmatic inferences are critical in facilitating efficient human communication, and have been characterized informally using tools like Grice's conversational maxims. They may also be extremely useful for language learning. In this talk, I'll propose a probabilistic framework for referential communication in context. This framework shows good fit to adults' and children's judgments. In addition, it makes interesting novel predictions about both language acquisition and processing, some of which we have already begun to test.
In category: Sociolinguistics and pragmatics
Temporal orientation and modality
Time: 05:30pm - 07:00pm
Place: Ballantine Hall 242
Peter Klecha (University of Chicago)This talk introduces new data which is problematic for existing theories of embedded tense: Verbs like hope and pray violate what has been called the “Upper Limit Constraint” (Abusch, 1988) and demonstrate that this constraint is actually a feature of lexical semantics, and is therefore subject to lexical variation. (1) Martina thought Carissa got pregnant. (2) Martina hoped Carissa got pregnant. While the verbs that have been traditionally examined in the literature on embedded tense, like think in (1), require that their complements be associated with a time no later than the time associated with the matrix verb, verbs like hope in (2) allow for their complements to be associated with times after the time associated with the matrix verb (i.e., relative future) without the aid of a future-shifting operator. In this talk I propose a theory of modality in which modals quantify over temporal slices of worlds called “partial histories” and may constrain the temporal reference of their prejacents. Besides accounting for this new data, this account provides several improvements to prior theories: First, this theory accounts for correspondences between a modal’s flavor (epistemic, deontic, etc.) and its temporal orientation, i.e., the temporality of its prejacent, in both attitude verbs and auxiliaries. Second, this theory allows for a much simpler account for embedded tense and Sequence of Tense; since constraints on temporal orientation are shifted onto the modal, tenses can be given a uniform relative account without stipulations such as LF constraints (Heim 1994, Schlenker 2002) or covert movement (Kratzer 1998).
In category: Morphosyntax and semantics
Diachronic investigations into compositional semantics: The rise and fall of resultative secondary predication constructions in the history of French
Time: 04:00pm - 05:30pm
Place: Ballantine Hall 310
Heather Burnett (University of Montreal; New York University)This talk outlines a new research program that investigates the contributions that studies of linguistic microvariation (i.e. variation between closely related varieties of a single language) can make to linguistic theory, and, in particular, to the construction of theories of the semantic module of the grammar and the syntax-semantics interface. Since the 1960s, studies of dialectal, historical and sociolinguistic variation have made enormous empirical contributions to theories of the phonological and morphological components of the grammar; however, it is only relatively recently that syntactic microvariation phenomena have entered the domain of study of theoretical linguistics (cf. Vinet & Roberge (1989), Kroch (1989), Kayne (1996), among others). Furthermore, as observed by von Fintel and Matthewson (2008), up to this point, studies of dialectal, historical or sociolinguistic variation have not played a large role in the construction of formal semantic theories. Therefore, the main goal of the research program is to exploit the (as yet largely untapped) resource that are variation studies with the aim of advancing semantic theory. As a concrete illustration of this methodology, I present a diachronic study of the evolution of resultative secondary predication constructions (ex. to hammer the metal flat, or to float under the bridge (directional interpretation)) from Latin to Modern French, with a particular focus on the resultative system of Old and Middle French (11-14 th centuries). I show how, using a series of quantitative corpus-based diachronic studies, we can test the predictions of current analyses in the theoretical literature concerning the compositional semantics and typological distribution of resultative constructions and, in doing so, arrive at a better understanding of the grammatical foundations of causal and telic interpretations in natural language.
L2 experience can hinder perception of non-native sounds
Time: 02:30pm - 04:00pm
Place: Ballantine Hall 215
Jeff HollidayIt is typically assumed that as a novice second language (L2) learner becomes more experienced with the L2, the ability to discriminate between L2 sounds should improve or, at the very least, stay the same. It is also typically assumed that even a novice L2 learner should discriminate between L2 sounds at least as accurately as a naïve non-native listener from the same first language (L1) background. These assumptions are supported by studies showing that L2 learners with more experience in the L2 do at least as well on L2 perception tasks as less experienced learners (e.g. Flege & Liu, 2001), and also agree with our basic intuition that L2 learning proceeds linearly from naïve to novice to advanced, with continuous improvement along the way. However, L2 experience comprises multiple types of input, and there is a need to refine our understanding of which parts of L2 experience may promote or hinder L2 learning.In this talk, I will present data suggesting that L2 learners sometimes ignore relevant phonetic detail that naïve listeners from the same L1 background would attend to. Korean has two sibilant fricatives: /sh/ is heavily aspirated before /a/ but less aspirated before /i/ or /u/, whereas /s*/ is classified as tense and is generally unaspirated in all vowel contexts. Previous research (Holliday, 2012) has shown that naïve L1 Mandarin listeners perceive /sh/ and /s*/ as members of different categories before /a/, but not before /i/ or /u/. This finding predicts that naïve L1 Mandarin listeners should accurately discriminate between /sha/-/s*a/ but not /shi/-/s*i/ or /shu/-/s*u/. By extension, L1 Mandarin learners of Korean as an L2 - given their experience with Korean - should perform at least as well.The data reported here are from 50 L1 Mandarin speakers (15 novice and 17 advanced learners of Korean and 18 naïve listeners) and 15 L1 Korean speakers. The novice learners had been studying Korean for less than 10 weeks in Korea, and the advanced learners had studied Korean for at least a year and were enrolled in regular classes at a university in Korea. Results from a perceptual assimilation test show that naïve listeners and L2 learners do not assimilate the Korean fricatives to Mandarin categories in the same way, and the results from a discrimination test show that naïve listeners are more accurate at discriminating Korean /sha/-/s*a/ than L2 learners are. No differences between the listener groups were found in the /i/ or /u/ contexts, suggesting that perceptual assimilation patterns do predict discrimination accuracy, and that L2 experience may impact learners in a way that hinders their perception of certain L2 sounds.
In category: Second language acquisition
Formalizing Variation in Non-Standard Varieties: Evidence from Wisconsin heritage language communities
Time: 05:00pm - 06:00pm
Place: CAHI House (1211 E Atwater Ave)
Joshua Bousquette (University of Wisconsin-Madison)Based on previous and ongoing research into German and West Frisian heritage communities in the Upper Midwest, this presentation focuses on variation in non-standard languages. Drawing primarily on evidence of complementizer agreement (C-agr) in Wisconsin Heritage German (WHG) as well as in continental East Franconian and Bavarian, it is here argued that synchronic variation between discontinuous, related varieties may serve as the basis for reconstruction of diachronic processes of language change (Bousquette 2013). Such data is indispensable in establishing diachronic developments, given the characteristically poor historical documentation of non-standard varieties (as well as the historically poor documentation of non-standard features, in general). In addition to variation between what is commonly termed ‘dialects’ in the German tradition, variation from the standard also provides evidence of contact-induced change: studies on parasitic gapping in WHG (Bousquette et al., 2013), and recent work on phonologically non-integrated code-switching in a Wisconsin West Frisian community (Ehresmann & Bousquette, forthcoming), provide evidence that two language-specific grammars may be simultaneously activated and variably interactive, as the heritage variety comes in contact with English. Accounting for the variation in the data not only sheds light on the individual phenomena analyzed, but also provides a greater understanding of both typological and contact-induced linguistic change.
JEvents v3.0.9 Stable
Copyright © 2006-2013
Powered by Joomla!®
Copyright © 2008 The Trustees of Indiana University | Copyright Complaints