Archive for the ‘Groups’ Category

Construction of Meaning Workshop Today (11/21) at 3:30PM: Bumford

The Construction of Meaning Workshop presents:

Incremental quantification and the dynamics of pair-list phenomena

Dylan Bumford
New York University

Friday, November 21, 2014, 3:30pm, Margaret Jacks Hall, Rm. 126

Distributive universals are unique among natural language quantifiers in the following three ways: (i) matrix interrogatives that contain them accept pair-list answers; (ii) indefinites and disjunctions in their scope may assume “arbitrary functional” readings; and (iii) they permit sentence-internal interpretations of a wide range of comparative adjectives, like ‘new’ and ‘different’. Because other quantifiers in the same environments do not give rise to these interpretations, the constructions provide a window into the semantic processes that support quantificational distributivity. In fact, both pair-list and internal readings have been independently argued to expose some of the compositional clockwork behind universal quantification, but the mechanisms they have been taken to reveal are entirely distinct. In contrast, I’ll propose that pair-list phenomena and internal readings of comparative adjectives are two sides of the same coin; they are both side effects of incremental quantification. To make this precise, I’ll analyze distributive universal quantifiers in terms of iterated, incremental update, in effect generalizing the sequential conjunction operator of standard dynamic semantics. This approach captures the tight empirical connection between pair-lists and internal adjectives, and at the same time provides a simpler and more robust account of the data than some of the specialized alternatives.

CogLanguage Workshop Talk next Thursday (11/20) at 4PM: Slevc

Join the Cognition & Language Workshop as they welcome Bob Slevc (Maryland), who will give a talk at 4PM in the Greenberg Room. All are welcome!

Language, Music, and Cognitive Control

Our impressive abilities to process complex sound and structure may be most evident in language and music. There is growing evidence that linguistic and musical processing draw on shared cognitive and neural processes, however, it remains unclear exactly what these shared processes are. I will discuss some work investigating structural (syntactic) processing in language and music, and suggest that language/music relations reflect, at least in part, shared reliance on domain general mechanisms of cognitive control.

Fieldwork Workshop Meeting Wednesday (11/19) at 2:30: Kaufman

Join the Fieldwork Workshop next Wednesday at 2:30 in the Ivan Sag Room, where Terrence Kaufman will speak:

Meso-America as a Linguistic Area

That Meso-America constitutes a legitimate linguistic area has been questioned. To address this question, concepts of ‘areal linguistics’ are here surveyed and refined. Proposed Meso-American areal traits are reconsidered against these findings, and are compared with those of other established linguistic areas. Mesa-America proves to be a particularly strong linguistic area. These results contribute both to the study of Meso-American languages and to an understanding of areal linguistics generally.