GLiF Seminars

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Agenda Agenda

Information Information

Time: Thursdays, 15h to 16.30h
(unless indicated otherwise)

Room: 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou)
(unless indicated otherwise)

Location: Universitat Pompeu
Fabra, Carrer Roc Boronat, 138

 

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Description of the following seminars

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  • Thursday, October 18th: Angeliki Lazaridou (Google DeepMind, London):"Emergent communication in among cooperative and selfish agents.”

Abstract: Distributional models and other supervised models of language focus on the structure of language and are an excellent way to learn general statistical associations between sequences of symbols. However, they do not capture the functional aspects of communication, i.e., that humans have intentions and use words to coordinate with others and make things happen in the real world. In this talk, I will present two studies on multi-agent emergent communication, where agents exist in some grounded environment and have to communicate about objects and their properties. This process requires the negotiation of linguistic meaning in this pragmatic context of achieving their goal. In the first study, I will present experiments in which agents learn to form a common ground that allow them to communicate about disentangled (i.e., feature norm) and entangled (i.e., raw pixels) input. In the second study, I will talk about properties of linguistic communication as arising in the context of self-interested agents.

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  • Thursday, March 22th: María J. Arche (University of Greenwich):" The Seeds of Aspect”

In the past decades two hypotheses have dominated the research on the acquisition of (viewpoint) aspect in Spanish. One is known as the Aspect Hypothesis (Andersen 1986; Andersen and Shirai 1994), according to which the emergence and distribution of contrasts such as the one known as imperfective/perfective is driven by the inner aspect properties of the predicates in question (if atelic, imperfective; if telic perfective, simplifying the scenario). The other major hypothesis is the so-called Discourse Hypothesis (Bardovi-Harlig 1992, 2000), according to which it is the function that the different (Imperfect/Perfective) forms deploy in discourse (if foreground information, Perfective form; if background information, Imperfect) that drives the distribution of such forms. Over the years a big body of empirical research has been devoted to assess the validity of the hypotheses, their compatibility and the primacy of one over the other (Salaberry 2011) without arriving at a clear consensus. In this talk I will dissect what each one of these hypotheses mean and entail in (minimalist) theoretical terms (Chomsky 1995 et ss work) and discuss their theoretical sustainability. I will argue that (i) the two hypotheses are independent from each other since their rationales are based on different constructs; (ii) the relation between discursive fore/backgrounding of the forms can find a theoretical sustain in the properties of the intervals that Aspect takes as arguments (Stowell 1993, 2007; Demirdache & Uribe-Etxebarria 2000, 2004, 2014); (iii) if inner aspect played a principled role in the development of viewpoint aspect content (associated to forms), it should be based either on principled selection restrictions (which are not found in Spanish, where (a)telics can appear in (Im)Perfectives and the other way around) or on some form of feature reassembly (Lardiere 2008); in particular, if inner aspect features could be used to found the content of the viewpoint aspect category. However, according to current theory (e.g., Borer 2005), the syntactic categories in charge of inner aspect have the nature of classifiers, while those of viewpoint aspect are heads that order intervals (Klein 1994, Demirdache & Uribe-Etxebarria 2000). I argue that classifier-like content cannot constitute the basis of viewpoint aspect heads, which need ordering material as their core. If there is no way in the grammar model for inner aspect to be the basis for the content of viewpoint aspect, the lack of clear-cut and converging results reported over the years, always rendered as mere tendencies at the end, is explained. There may have been no principled reason to expect such correlations except that based on frequent co-occurrences in the input. Instead, the ones defended between (Im)Perfective and fore/backgrounding can have a rationale supported in theoretical terms.

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  • Thursday, March 15th: Julie Hunter (Universitat Pomepu Fabra):"Discourse structure and conceptualization in situated conversation"

Abstract: In this talk, I examine various ways in which nonlinguistic events influence discourse structure; I focus in particular on nonlinguistic events that are (in contrast to, e.g., gestures) not performed as part of a communicative act and which contribute propositional contents to the content of discourse without serving as the interpretation of any linguistic expressions. I argue that theories of rhetorical structure provide the basic tools for modelling the discursive contribution of such nonlinguistic events, but that extending rhetorical accounts to model situated discourse is nevertheless a nontrivial task, with effects for discourse salience, structure, evolution and interpretation. The hypotheses that I present are supported by a corpus of situated chats that have been annotated for discourse structure. In the last part of the talk, I turn to a discussion of information flow in the opposite direction; that is, not only do nonlinguistic events require significant changes to theories of discourse structure, but, I hypothesize, having more developed theories of situated discourse structure will facilitate a better understanding of how the nonlinguistic context gets typed or conceptualized in discourse. In general, even a single scene or sequence of actions in the nonlinguistic context can be described in a multitude of ways, but only some of those ways will be useful to achieve one’s discourse purposes. A clearer understanding of the ways that nonlinguistic events become interwoven with semantic contents should shed light on how relevant conceptualizations are selected in a situated conversation.

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  • Friday, March 9th: Andreas Trotzke (Universität Konstanz): "Syntactic Explorations into the Expressive Dimension"

In this talk, I discuss similarities, differences, and interactions between syntactic phenomena in the domain of information structure and phenomena related to the so-called expressive dimension of meaning. Specifically, I address the question whether there are certain word orders (for example, certain fronting patterns) that feature expressive (non-propositional) meaning components (e.g., surprise/mirativity) and that are restricted by non-information-structural factors such as the degree semantics of elements involved in word order variation. This raises the more general question if there is a syntactic layer and (a set of) functional categories that are designated for expressive content. In this context, I also explore what kind of interactions can be observed between discourse particles, which are often involved in composing expressive meaning in many languages, and the information structure of the clauses that contain them.

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  • Thursday, March 1st: Àlex Alsina (UPF): The morphology-syntax interface: agreement morphology in Plains Cree [joint work with Eugenio Vigo]

The goal of this paper is to provide an account of the complex agreement morphology of Plains Cree (Algonquian). The main theoretical claim is that the inflectional morphology of a word is licensed by its abstract syntactic features. Adopting the LFG idea that abstract syntactic features are represented as an f-structure, we assume that the representation of words also contains a partial f-structure (the word-level f-structure). The inflectional morphology-syntax interface is an instance in which the word-level f-structure licenses the morphological composition of the word.

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  • Thursday, February 22th: ‘Transitivity Alternations: What if a third variant in the causative alternation were possible (and real)?’: Ma. Eugenia Mangialavori Rasia (Permanent researcher in CONICET, Argentina)

I draw on data from Romance and Greek to claim that the causative-inchoative alternation comprises a third variant allowed by the combinatorial system, which remains virtually undiscussed in the literature, even if available (and fully productive) in several languages. This variant poses significant challenges for current theories on transitivity alternations. By featuring a unique (external) argument interpreted by default not as undergoer but as cause/initiator ((1)c) and stative behavior, this construction (called here Stative Causative [SCC]) is unpredicted under standard accounts of change-of-state [COS] and challenges widely-accepted generalizations. First, SCCs challenge the general notion that the internal argument—which seems a stable argument in the alternation if the analysis is limited to the two well-known variants commonly analyzed ((1)a|b)—is a default constituent in the argument structure of COS verbs (Hale & Keyser [HK] 2002, Rappaport & Levin [RL] 2011). Second, by suggesting that the causative component may be independently realized, SCCs are a problem for a basic principle of event composition according to which the event structure of COS verbs combines two components (cause|process); and the former, if present, causally implicates the latter (2). Third, absence of internal-argument-introducing Vº would mean that interpretation of Spec,v as Initiator or Cause(r) cannot be purely structural (i.e., strictly obtained by merge of an unaccusative structure under vP, as claimed in HK 2002, Chomsky 1995, Zubizarreta&Oh 2007 i.a. Two important contrasts with English are key: (i)the default interpretation of the DP in (1)c as Initiator (vs. default undergoer interpretation in English), (ii)free availability of a synthetic stative variant in Romance/Greek as opposed to the analytic form required by English (e.g. Chocolate is fattening (1)c, Kosta’s haircut is annoying in (3)).

I will propose that languages like Romance/Greek differ from English/German by systematically allowing the external-argument-introducing head CAUS/INITvº to combine with the Root (cf. direct composing with INITv, McIntyre 2004, intransitive incoporation Rosen 1996). This correctly predicts the production of an event and argument structure simpler than the causative (dyadic) structure (1)a, but at the same time, one that is diametrically different from the monoargumental variant (1)b, semantically (stative|eventive(COS)) and syntactically (unergative|unaccusative). To support our claim, we show that: (i) SCCs do not involve an unaccusative structure; crucially, presence of an internal argument, along with the corresponding Vº, gives rise to non-trivial minimal pairs (COS|SCC). (ii)This alternative extends to other classes of verbs with similar transitivity alternation (3). (iii) The option correlates with a nontrivial derivational alternative, where morphological marking can be related to realization of a nondefective Vº. Notably, the requirement of special (NAct) morphology in Greek is largely correlated to morphological (SE/SI) marking in Romance for realization of the internal-argument-introducing, eventive head (Vº). Importantly, our results are consistent with the general premise that syntactic projection of argument structure strictly correlates with event structure (HK 2002; RL 1995; Ramchand 2008 a.m.o.)

(1)a. La pasta engorda a los niños.           CAUSATIVE/TRANSITIVE

‘Pasta fattens the kids’

b. Los niños engordan. ‘                            INCHOATIVE/UNACCUSATIVE

The kids fatten [up]’

c. La pasta engorda. (lit. Pasta fattens.)    SCC/UNERGATIVE

‘Pasta is fattening’  

 

(2)a. e1 → e2 ( [V1[V2] HK 1993:69, 2002)

b. [XCAUSE [BECOME[YSTATE]]] (RL1998:108)

 

 (3)El peinado de Kosta irrita (Spanish)

     Ta malja     tu   Kosta enoxlun. (Greek)

     the hair.pl   the Kosta.gen annoy.3p

 *Kosta`s haircut annoys                        (English: syntactically)

  ‘Kosta's haircut is annoying’.                (English: semantically)

 

(4)Atención: ??puerta alarmada (Spanish)

‘shocked door’                                         (default Initiator/experiencer reading)

Caution: alarmed door (English)              (default Undergoer/Theme reading)

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  • Friday, February 16th: Doctoral Thesis Defense: Toni Bassaganyas

At 11am – 1pm, in room 55.309, Edifici Tànger, Campus Poblenou

  • Talks

15:30-16:15 -  Joost Zwarts (U. Utrecht): "The partial nominality of axial parts" (joint work with Ora Matushansky)

16:30-17:15 - M. Teresa Espinal (UAB): "Reference to definite kinds"

17:30-18:15 - Kjell Johan Saebo (U. Oslo): "You don't know what you have until you lose it: What 'lose' can tell us about 'have'".

In room 52.935 and 52.939

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  • Thursday, February 15th: Doctoral Thesis Defense: Veronika Richtarcikova

At 11am – 1pm, in room 55.410, Edifici Tànger, Campus Poblenou

  • Talks

15:00-15:45 - Henriette de Swart (U. Utrecht): "Temporal reference across languages – a parallel corpus study of L’Étranger and its translations"

16:00-16:45 -  Radek Simik (HU Berlin): "Definiteness, uniqueness, and maximality in languages with and without articles: An experimental perspective"

17:00-17:45 - Xavier Villalba (UAB): "Pluralizing quality nominals"

 

In room 52.701.

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  • Thursday, February 8th: Laura Aina (UPF): A not-logical approach to negation: studying negated adjectives using Distributional Semantics

Negation is not only a discrete matter: despite its core function being that of reversing the truth value of a proposition, it is a multifaceted phenomenon that also involves continuous aspects. During the talk, I will present the results of a computational study on the negation of adjectives in English (e.g., not small), carried out within the framework of Distributional Semantics.  By providing us with representations of expressions that are based on their use and continuous in nature, Distributional Semantics allow us to study pragmatic and graded phenomena on a large scale. In particular, we will look at what this framework can tell us about  negation as mitigation (Giora et al., 2005; Fraenkel and Schul, 2008), i.e., the meaning shift that negation induces on an adjective towards its antonym (e.g., not small vs. large), and alternativehood (Horn, 1972; Wason, 1965), i.e., the degree of plausibility of an alternative to a negated item (e.g., It is not small, it is [large, medium-sized, blue etc.])

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, February 1st: Sara Cañas (UPF), Chenjie Yuan (UPF): Discussion group

We will discuss the following paper: Beaver, D. I.; Roberts, C.; Simons, M.; and Tonhauser, J. (2017). Questions Under Discussion: Where Information Structure Meets Projective Content. Annual Review of Linguistics, 3(1), 265-284.

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, January 25th: Josep Quer (UPF). GLiF training session: How to publish (Josep Quer)

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, January 18th: Josep Ausensi (UPF): Manner/result complementarity, scalar structure and the 'way construction': (im)possible verb meanings

Abstract: Rappaport Hovav and Levin (2010, RHL) argue that verbs fall into two semantic classes: manner verbs (i.e. run, exercise, wipe), which lexicalize the manner in which some action is carried out, and result verbs (i.e break, kill, destroy), which lexicalize a result state. RHL strongly insist that no single verb lexicalizes both a manner of action and a result state (Manner/Result Complementarity (MRC)). In this talk, I follow Beavers and Koontz-Garboden (2012, 2017, BKG) in arguing that there are verbs which do lexicalize both a manner of action and a result state. More specifically, I argue that murder and slay lexicalize both a manner of action (an intentional action) and a result state (the death of the patient). If correct, this would suppose that the role of intentionality within the study of verb meaning seems to be of more importance than previously acknowledged.

  In addition, the possibility of a verb to appear in the way construction (cf. John has kicked his way into the concert) has been taken as a diagnostic to tell manner and result verbs apart, in that only manner verbs are claimed to permit this construction. Similarly, Marantz (1992) and Levin and Rappaport Hovav (1995) argue that only unergative verbs permit this construction. Following this, I argue that the restriction the way construction imposes on which verbs it permits is scalar in nature, in that this construction does not permit verbs that predicate scalar change of their subject, i.e. a change of state/location undergone by the subject referent. This a consequence of the fact that this construction already describes a scalar change which also predicates of the subject, i.e. the PP entailing a change of location (cf. #John has kicked his way into the concert, but didn’t get in) and two scales predicating two different scalar changes of the same theme is not possible. This restriction has already been observed outside this construction (Goldberg 1991; Tenny 1994; Matsumoto 2006), i.e. a single theme cannot undergo a change of state and location at once or more than one change of state or location also at once (cf. * John broke the vase off the table/valueless). Thus, I show that both unaccusative and result verbs can appear in the way construction once this scalar analysis is taken into account, contra Marantz (1992) and Levin and Rappaport Hovav (1995).

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Friday, January 12th: David Adger (Queen Mary University of London): Possessor recursion is prior recursion

Abstract: This paper provides an argument against the idea that grammars are simply generalizations over input data (Goldberg 2005 et seq.). The argument relies on the fact that prenominal possessives in English (but also in many other languages) require an unbounded competence of some sort. Acquisition data show that children have evidence in their input for at most two possessors, so the question arises as to why, if language learning allows one to access all of our cognitive capacities, including sequence learning, children don’t posit a grammar which allows a maximum of two possessors. This learnability question has a typological counterpart: no language we know of seems to have a grammar that allows a maximum of two possessors. Languages either allow one possessor, or an unbounded number. Further, I will argue that the semantics of possession does not help in motivating the correct hierarchical analysis, unless one builds a recursive system into the semantics. It appears that the capacity to analyse linguistic input recursively does not come from our experiences of the data. Rather it comes from a capacity that we humans have prior to our analysis of the data.

 

At 14:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou)

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  • Thursday, December 14th: Anderson Almeida da Silva [joint work with Claudia Roberta Tavares Silva]: Brazilian Sign Language: a partial null-subject language?

Abstract: There is variation regarding the (non-)overt realization of syntactic subjects among the world’s languages.  Within the generative framework, the null-subject (NS) parameter stated that there are some languages that can leave the subject of a sentence unexpressed (cf. CHOMSKY 1981, 1986; Rizzi 1982). We assume the revised proposal by Roberts & Holmberg (2009), according to which there are four null-subjects  types, namely: i. Consistent pro-drop languages (i.e., Spanish); ii. Expletive pro-drop languages (i.e., German); iii. Radical pro-drop languages (i.e., Chinese) and iv. Partial pro-drop languages (i.e., Cape Verdean creole (CVC), Brazilian Portuguese (BP)). This study compares the data of the pronominal paradigms, the inflectional morphology and pro-drop behavior displayed by CVC, BP and Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) taking into account the cliticization tests proposed by Kayne (1995) and the tripartite pronoun classification presented by Cardinaletti & Starke (1994).

There are two main classes of verbs in sign languages (Padden (1988, 2006), for American Sign Language (ASL)): the agreeing one, which contains the verbs that can ‘inflect or modify’ their forms in order to express person and number information (the smaller set, though the most frequent verbs), and the plain (non-agreeing) one, which cannot (the biggest set of verbs). We provide some evidence to support the hypothesis that: 1. the locus agreement displayed by the agreeing verbs is better understood as a clitic than as personal inflection morphology (NEVINS, 2011), mainly because the alleged PATH and FACING morphemes (ARONOFF et al, 2005) fail to assign the same featural meaning to all the verbs they apply; 2. the loci, seen as clitics in LIBRAS, respond in accordance with the Kayne (1995) clitic tests. The analyses show that Libras behaves similarly to CVC and BP in the sense that all of them display a weak or non-inflectional morphology and clitics in the subject position, hence null subjects in root sentences are never allowed in these languages. Therefore, Libras cannot be taken to be a consistent pro-drop language (Quadros, 1995), but rather a partial NS one.

References:

HOLMBERG, A; NAYUDU, A; SHEEHAN, M. Three partial null-subject languages: a comparison of Brazilian Portuguese, Finnish, and Marathi. Studia Linguistica, 63 1 59-97, 2009.

QUADROS, Ronice Muller de.  As categorias vazias pronominais: uma análise alternativa com base na LIBRAS e reflexos no processo de aquisição. Dissertação de Mestrado – Pós Graduação em Letras, PUC-RS, 1995.

RIZZI, Luigi. Issues in Italian Syntax. Dordrecht: Foris, 1982.

 

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, November 30th: Kristen Schroeder (UB) and Wolfram Hinzen (UPF) [joint work with Txuss Martin (DU)]: The cognitive function of determiners

Abstract: In this talk, we will explore the open question of whether grammatical organization has a bearing on our human cognition. We approach this question by exploring determiners and their role in the typology of nominal reference and the process of turning lexical concepts into referential expressions. We then explore how deficits in language and referentiality may manifest in determiners across across mental health conditions, such as autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and schizophrenia.

 

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, November 16th: Matthijs Westera (University of Amsterdam): English rising declaratives of the Quality-suspending kind 

Abstract: Speakers of English seem to use rising intonation to indicate that one of the conversational maxims has been suspended. For instance, rising declaratives exist that convey uncertainty about the truth, relevance, informativeness or manner of the utterance. In this talk, based on part of my (2017) PhD dissertation, I zoom in on a certain kind of rising declarative that has been prominent in the literature (e.g., Gunlogson 2003), and propose that it can be adequately understood as involving a suspension of the maxim of Quality. By combining this with certain assumptions about pragmatics (concerning, e.g., when it is permissible at all to suspend a maxim) the proposal can explain three core features of such rising declaratives: their question-likeness, the epistemic bias they express and their badness out of the blue. After presenting this account of a particular kind of rising declarative, I will zoom out and summarize certain further applications of the theory, such as the rise-fall-rise contour and intonation in (interrogative) questions, as well as discuss broader implications, for instance concerning our understanding of the semantics-pragmatics interface.

References: Gunlogson, C. 2003. True to form: Rising and falling declaratives as questions in English. Routledge. Westera, M. 2017. Exhaustivity and intonation: a unified theory. University of Amsterdam, ILLC dissertation series.

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, November 9th: GLiF training session on LaTeX

Run by Laia Mayol and Mario Bisiada.

 

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

 

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  • Thursday, November 2nd: Marco del Tredici (Universitat Pompeu Fabra): Semantic Variation in Online Communities of Practice

Abstract: We introduce a framework for quantifying semantic variation of common words in Communities of Practice and in sets of topic-related communities. We show that while some meaning shifts are shared across related communities, others are community-specific, and therefore independent from the discussed topic. We propose such findings as evidence in favour of sociolinguistic theories of socially-driven semantic variation. Results are evaluated using an independent language modelling task. Furthermore, we investigate extralinguistic features and show that factors such as prominence and dissemination of words are related to semantic variation.

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, October 26th: Aurélie Herbelot (Universitat Pompeu Fabra): Aligning speaker-dependent meaning through formal distributional representations 

Abstract: Meaning is not universal. What I mean by 'cup','mug' or 'freedom' is probably slightly different from what you mean when you use the same words. Where do those differences come from, and how do speakers manage to refer successfully, if they lack semantic alignment? These are questions that are not easily answered in a truth-theoretic setting. In this talk, I present a hybrid framework combining aspects of formal semantics -- in particular set theory -- with distributional semantics. I argue that this combination is beneficial on several counts. First, it explains variations in word meaning acquisition. Second, it allows us to account for a range of lexical relations that are essential to inference. Third, the permitted inferences contribute to speaker alignment in reference acts. I will finish with a brief description of various projects that implement some necessary parts of this formal distributional semantics.

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, October 19th: Anna Kocher (Universität Wien): The structure and interpretation of Ibero-Romance root clause complementizers

Abstract: This paper focuses on the properties of Ibero-Romance root clauses introduced by the complemenitzer que (for instance, (I) cat. Que en Jordi ve. ‘(someone said that) Juan is coming.’(II) cat. Que vingui. ‘He/She should come.’ (III) cat. Sí que ve. ‘He/She does come.’). In these contexts the complementizer is not a prototypical subordinator but appears to operate on the interface between syntax and pragmatics. Therefore the aim of this paper is to investigate its precise function, determine the syntactic position that it occupies and pin down the interpretations associated with the different constructions. Based on interpretive and structural properties and adopting a cartographic framework, I argue that the different constructions containing a root clause complementizer can be reduced to three global types: (in)subordinating que (I) in ForceP (Rizzi 1997), directive que (II) in MoodP (associated with clause typing, cf. Lohnstein 2015) and presuppositional que (III) in FinP. The different positions the complementizer occupies in the different types is a strong indicator that the syntactic structure has an impact on the interpretation of the constructions. Therefore this paper adds on to to the recent studies set out to develop detailed semantics of the functional heads populating the left periphery. Finally, this paper also aims at contributing to the discussion on the categorical properties of complementizers. I propose that there is only one lexical element que in Ibero-Romance that is underspecified and that acquires different interpretation depending on the syntactic position it occupies (contra for instance Demonte & Fern ́andez Soriano 2014, Etxepare 2010, Corr 2015).

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, October 11th: Mario Bisiada (Universitat Pompeu Fabra): Language change through language contact in English−German translation

Abstract: Translation is a language contact situation that can influence language change (cf. Kranich, Becher & Höder 2011, Kranich 2014). However, whether such language contact with English has led to change in German is still the subject of debate (Becher, House & Kranich 2009, Hansen-Schirra 2011, Neumann 2011, Bisiada 2013). This study investigates a frequency shift from hypotactic to paratactic constructions in concessive clauses in German management and business articles. The research hypothesises that the influence of the English verb-second word order may cause language users of German to prefer verb-second, paratactic constructions to verb-final, hypotactic ones. A previous study has provided some evidence that parataxis may be in the process of replacing hypotaxis in concessive clauses in the popular science genre, based on a diachronic corpus study of texts between 1978–1982 and 1999–2002 (Becher 2011).

This study challenges that claim based on a 1 million word diachronic corpus, with texts dating from 1982–3 and 2008. The corpus combines a parallel corpus architecture of German translations and their source texts with a comparable corpus of German non-translations. The time span under analysis is adopted from Becher (2011) and will thus allow us to compare differences in the way the English concessive conjunctions althoughthough, even though and while have been translated in management articles compared to popular science articles.

The study finds that the concessive conjunctions under analysis were translated mainly hypotactically (63%) in 1982–3, and show a decrease in hypotactic translation in 2008 to 43%. At the same time, the frequency with which they were translated paratactically has increased from 43% in 1982–3 to 52% in 2008. In the corpus of non-translated texts, however, the number of hypotactic and paratactic structures has remained stable over the period of analysis. I will discuss the implications of these findings and provide some further analysis to approach a possible interpretation of these data.

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, September 28th: Welcome session

This session is devoted to presenting the work of the GLiF members, especially the newcomers. Also, Gemma Boleda will give a short presentation of the AMORE project.

At 15:00 in room 52.701 (UPF-Poblenou).

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Asbtract: Understanding that people’s ideas may be false is a challenging step in Theory of Mind (ToM) development, and is accomplished around the age of 4-5 years old by typically developing (TD) children. False-belief attribution remains difficult beyond this age for certain clinical populations, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), where delays in this realm are significant (Baron-Cohen, Leslie & Frith 1985), and Specific Language Impairment (SLI), where delays tend to be subtler (Nilsson & de Lopez 2016). Research has identified links between ToM success and language skills, in particular complement clauses such as ‘John thought/said that aliens landed in his garden’, and it has been hypothesized that these structures serve as tools for representing subjective truths (de Villiers & Pyers 2002; Tager-Flusberg & Joseph 2005). This talk reports results from our experimental work further exploring the link between complementation and ToM. Study 1 (Durrleman, Burnel, Thommen, Foudon, Sonié, Reboul & Fourneret 2016) determines if complementation skills in ASD support ToM reasoning or are rather merely implied in task performance (Craven, 2005). Study 2 (Durrleman, Burnel & Reboul 2017) evaluates whether clinical groups of different aetiologies, namely ASD and SLI, perform comparably for ToM once they have similar complementation skills, as expected by linguistic determinism (de Villiers & de Villiers, 2000). Studies 3 & 4 (Durrleman & Franck 2015; Burnel, Perrone, Baciu, Reboul, Durrleman 2017) investigate if complements have a more privileged influence on ToM in ASD and TD than abilities such as Executive Functions, which arguably also play a role (Carlson, Moses & Hix, 1998). Study 5 (Durrleman, Gattignol & Delage, in press) addresses speculation that complementation training may not be efficient to trigger improved ToM in instances of ToM impairments (Hale & Tager-Flusberg 2003: 10), by empirically testing whether training on complements via a newly created I-Pad application (Durrleman, Da Costa & Delage 2016) can be useful for ToM remediation in both ASD and SLI.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Wednesday, July 12th:  Elena Castroviejo (Ikerbasque and UPV/EHU) & Laia Mayol (UPF), Echoicity, contrast and conditionals.

Abstract:  The goal of this talk is to analyze a particular type of conditional construction in Spanish, which we call echoic contrastive conditional (henceforth ECC), illustrated in (1). ECCs are interesting in that they do not seem to exhibit a hypothetical relation between the antecedent (p) and the consequent (q), they present a specific information structure, namely contrastive topic in both p and q, and they arise whenever the speaker is echoing a previous assertion.

(1) A: Estoy     cansado.
         be.1sg  tired
          'I'm tired.'
    B: Si #(t˙) est·s cansado, #(yo) estoy muerto.
         if   you  be.2sg tired   I    be.1sg dead
         'If you are tired, I'm exhausted.'
 

We claim that ECCs are a subtype of biscuit conditional whereby the assertion of q is dependent on the assertion of the p. We also argue that Spanish conditionals with Contrastive Topic marking, expressed by the obligatory presence of the otherwise null pronouns, and no causal or epistemic dependence between p and q, yield the rhetoric relation of contrast, scalarity and echoicity.

At 15:30 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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Abstract:  The aim of this research was to explore age differences in the expression of simultaneous events, that is, events that “share a value on the time axis” (Aksu-Koç & Stutterheim, 1994, p. 397). The expression of simultaneous events is a complex structure in the discourse that denotes text cohesion, making it an area of great interest in the field of language development.

Narratives in LSC were elicited from 2 deaf adults and 16 deaf children aged 6 to 13 years old. Participants were asked to tell a story from a wordless picture book (Mayer, 2009), in which we identified 6 scenes with simultaneous events. Narratives were coded using ELAN, and strategies used to express simultaneous events were analyzed and categorized.

As a result, we first identified the forms of expressing simultaneity of two events. Secondly, we analysed age differences in the expression of simultaneous events.

We did not find significant differences in the amount of simultaneous events expressed by adults and children. However, forms used to express simultaneity differ between both age groups. Children do not use simultaneous strategies to express events simultaneity, and their narratives show a lower use of sign space. They rely more on simple consecutive presentation of events and on the use of lexical signs to express simultaneity of events. The results will be discussed in relation to sign language acquisition.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Wednesday, June 14th: Daniele Panizza (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen): Neural signatures of Pragmatic Violations in adults and children.

Abstract: Pragmatic violations are generated by sentences such as (1a), which can be pragmatically strengthened via scalar implicature (1b), in a context that does not support their scalarly enriched interpretation.

(1) a. The Hedgehog has some of the keys.

     b. The Hedgehog has some but not all of the keys.

For example, sentence (1a), interpreted as (1b), generates a pragmatic violation when evaluated in a situation in which the hedgehog has all of the relevant keys in the given context.

We report on two ERP studies investigating pragmatic violations in 3- to 4-year-old children and adults. One study provides evidence for the hypothesis that young learners are equipped with the capacity of generating scalar implicatures at already three years of age, and that their cognitive system reacts differently to pragmatic violation as compared to semantic (i.e. truth-conditional) mismatches. The second study confirms previous findings showing that pragmatic and semantic violations have different neural signatures: while only negativities are elicited by pragmatic violations (either sustained negativities or N400-like effects), sustained positivities or both negative and positive waves (e.g. N400-like effects followed by Frontal P600) are elicited by semantic mismatches. Yet, the processing of both kind of violations is facilitated roughly to the same extent by prior visual presentation of a picture representing the meaning of the sentence inducing the mismatch. Third, the results from both studies do not support probabilistic approaches of implicature processing, according to which pragmatic and semantic mismatches are the mere result of the violation of probabilistic expectations that are argued to affect the N400 component in ERP studies.

At 15:30 in room 52.329 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, June 8th: Alessandro Lenci (Università di Pisa): Dynamic Compositional Representations in Distributional Semantics.

Abstract: In this talk, I argue that the comprehension of a sentence is an incremental process driven by the goal of constructing a coherent representation of the event the speaker intends to communicate. I will introduce a distributional model to build semantic representations inspired by recent psycholinguistic research on sentence comprehension. The model also associates with each distributional semantic representation a composition cost, to model the cognitive effort necessary to build it. The composition cost depends on the internal coherence of the event representation being constructed and on the activation degree of such event by linguistic constructions. The model is tested on some psycholinguistic datasets for the study of sentence comprehension. In particular, I focus on the case of logical metonymy  (e.g. The student began the book) showing that the model can account for the extra processing cost of coercion and for the inferential process leading to the recovery of the implicit event.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, May 11th: Craige Roberts (OSU & NYU): Agreeing and Assessing: Epistemic modals and the question under discussion.

Abstract: Important debates in the recent literature on Epistemic Modal Auxiliaries (EMAs) hinge on how we understand disagreements about the truth of assertions containing EMAs, and on a variety of attested response patterns to such assertions. Some relevant examples display evidence of faultless disagreement (Lasersohn 2005; Egan et al. 2005; MacFarlane 2005, 2011; Egan 2007; Stephenson 2007) or “faulty agreement” (Moltmann 2002). Others display a variety of patterns of felicitous response to statements with EMAs, responses which sometimes seem to target the prejacent alone and other times the entire modal claim (Lyons 1977; Swanson 2006; Stephenson 2007; von Fintel & Gillies 2007b,2008; Portner 2009; Dowell 2011; among others). I provide an alternative characterization of what it is to agree about EMA statements, arguing that this has generally been misunderstood. Then I provide evidence that the pattern of felicitous response to a given example is a function of the question under discussion in the context of utterance, undercutting a variety of criticisms of the standard semantics which trade on these phenomena.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Wednesday, May 10th: Kristina Gulordava (UNIGE - UPF post-doc candidate): Computational models of word order variation and dependency length minimization effects in syntactically-annotated corpora.

AbstractWord order variation is omnipresent in languages of the world. The preferences between different semantically equivalent word orders are subject to various syntactic, lexical and processing factors whose cumulative effect has been modeled computationally in corpus data. In this talk, I will focus on one property affecting word order variation cross-linguistically: the linear distances between syntactically related words. The tendency to prefer an order with shorter distances can be observed both at the level of a language grammar and in individual constructions, such as in the adjective-noun order variation in Romance. A bigger question which I’d like to subsequently address in this talk is how these previous statistical models of word order variation and distance minimization effects can be included in the general word order production process. I will present our recent work on a cognitively plausible linearization system which learns how the words of a sentence are uttered one-by-one given an input syntactic representation. We can integrate word order variation preferences into this system in a new principled way.

At 12:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, April 20th: Avery Andrews (Australian National University): Unflattening LFG

Abstract: A distinctive characteristic of Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG) amongst the 'alternative generative theories' that began to emerge in the 1970s and 80s was that its underlying syntactic level, functional structure, was very flat. So all adjectival modifiers were dumped as members into a set of ADJUNCTS, regardless of any apparent hierarchical relations they might have in the c-structure. One consequence has been an apparent inability to make any proposal at all about the apparently semantic hierarchical effects noted in Andrews (1983), or the agreement 'discontinuities' in Russian and Lebanese Arabic discussed in Pesetsky (2013).  Another has been difficulties in capturing the 'tree respecting' properties of Romance restructuring verbs discussed in Alsina (1997).

In this talk I will propose a very small modification of LFG architecture that provides an approach to these issues.  This is to make extensive use of 'sets', that is, the 'hybrid objects' of Kaplan and Bresnan (2000), which have only one member.  Because of the way in which features distribute in hybrid objects, it is immediate that distributive features will be distributed (in effect, shared between) both the upper and the lower levels of such structures, preserving the conceptual advantage of the LFG approach in not requiring complicated feature-percolation schemes.

But, for adequate description, we do need to be able to specify, on a construction-specific basis, that some features that distribute by default do not do so, in particular cases, which can be accomplished by a simple notation. Restructuring predicates also require the choice of a linking theory, which is considerably less straightforward.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, April 6th: Víctor Acedo-Matellán (University of Cambridge) and Cristina Real Puigdollers (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)Creation Predicates and Talmy's (2000) satellite/verb-framed typology

Abstract: We provide a microparametric analysis of the variation in C(reation) P(redicate)s: while simple CPs are attested in all languages, complex CPs are disallowed in some languages. The ultimate goal is to reduce this type of variation to Talmy's (2000) s(atellite)/v(erb-framed) typology: complex CPs are only available in precisely those languages that allow directional/resultative constructions with verbs expressing manner. Our analysis captures the complex eventive structure of these predicates in v-languages, and explains the similarities and differences between v- and s-CPs that are not captured in those analyses in which CPs have a Path-less structure (Mateu 2012). By contrast, in assuming that CPs involve a scalar/Path structure (Beavers 2008) we explain why there is variation in CPs along the v- and s-typology, while adhering to the Borer-Chomsky conjecture.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, March 30th: Sílvia Perpiñán (University of Western Ontario): The L2 acquisition of Spanish locative and existential constructions by Catalan and Italian speakers.

Abstract: Selection of copula verbs in Spanish is a classic challenging area for L2 learners. Even so, it has received moderate attention on SLA research, and most of the studies have focused on the acquisition of the semantic and pragmatic distinctions between ser and estar, particularly when combined with adjectives (Bruhn de Garavito & Valenzuela, 2006; Geeslin, 2002; 2003; Schmitt & Miller, 2007; among others). The present study goes beyond the alternation between ser and estar + adjective by looking at the selection of copula verbs to express location and existentials.

Three microparametric differences among Spanish, Italian, and Catalan are investigated, which regulate (a) the distribution of ser vs. estar in locatives (the ‘eventivenes’ effect), (b) the distribution of haber vs. estar (the definiteness effect, Milsark, 1977), and (c) the use of clitics in locatives. Standard Catalan uses the verb ésser for locatives and haver for existentials. Standard Italian, uses essere to express the existence or location of a THEME. Catalan, as well as Italian present obligatory locative clitics (hi/ci) in the subject position for existential sentences. Catalan and Italian, unlike Spanish, do not obey the definiteness restriction in existential constructions and allow definite DPs as THEMES in presentational sentences: Hi ha en Joan a la porta / C’è Giovanni alla porta / *Hay Juan en la puerta. Given these differences, we question whether L2 speakers of Spanish are able to fully acquire the distribution of estar in locative predicates and observe the restriction on definite DPs in Spanish existential constructions.

The present study analyzes the expression of L2 Spanish existential and locative constructions in 20 native speakers of Catalan, 34 native speakers of Italian (from Rome), and 20 monolingual Spanish speakers with two main tasks, an Acceptability Judgment Task (AJT) and an elicited oral production task (OPT). The AJT included 45 target items -in a total of 110 sentences-, which tested ser and estar in locative structures (1), and the definiteness effect with haber and estar in simple (2) and relative clause sentences (3). The OPT consisted of a ‘Spot the Difference Task’, with 5 pairs of very similar pictures that participants had to describe localizing the differences between the two pictures (see appendix B).

Results indicated that Catalan speakers used significantly less estar to express location than native speakers, showing that this verb develops later than ser as previously reported (VanPatten, 1985, 1987), and as predicted by recent analyses of the copular ser/estar (Brucart, 2012; Gallego & Uriagereka, 2011). However, Italian speakers overgeneralized estar to presentational uses, and localize events, when ser or haber are required in Spanish. Finally, Italian speakers of intermediate proficiency, and some Catalan speakers continued using ser to localize objects. More interestingly, both L2 groups accepted definite DPs in presentational sentences, violating the definiteness effect, displaying problems when assembling semantic features into specific lexical pieces. These results will be discussed within the debate on dissociation between acquisition of syntax and acquisition of semantics, and the feature assembly or feature matching hypothesis (Lardiere, 2008, 2009; Slabakova, 2009).
Download the abstract and appendix here.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Tuesday, March 23rd: Laia Mayol (Universitat Pompeu Fabra): Asymmetries between interpretation and production in Catalan pronouns.

Abstract: In this talk I will discuss the grammatical and pragmatic factors that affect the interpretation and production of Null and Overt pronouns in Catalan, based on a discourse-completion experiment. I will argue that both Null and Overt pronouns present asymmetries regarding their interpretation and production: (1) the production of Null pronouns is affected mainly by grammatical factors (they are subject-biased), but their interpretation is also influenced by pragmatic factors (in particular, rhetorical relations), and (2) while Overt pronouns have a strong interpretation object-bias, the data indicates that they are not the preferred form to refer to the object. Such asymmetries can be captured in a model in which production and interpretation are not mirror images of each other, but are related probabilistically.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, March 16th: GLiF Reading group session on Binding Theory.

We will discuss the following paper. The discussion will be lead by Giorgia Zorzi.

- Truswell, Robert (2014). Binding theory. In Carnie, Andrew, Yosuke Sato, and Daniel Siddiqi (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Syntax, pp.214-238. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, March 9th: Marika Lekakou (University of Ioannina): Impersonal middles as disposition ascriptions.

Abstract:  Impersonal middles (IM), such as Dutch (1) and German (2), have been argued to pattern with personal middles (PM), as in (3) and (4), on the basis of a number of semantic and morphosyntactic properties (Ackema & Schoorlemmer 2005; Broekhuis & Corver 2015).

(1)       Het danst    hier goed.        (Dutch)   (2)       Es tanzt    sich  hier  gut.       (German)

            it    dances  here good                                     it   dances refl here good

            ‘One dances well here.’                                 ‘One dances well here.’

(3)       Dit boek leest makkelijk    (Dutch)    (4)       Dieses Buch liest sich leicht  (German)

            this book reads easy                                      this book reads refl eas

            ‘This book reads easily.’                                ‘This book reads easily.’

According to Lekakou (2005) and authors following her (e.g. Klingval 2006, Schäfer 2008, Pitteroff 2014), personal middles ascribe a disposition to the syntactic subject, namely a Patient/Theme argument. Lekakou proposes that disposition ascriptions are subject-oriented generics, and argues that a treatment of PM along these lines derives their core properties. I will explore the possibility that a dispositional approach applies to IM as well, arguing in particular that IM ascribe a disposition to the event(uality), rather than to an event participant. I will show that such a dispositional approach to IM fares better than existing alternatives in terms of capturing both the semantic and syntactic properties of the construction and the similarities with PM.
Download the abstract.

13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Tuesday, March 7th: Kleanthes K. Grohmann (University of Cyprus): Evidence from Greek for the Locus Preservation Hypothesis.

Abstract: This talk presents current work carried out in collaboration with Maria Kambanaros and Evelina Leivada, picking up a suggestion from the latter’s recent University of Barcelona doctoral dissertation (Leivada 2015). The now rephrased Locus Preservation Hypothesis assumes that syntactic operations appear to be universally preserved across atypical cognitive phenotypes. We illustrate this hypothesis with data from Greek-speaking children diagnosed with specific language impairment, autism spectrum disorders, and Down syndrome. By comparatively reviewing the literature from these three different disorders in Greek-speaking populations, both Standard Modern Greek and Cypriot Greek, we observe that certain markers stand out as particularly susceptible to impairment across disorders, while others are consistently spared. 
Long abstract here.

At 13:00 in room 52.213 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, March 2nd: Anna Pineda (CNRS-IKER): Verbs of inherently directed motion in Romance languages: from pronominal uses to causativization.

AbstractIn this talk I will focus on a particular behavior displayed by verbs of inherently directed motion, the availability of a causative transitive alternate, and how this phenomenon interacts with the presence of the clitic se in the intransitive variant. Data from Catalan, Aragonese and Italian varieties, none of which have received much attention in the literature, will prove crucial for my proposal. 

In particular, I adopt an inter-Romance perspective and a nanosyntactic approach to lexicalization in order to refine the correlation that has been found for Spanish, where motion verbs are claimed to be more easily causativized (entrar el coche ‘go in the car’) in varieties where the use of se in the intransitive forms is also more frequent (Juan se entró ‘Juan SE went in’). Adopting a broader cross-linguistic perspective, I deal with causativized verbs in several Romance languages and varieties, and crucially bring into discussion an element that has, until now, gone generally unnoticed (aside from descriptive works): the ablative locative clitic that appears, together with se, in Catalan, Italian and Aragonese varieties (e.g. Cat. tornar-se’n, dial. Cat. entrar-se’n, eixir-se’n, pujar-se’n, and so on). The data from different Romance languages and dialects will allow to refine the settings of the connection between pronominal verbs of motion and the existence of a source component. In particular, I will posit the existence of a locative head (that may be analysed as an applicative head), which can be spelled out by an ablative locative clitic. 

I will also argue that verbs of inherently directed motion can be conceived by Romance speakers as simple, punctual events denoting the achievement of a particular position, but also as denoting a complex event that consists of a causing subevent and a resultant state (which is connected to achieving a new position and remaining there for some time, after having left behind the original location). In the latter case (that subsequently paves the way for causativization), the verbs of motion can surface in their pronominal form, even if it does not happen always. As will be shown in the talk, there is cross-linguistic and cross-dialectal variation regarding the availability of pronominal forms for these verbs, due to different lexicalization patterns.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, February 23rd: Zhaozi Jiang (Linyi University, China): "John has died father" and Event Possession in Mandarin Chinese. 

AbstractIn this talk I discuss the reason for the grammaticality of “John has died father” in Mandarin Chinese. I will compare some relevant symmetrical and asymmetrical constructions between Chinese and English in terms of their grammaticality and ungrammaticality. The conclusion will be that “you” (have) can be  used as a verb and an aspectual marker in Mandarin Chinese, one for the existence and possession of things, the other for the existence and possession of events. This is deeply rooted in Chinese philosophy, just as Shen(2010) mentioned: In English “ to be or not to be, that is a question”, while “ to have or not to have, that is a question” in Chinese.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, February 9th: Cristina Real (UPF): What Measure Verbs Have: an insight into the syntax of possession.

Abstract: In this talk I discuss the main properties and types of possessive constructions. Then I will compare these properties with the ones displayed by Measure Verbs. The conclusion will be that Measure Verbs contain a possessive structure. The argument/adjunct status of the complement of quantity that often appears with these verbs is recast in terms of the referential properties of the complement, which receives an interpretation similar to other NPs that encode the possessum in possessive structures: as a referential object or as a property (Koontz-Garboden and Francez 2010, Espinal and McNally 2011).

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, February 2nd: Carlo Cecchetto (CNRS-Paris 8 & University of Milan-Bicocca) & Caterina Donati (University Paris Diderot-7): The syntax of idioms: dealing with a puzzle.

Abstract: Does a category that receives an idiomatic reading need to be a constituent? In this talk we deal with this traditional question by discussing a type of idiom that to the best of our knowledge has never been reported, namely a nominal category in which the determiner and the noun receive an idiomatic meaning while the PP selected by the noun is not part of the idiom (we call these “PP-less idioms”). PP-less idioms are a challenge for all syntactic theories of idiom formation, but we claim that their existence can be explained if, as motivated by independent evidence that we review, nouns never take complements the verbs do. We propose that what happens in PP-less idioms is that the PP selected by the noun is late merged after the determiner and the noun have been merged and have received an idiomatic reading.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, January 19th: Tutorial session: how to prepare your C.V. run by Louise McNally (Universitat Pompeu Fabra).

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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Prof. Anke Lüdeling (Humboldt University): Morphological Productivity in Advanced Learner German. A Corpus-Based Study. 

At 12:30 in room 55.410 (Tànger Building, UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, December 1st: L'Houssaine El Gholb (Institut Royal de la Culture amazighe - IRCAM): Aspects morphologiques et syntaxiques de la forme passive en amazighe. 

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, November 24th: GLiF Practical session on experimental methods in Linguistics.

We will discuss the design of ongoing experiments.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, November 17th: Javi Fernández (CLT-UAB): Right dislocation: a tale of two clauses.

Abstract: In this talk I defend that right dislocation in Romance (1a) involves an underlying biclausal structure, where the clitic and the “dislocated” phrase belong in two independent but semantically identical clauses. Clausal ellipsis (strikethrough) applies on the rightmost clause under identity with the antecedent clause (1b):

1a. Encara no hi he anat, al dentista.
1b. [Encara no hi he anat] [Encara no he anat al dentista].

Under this approach, the clitic and the “dislocated” constituent are no longer derivationally linked. Rather, they stand in a relation of cross-clausal cataphora. In the talk I will show that this move is both empirically and conceptually desirable, as it reduces the machinery behind right dislocation to independently motivated mechanisms of natural language. More positive consequences of the biclausal approach will be examined in the talk. 

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, November 3rd: GLiF Reading group session on experimental methods in Linguistics.

We will discuss the following paper. The discussion will be lead by Josep Ausensi and Sara Cañas.

- Arunachalam, S. (2013). Experimental methods for linguists. Language and Linguistics Compass7(4), 221-232.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Friday, October 28th: Guillermo del Pinal (ZAS-Berlin): Advertisement for a multidimensional semantics for truth-conditional pragmatics. 

Abstract: ‘Truth-conditional pragmatics’ is the project of trying to model semantic flexibility within a compositional truth-conditional framework. Previous proposals try to account for semantic flexibility by radically ‘freeing up’ the compositional operations of language. In this talk, I will argue that the resulting theories over-generate. Previous accounts fall into this position because they rarely, if ever, take advantage of the rich information made available by lexical items. I argue that most lexical items encode both extension and non-extension determining information, were the latter information plays a central role in certain compositional processes. I present a set of compositional operations that can access non-extension determining information and introduce bits of it into the meaning of complex expressions. The resulting semantics has the tools to deal with key cases of semantic flexibility in appropriately constrained ways. 

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, October 20th: GLiF Reading group session on research methods in Linguistics.

We will discuss the following paper. The discussion will be lead by Cristina Real.

- Schütze, Carson T. & Jon Sprouse. 2013. Judgement data. In Robert J. Podesva & Devyani Sharma (Eds.),Research methods in linguistics, 27-50. New York: Cambridge University Press.

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Thursday, October 13th: Txuss Martín (Durham University): Phases and deixis. The topology of verbal reference. [joint work with Ulrich Reichard]

Abstract: In this presentation we present linguistic reference as a grammatical rather than a lexical or a pragmatic matter. We discuss general properties of referentiality as implemented in the verbal domain, and claim that a single pattern, the topology of grammatical phases, can explain those properties along similar lines to those proposed for the D and the C phases in previous literature (e.g. Sheehan & Hinzen 2011). We argue that the v phase expresses the formal ontological category of events, and we put forth a monotonic hierarchy of verbal referentiality based on its topology. Such a hierarchy ranges from indicative (as strongly referential) events to infinitive (as generic) events, via modal (quantificational) events (the latter including imperatives and subjunctives).

In the literature, the ontology of event reference has traditionally been linked to the aspectual properties of predicates, taking the notion of telicity as the fundamental category in that respect (Vendler 1967; Dowty 1979; Fodor & Sag 1982; Bach 1986; Krifka 1989; Enç 1991; Torrego 1998; Farkas 2002; or more recently Thompson 2006, and Diercks et al. to appear). Thompson 2006, for instance, claims that telicity is checked at the edge of the v phase, and therefore movement of DPs to that position results in telic readings of the object that have a direct impact on the overall interpretation of the whole event. We debate that idea and consider that telicity (as lexical, rather than grammatical, aspect) is not enough to account for all the possible varieties of event reference. We hence explore an alternative path, in which the referential import of the notions of tense, aspect, and mood are taken into account. We conclude that event reference should range from the external (deictic) temporal location provided by tense, to the internal temporal structure provided by aspect, and also that mood is a crucial feature in the typology we propose. Our argument is built on philosophical and linguistic considerations, and yields, we claim, a truly unified picture that holds across and internal to the three most commonly accepted phases (C, v, D).

At 13:00 in room 52.735 (UPF-Poblenou).

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  • Monday, October 3rd: Eugenio Martín Vigo's PhD defense: Copular inversion and non-subject agreement. Director: Álex Alsina (UPF). 

Committee: Joan Maling  (U.S. National Science Foundation), Jaume Mateu Fontanals  (UAB), Boban Arsenijevic (U. Nis. Sèrbia). 

At 11:00 in Room 55.309 (Tànger building, UPF-Poblenou).