05 June 2016

WHISC closes shop

WHISC ends for the Summer with this issue. We’ll return at the end of August, when things begin to ramp up for the Fall.

UMass at Speech Prosody 2016

Speech Prosody 2016 was hosted by Boston University from Tuesday, May 31 through Friday 3 in Boston. UMass was represented by 

alumna Emily Elfner, who gave the tale “Subject/Object complexity and prosody boundary strength in Irish"

alumnus Jesse Harris, with Sun-Ah Jun and Adam Joyer, who gave the talk “Implicit prosody pulls its weight: Recovery from garden path sentences.”

Mara Breen, with Sarah Weidman and Katherine Haydon, gave the talk “Prosodic speech entrainment in romantic relationships."

Covadonga Sánchez-Alvarado and Meghan E. Armstrong gave the talk “Pitch scaling and the perception of contrastive focus in L1 and L2 Spanish."

Alumna Amy Schafer, with Múria Esteve-Gibert, Cristel Portes, Barbara Hemforth and Mariapaola D’Imperio, gave the paper “Intonation in the processing of contrast meaning in French: An eye-tracking study."

Meghan Armstrong organized a special session on Rising intonation in English and beyond, and gave a talk, with Maria Del Mar Vanrell, at that session entitled “Intonational polar question markers and implicature in American English and Majorcan Catalan.” She also, with Page Piccinini and Amanda Ritchart, gave the poster “Non-Question rises in narratives produced by mothers and daughters."

Roeper in Delhi

Tom Roeper gave a virtual talk at the colloquium series at IIT in Delhi on June 1. The title of his talk was “Minimalism and Acquisition."

Call for papers: LSA

The 2017 annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America will be January5-8 in Austin, Texas. Abstracts will be accepted for 20 minute papers and for posters until July 31, 2016. Abstracts are to be submitted through the LSA website. For more information, go here.

Call for papers: Towards an Ontology of Modal Flavors

Our understanding of modal meanings is crucially based on the notion of various modal flavors, which distinguish, for example, between epistemic and deontic readings. However, neither within nor across linguistic subfields is there any consensus about the exact ontology of those modal flavors. Thus, a common assumption in formal semantics is that there is a hierarchical distinction between modal meanings: there is a fundamental difference between epistemic and non-epistemic meanings, and the non-epistemic meanings can be split further into flavors such as deontic, bouletic, etc. (e.g., Hacquard, 2011). But the seminal typological study by Bybee et al. (1994) and subsequent work suggest that the distinction between participant-internal and participant-external flavors may be just as significant as the distinction between epistemic and non-epistemic ones. Moreover, current formal semantic approaches do not predict any interesting correlation between the dimensions of modal flavor and modal force, though Rubinstein (2012) has recently argued for some non-trivial correlations between force and varieties of non-epistemic modality. Meanwhile, typological research shows that the distinction between necessity and possibility may not apply to participant-internal flavors (Nauze, 2008). Insights from related disciplines likewise fail to converge. Thus, experimental research indicates that the distinction between moral and physical laws may not be as salient on a psychological level as one might expect from traditional approaches to modal flavors (Phillips, 2015). 

This workshop aims to provide a forum for researchers in formal semantics, typology, syntax, language description, psycholinguistics and language acquisition to address these issues in the analysis of linguistic modality, in order to gain a better understanding of the role of modal flavors in grammar and cognition. 

Invited speaker: 
alumna Aynat Rubinstein (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) 

Kilu von Prince (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) 
Ryan Bochnak (University of Manchester) 
Anne Mucha (Universität Potsdam) 

Bybee, J. L, Perkins, Revere, & Pagliuca, W. 1994. The evolution of grammar: Tense, aspect, and modality in the languages of the world. The University of Chicago Press. 
Cinque, Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and functional heads: a cross-linguistic perspective. Oxford University Press. 
Hacquard, Valentine. 2011. Modality. Pages 1484–1515 of: von Heusinger, Klaus, Maienborn, Claudia, & Portner, Paul (eds), Semantics: An international handbook of contemporary research. de Gruyter. 
Nauze, Fabrice. 2008. Modality in typological perspective. Amsterdam: Institute for Logic, Language and Communication. 
Phillips, Jonathan Scott. 2015. The psychological representation of modality. Ph.D. thesis, Yale University. 
Rubinstein, Aynat. 2012. The roots of modality. Ph.D. thesis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Call for Papers: 

We invite abstracts for talks (20 minutes presentation + 10 minutes for questions) for the workshop “Towards an ontology of modal flavors” to take place during the 39th Annual Meeting of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft, taking place March 8-10, 2017 at the Universität des Saarlandes in Saarbrücken, Germany (Homepage: http://dgfs2017.uni-saarland.de/wordpress/ , LinguistList: http://linguistlist.org/callconf/browse-conf-action.cfm?ConfID=246576). 

We invite contributions from a variety of fields including modal logic and formal semantics, typology, syntax, language description, psycholinguistics and language acquisition to discuss the nature of modal flavors and address, for example, one of the following questions: 

- What are possible candidates for modal flavors? 

- How strict are the boundaries between modal flavors? Are some distinctions more fundamental than others? 

- Are some of the distinctions between modal flavors based on a difference in syntactic positions, resulting in different interactions with negation and tense/aspect (as proposed by Cinque 1999, Hacquard 2011 and others)? 

- Are the dimensions of force and flavor independent from one another? 

- Are the dimensions of force and flavor sufficient to account for all the distinctions we find in natural languages? 

Abstracts should be a maximum of two pages (references may be on a third page), using a 12-point font and 2.5cm/1 inch margins on all four sides. Please submit anonymous abstracts in pdf format to modalflavorsaggmail.com by August 15, 2016. Please include your name, affiliation, and title of the abstract in the body of your email. 

Important dates: 

Call deadline: August 15, 2016 
Notification of acceptance: September 10, 2016 
Workshop dates: March 8-10, 2017

Roeper in Frankfurt

Tom Roeper will be giving a talk entitled “Abstract Triggers and Acquisition” at the University of Frankfurt on June 28th.