Unergative workshop in Bilbao

This last week, Katie popped over to Bilbao for a workshop on unergative predicates, organised by colleagues at Structures Formelles du Langage (UMR 7023, CNRS/Paris 8) and IKER (UMR 5478, CNRS), and the research groups Bas&Be (FFI2014-51878-P UPV/EHU) and the Bilingual Mind (IT665-13 UPV/EHU); Ane Berro was the main organiser, at the University of Deusto. The keynote speakers were Gillian Ramchand, Fabienne Martin, and Alec Marantz.

IMG_7096.JPG
view from the conference venue

It was interesting to hear the puzzles– and proposals– that people have found in various languages (there were talks not just on Basque or Urdu, but also German, Latin, and Yucatan)!

Winter school @ UPF (SigGram)

On January 9-12, Laia, Katie and Elena attended the Winter School organized by the “Meaning and Grammar” network (SigGram, Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad, Ref. FFI2016-81750-REDT, PI: M.Teresa Espinal) and hosted at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona. We had three great lecturers, Klaus von Heusinger (U. Köln), who gave a crash course on information structure, Elizabeth Coppok (Boston U.), who explained her work on determinacy and definiteness, and Peter Sutton (U. Düsseldorf), who taught about vagueness and polysemy. It was a nice opportunity to mingle with junior and senior researchers in syntax-semantics-pragmatics, and to hear the newest thoughts on the topics.

take-home messages

This activity, which was locally organized by Laia at the UPF, will be followed by yet another event organized by SigGram, namely Sinn und Bedeutung 23, hosted by the Centre de Lingüística Teòrica at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The deadline for abstract submission is March 12th. Save the date!

BCGL 10

At the beginning of December, Katie attended the annual BCGL conference, hosted by the CRISSP research group of KU Leuven. Each year, the conference has a different theme; this year’s was The morphology and semantics of person and number. Although not Katie’s main topic, the programme was full of interesting talks— plus Martina Wiltschko was an invited speaker, and she is not soo often in Europe. Martina presented new research with E. Ritter on pragmatic person. Valentina Bianchi discussed kaplanian contexts when anchoring person and Thomas McFadden compared allocutive agreement accounts of Basque with his Tamil data. Overall, there was a lot of nice typological empirical data.

IMG_6797
Between lunch and the afternoon session, we took a quick peek at the Grand-Place. Insider’s tip: there are free samples at the chocolate store on the corner. 😀

While in Belgium, Katie was also able to do some work with her co-author, Cora Pots, on their project about motion verbs as progressive markers in verb clusters of Dutch and Afrikaans. This fall, Cora has been developping a syntactic analysis for her dissertation (on te-drop in Dutch verb clusters) that they will be able to use for the cross-linguistic look at the progressive markers.

IMG_6813
Also: good news! Katie and Cora were good this year and got some goodies from Sinterklaus. 🙂 

 

Event semantics: Advent Workshop

After Oslo–and a snow-delay–Katie stopped in Cologne for a workshop on event semantics, organised by Carla Umbach and Stefan Hinterwimmer at Universität zu Köln . There she presented a new version of the work she’d presented in Zurich and Lagodekhi, about locative subjects in an English change-of-state construction, and received a lot of good feedback. With this feedback, she’ll hopefully be able to start writing it all down. 😉

koeln.nov2017

The invited speaker was Alte Grønn, who told us about viewpoint from a slavic perspective. Other speakers were mainly from German universities, and included Jens Fleischhauer & Thomas Gamerschlag on scalarity and telicity in fictive motion, Frauke Buscher on whether sound emission verbs can be analysed as motion verbs, and Katja Gobrovska on the German adverb sorgfältig. And although there were no Christmas market visits, the participants enjoyed some of the famous, tiny Kölsch beers. 😉

CoPo 2017

Katie and some colleagues from the UPV/EHU went to the Workshop on Approaches to Coercion and Polysemy in Oslo, Norway. Organised by Alexandra Spalek and Matthew Gotham, the workshop was a nice gathering of semanticists, philosophers, computational linguists, and even a psycholinguist. Katie presented a part of her MA thesis, about the polysemy of one English posture verb and discussed whether or not coercion is at play, and Bryan Leferman of his dissertation, which examined evaluative adjectives and the status of events in our ontology.

The invited speakers were Nick Asher and Robin Cooper, and there were many discussions about dependent type theory.  🙂

It was a super cold time to be in Norway (read: snow!!), but the sun was shining and we even got some daylight to explore the town.  😀 Thanks for the laughs Begoña, Marina, and Bryan!

CSSP 2017

Laia and Elena are back from Paris, where they have presented their recent work on so-called ‘Premise Conditionals’ (aka ‘Factual Conditionals’). The Colloque de Syntaxe et Sémantique à Paris takes place every other year and gathers formal linguists interested in phenomena that concern form and meaning.

eiffel

This year, the invited speakers were Regine Eckardt (Konstanz), who talked about deliberative questions, Stephen Wechsler (U. Texas at Austin), who discussed various forms of v

erb alternations in relation to polysemy, and Marco Baroni (Facebook), who introduced the audience to terms such as neural networks and artificial children.

Paris is always a good idea, and so were the name tags that the organizers devised 🙂

nametags

 

Hizkuntzaren zientzia @ Zientzia Astea 2017

From November 9th to November 12th, 2017, the Hizkuntzalaritza Teorikorako Taldea (HiTT) participated in the Science Week (Zientzia Astea) with a stand in the Bibat museum in Vitoria-Gasteiz. This year, the title of the stand was “Hizkuntzaren Zientzia” (The science of language), and it gathered citizens who listened to our presentation and/or played games about polysemy, articulation of sounds and the world’s languages. I think we did a good job at spreading the word about what linguists do and entertain at the same time. Thanks go to Laura, Marina, Lucía, Bryan, Aitor and Haizea!

za2017

Aside from the stand in Vitoria-Gasteiz, this year we also participated in the Zientzia Astea in Barakaldo with a workshop-talk entitled “Guk hitz egiten dugu. Baina, hitz egiten ote dute haiek? Giza-hizkuntzaren ezaguera” (We speak. But do they also speak? The human language). Myriam gave a very nice talk for 13-year olds at the Centro Clara Campoamor, who learned that some animals have very sophisticated communication methods, but cannot generate sentences that they have never heard before.