Last week, Katie went to Brussels to give a talk in the CRISSP research seminar. Her talk described the latest developments of her dissertation work: the grammaticalisation of posture verbs in English and how the semantics of the locative use interacts with aspect. She reported her most recent corpus data and proposed the beginnings of a theory about the differences between ‘to sit’ and ‘to lie’ when they are used with inanimate subjects. Thanks to the audience for really helpful feedback!
Also in Belgium: Katie was able to attend a lecture series by Bronwyn M. Bjorkman. The lectures were about tense from a morphosyntactic and semantic perspective. Bronwyn is a very good teacher and she presented the various puzzles of tense in an interesting way. Overall very enjoyable! During the week, Katie and her co-author Cora had the chance to talk to Bronwyn about their work on the grammaticalisation of Dutch and Afrikaans posture verbs (+ the motion verb ‘to walk’), more specifically on their use as aspectual markers in the periphrastic progressive. Bronwyn gave them some nice suggestions for future avenues. Thanks for a nice week in Brussels!
Katie was in Cambridge for a few sunny days, representing MEAT at CamCos 7. She presented joint work with Cora Pots (KU Leuven) on aspectual markers in Dutch and Afrikaans periphrastic progressive constructions. Their corpus data has shown that the more grammaticalised the marker is, the more likely it also encodes an evaluative component concerning the lexical verb’s eventuality. The particularly interesting aspectual markers are the motion verb ‘walk’ and core posture verbs ‘sit’/’stand’/’lie’. Although the conference is mainly a syntactic audience, they received a lot of interesting and positive feedback!
Local friends Agustín Vicente and Marta Jorba organised a workshop on Language and Mind, so that members of HiTT (the UPV/EHU theoretical linguistics group) and LOGOS (the analytical philosophy research group at the University of Barcelona) can get together and share ideas.
Amid philosophy talks, Katie gave a linguistic talk about the polysemy of posture verbs. Marta discussed the ontology of predicates like understand and see/watch, and how lexical aspect plays a big role there. Marina, another local PhD student, presented a proposal on how to formalise copredication constructions, with a modification on a previous proposal of Pustojevsky. The friends from Barcelona talked about a range of topics, from information theory and signalling theory, to personal identity and experience vs. bodily ownership. Very interesting to hear about topics one might not usually (think to) think about. 🙂
This year’s annual Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS) was held in the south, in Stuttgart. Both Berit and Katie presented. Berit’s talk was in Workshop 8, “Reference beyond the DP” and discussed anaphoric reference in Russian (joint work with fellow SIGGRAM-er Olga Borik). Kristine Bentzen and Marcin Morzycki were the invited speakers. Marcin’s talk was especially interesting: he discussed possible solutions to a puzzle of modification conjunction, such as in Donald is ignorant and unpleasant, and his son even more so (i.e., the question is how to deal with the scales involved here).
Katie’s was in Workshop 3, “Evaluative Semantics”, organised by Patrick Grosz and Valentina Bianchi. She presented a talk on scalarity in the swarm alternation (joint work with Daniel Hole). The invited speakers were Andrea Beltrama and Farah Benerama. The workshop was a really nice one, with good discussion and an overall good atomosphere. Stand-out talks were by Elsi Kaiser, who discussed experiments concerning evaluations and how these differ depending on sensory domain and Peter Alrenga, who analysed two different kinds of `at least’. Also: since Katie did her MA at Stuttgart, she knows the organiser, and got involved in type-setting the conference booklet. Let’s just say she knows a lot more about LaTeX now!
At the end of February, Berit and Katie went to the best workshop: Szklarska Poreba! Sometimes called the “skiing workshop”, it has a less formal format and takes place in a ski hut. One of my things about the workshop is that it is like the EGG school; that is, it is designed with the idea that everybody should be able to attend, regardless of financial status. It was suuuper cold this year, even getting below -20 at night, but it was still worth it to be up there.
This year’s theme was ‘plurality’, with a number of cool invited speakers: Henk Zeevat, Karolina Krzyżanowska, Katarzyna Kuś, and Dan Lassiter. This year, Katie presented a poster about work that she, Elena, and another UPV/EHU colleague, Agustín Vicente have been doing. The work is about a new class of pejorative terms (alas, not on plurality), and was well-received. We are looking forward to giving a talk on this project this summer in Paris!
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.
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)!
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.
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.