Student retreat in the mountains

Inspired by Szklarska Poreba and the EGG school, Katie and a colleague from UPF (Barcelona) organised a student retreat in Catalonia this October. It was called Retreat for Students in Semantics and Pragmatics (ReSSP). We had two invited speakers, Becky Woods (Huddersfield) and Marcin Wagiel (Brno), who are great both academically and personally; as well as 14 contributed talks by grad students in semantics.

Katie and Kata were very happy with the weekend and hope to repeat it in the future!

Hiking conference in Serbia

In Serbia, Berit organised a nice conference in the Carpathian mountains of Serbia, called Research Techniques and Approaches: New Journeys in Linguistics (RTANJ Linguistics 2). It was casual and cozy (delicious, homemade Serbian food!) and overall really nice with high quality talks.

Katie presented joint work with Cora Pots (KU Leuven) on motion/posture verbs in periphrastic progressive constructions in Dutch and Afrikaans, and Berit presented her work on cross-slavic variation in passives. Thanks for organising, Berit! ūüôā

The EGG school

view from the dorms towards Banja Luka

For the first two weeks of August, Katie attended the Eastern Generative Grammar (EGG)¬†School, this year in Banja Luka (Bosnia). This was her second time at an EGG school, and she is a big fan. The school is based on some nice ideas, such as making high-level linguistics courses available to students in Central and Eastern Europe and keeping costs low for students generally. Another big goal of the school’s organisers is to promote interaction between teachers and students–a big plus for learning and for the social environment.

On the way to the opening party

While there, Katie attended courses by Patrick Elliot (ZAS Berlin), Daniele Panizza (G√∂ttingen), Yasutada Sudo (UCL), Sarah Zobel (T√ľbingen), and Gillian Ramchand (Troms√ł). One course, concerning the Exhaustivity Operator was even extended into the second week because there was such a lively discussion!

There was also an Open Podium during the second week, where Katie had the opportunity to present her joint work with Elena and MEAT friend Agustín Vicente. She received good feedback, including a question about the potential diachronic connection between the construction under investigation (Ethnic/Social Terms used as Insults, ESTIs) and slurs.

Social meaning in Paris

At the beginning of July, Katie went to Sociolinguistic, Psycholinguistic and Formal Perspectives on Social Meaningin Paris, organised by Heather Burnett and Judith Degen. There, Katie presented joint work with Elena and local friend August√≠n Vicente with a talk entitled ‘On the social meaning of stereotypes: A comparison in the realm of¬†expressives’. This work investigates the differences between slurs and what we call ‘ESTIs’ (Ethnic/Social Terms used as Insults) in European Spanish. ESTIs are a particular type of word which have both a neutral, denotational use, and an insulting use which capitulates on stereotypes of the respective group; interestingly, the insulting use (ESTI) can only be used for people outside of the ethnic or social group. Examples we’ve found include¬†portera‘doorwoman’, which is used for targets perceived as lazy gossips, and¬†gitan@ ‘gipsy’, which can be used for people perceived as scamming or liars. [Note: we do not endorse these stereotypes of the social groups.]

The workshop itself was very interesting, with lively discussion and a fun social programme. Some highlights included Elin McCready’s work on Honorification and Norms, Sunwoo Jeong’s work on the social meaning of rising declaratives, and Teresa Pratt’s discussion of the social meaning of interactional moments, where she reported on sociolinguistic data collected during her PhD. Thanks for great organisation, Heather and Judith!


Katie in Belgium

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!




MEAT in Cambridge

Bridge of Sighs, CAMBRIDGE

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!

Philosophising in Vitoria-Gasteiz

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.

WhatsApp Image 2018-03-16 at 17.26.55Amid 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. ūüôā


Looking forward to future meetings like this!

MEAT dgfs-ing again!

This year’s annual Deutsche Gesellschaft f√ľr 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!

Szklarska Poreba

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 KrzyŇľanowska,¬†Katarzyna KuŇõ, and¬†Dan Lassiter. This year, Katie presented a poster about work that she, Elena, and another UPV/EHU colleague, Agust√≠n 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!