Last week Zoltan participated in the Sinn und Bedeutung 23, which took place in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in September 5-7, 2018. Sinn und Bedeutung is one of the most important conferences on formal semantics in the world and was particularly competitive this year.
In addition to chairing one session, Zoltan presented the talk called “Not all state nominalizations are mass nouns”, in which he argues against the standard analysis according to which there is a mapping from atelicity onto the mass domain. On the basis of certain specific data in Spanish that have gone unnoticed in the literature so far, he claims that the requirement for predicative bases to form mass nominalizations is that they must be gradable rather than atelic.
“It was a pleasure to meet again my colleagues and friends of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. This type of conferences promote the linguistic debate at a high level in an ideal atmosphere in which not only professors, but also students, feel comfortable enough to share their ideas. Special thanks to the organizers for making that possible”.
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 Augustín 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!
The program of the forthcoming 41.Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft, which will take place in Bremen on March 6-8, 2019, is now published. Among the Arbeitsgruppen, you can find two workshops organized by MEAT-ers!
Katie is co-organizing the Workshop “Encoding emotive attitudes in non-truth-conditional meaning” along with Curt Anderson.
Berit, Elena and Laia are co-organizing the Workshop “Concessives vs. Adversatives: Opposing opposition“.
Too bad we can’t attend each others’ workshops!!!
Don’t miss the deadlines and submit your abstracts this summer.
Elena has finished her spring tour in Konstanz, where Andrea Beltrama, María Biezma, Erlinde Meertens, Maribel Romero and Ramona Wallner from the DFG funded research unit (FOR2111) Questions at the interfaces organized the workshop “Meaning in non-canonical questions.”
Elena presented recent work on Catalan interrogative tag “eh?”, which has two pragmatic uses which have not been adressed from a formal perspective. This talk was interspersed with other presentations on various types of biased questions, modal particles in questions, prosody or scope-marking in interrogatives across languages.
Konstanz welcomed us with a summer-like weather, which permitted nice strolls along the river, by the lake and through the old town.
Elena participated in the 28th Colloquium on Generative Grammar, which took place at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) in Tarragona, and was organized by former colleague and friend, Isabel Oltra-Massuet (see a report from URV’s digital journal here). The conference was preceded by a workshop on argument structure from the perspective of processing, and joined various invited presenters besides the CGG’s invited speakers (Loes Koring, Alec Marantz, Jaume Mateu, Colin Phillips, Gillian Ramchand, Linnaea Stockall, Andrew Nevins and Elena Castroviejo). As always, there was a selection of papers from international researchers.
Elena presented recent research based on her collaborative work with Berit on the intensification semantics of evaluative and manner modifiers.
The nice scientific program was accompanied by a fantastic social program, including a walk through Roman Tarragona on Wednesday and a walk through Medieval Tarragona on Thursday. Moreover, the conference signed up for COSWL pop-up mentoring event for the first time in Europe. In this event, senior women linguists spend some time with junior women linguists adressing questions, fears and sharing experiences. In fact, there will be another pop-up mentoring event at Sinn und Bedeutung 23 in Barcelona, so if you are not familiar with this program, don’t miss the chance and sign in!
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!
On May 4 and 5, 2018, took place at the Uni Wien the “Workshop on Catalan Syntax and its interfaces”, organized by Anna Kocher and Monja Burkard, from the Institut für Romanistik. They brought together the following invited speakers: Jorge Vega Vilanova (U. Hamburg), Gemma Rigau (CLT/UAB), Elisabeth Aßmann (U. Frankfurt), Xavier Villalba (CLT/UAB), Jonas Grünke (U. Mainz), Ingo Feldhausen (U. Frankfurt) and Elena.
The organizers excelled at creating a dynamic as well as relaxed atmosphere that gave rise to fruitful interactions. Topics included clitics, DOM, agreement, strong pronouns and the role of prosody in focus. Elena was very pleased to present her ongoing work on interrogative tags in Catalan in front of such a suitable audience. Interestingly, the North-Eastern Catalan speakers do not have oi? in their inventory of tags, so the distinction between oi? was inexistent in them. By contrast, speakers of the Barcelona dialect seemed to agree with the proposed contrast.