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!
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!
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.