Elena had the chance to hang out with Europe’s finest syntacticians at GLOW 41 in Budapest, including HiTT colleagues Alejo Alcaraz, Laura Vela-Plo, Aritz Irurtzun, Ricardo Etxepare and Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria. In fact, she presented at the Sem Workshop on The grammar and pragmatics of interrogatives and their (special) uses, organized by Hans-Martin Gärtner and Beáta Gyuris, where she discussed recent ongoing work on the distribution and interpretation of two Catalan tags (oi? and eh?), which a priori have the same discourse contribution. The invited speaker was Manfred Krifka, who gave us an update on his Commitment Space Semantics. Some of the crowd at the workshop will meet up again at the Konstanz workshop Meaning in Non-Canonical Questions.
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)!
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.
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.