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!
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.
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.