Syntax, Semantics, and Language Processing Lab

Spring 2018

Recent Announcements

  • May 31: Zaitsu presents Hacquard & Lidz (to appear)
    This week in s/lab, Anissa Zaitsu will lead discussion of Hacquard & Lidz (to appear): "Children's Attitude Problems: Bootstrapping Verb Meaning from Syntax and Pragmatics".

    We hope to see you this Thursday!
    Posted May 28, 2018, 5:41 PM by Nick Van Handel
  • May 17: Ben-Meir on Hebrew Free Inversion
    This week in s/lab, Netta will be presenting results from her recent acceptability judgment experiment in a talk entitled “The role of judgment type in Hebrew Free inversion”. We look forward to seeing you this Thursday!
    Posted May 14, 2018, 9:58 PM by Nick Van Handel
  • May 10: Foley presents Dillon et al 2017
    Keeping in the theme of agreement attraction from last week, this week in s/lab Steven Foley will lead a discussion of Dillon et al (2017): "Which noun phrases is the verb supposed to agree with?: Object agreement in American English”. See you this Thursday!
    Posted May 7, 2018, 10:13 AM by Nick Van Handel
  • May 3: Chris Hammerly on Agreement Attraction
    This Thursday, Chris Hammerly (UMass) will be presenting joint work with Adrian Staub and Brian Dillon in a talk entitled "The grammaticality asymmetry in agreement attraction reflects response bias: Experimental and modeling evidence".

    We look forward to seeing you this Thursday!
    Posted May 7, 2018, 10:07 AM by Nick Van Handel
  • April 26: Baclawski on the Discourse Subordination Effect
    In a special edition of s/lab and S-Circle, Kenny Baclawski is visiting from Berkeley to present a talk entitled "The discourse subordination effect and the syntax-discourse interface" - check out the abstract below!

    Certain anaphoric phenomena are known to be licensed only when discourse subordination, a class of rhetorical relation, relates the current sentence to the sentence containing the antecedent. This discourse subordination effect has been observed for clitic right-dislocation in Catalan (López 2009), topicalization, and wh-fronting in Eastern Cham (Baclawski Jr. 2015).

    In this talk, experimental evidence demonstrates the discourse subordination effect for English D-linked wh-phrases (e.g. which book). Participants in a study on Amazon Mechanical Turk rated questions with D-linked wh-phrases significantly worse in the absence of discourse subordination, though the effect disappears with non-D-linked wh-phrases (e.g. what book). This pattern is not predicted by other factors previously associated with D-linking like salience or previous mention (e.g. Pesetsky 1987; Comorovski 1996; Grohmann 1998).

    To account for these findings, a new representation of discourse is proposed, "Minimal SDRT", deriving from Segmented Discourse Representation Theory, which adds hierarchical rhetorical relations to DRT (Asher 1993; Asher & Lascarides 2003). In Minimal SDRT, prior discourse is modeled by a universe of discourse referents and a discourse tree, a hierarchy of rhetorical relations. Through Minimal SDRT, once a sentence is attached to the discourse tree, the universe is updated to indicate which antecedents are accessible via discourse subordination. It is argued that this stage of discourse update occurs prior to the numeration. The discourse subordination effect, then, is analyzed with syntactic features that reference information about discourse subordination in the updated universe.
    Posted May 7, 2018, 10:04 AM by Nick Van Handel
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Our group works on issues of how grammars are used in real-time language comprehension. We are interested in understanding the relationship between the form of grammatical constraints and other aspects of cognitive architecture, particularly memory.

When and where

Thursdays 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm in the LCR (Linguistics Common Room)


Netta Ben-Meir
Nick Van Handel

If you would like to be added to our mailing list, contact Netta.