Workshop II: Semantic Universals in the Modal and Attitudinal Domain
Invited Speaker: Lisa Matthewson (University of British Columbia)
Date: March 31, 2020
Organizers: Uli Sauerland (ZAS Berlin) and Wataru Uegaki (University of Edinburgh)
Programme: please use this link
Call for Papers
Human languages across the world exhibit a wide range of variation in their grammatical properties. But, is there any limit to such variation? Do languages share any significant common properties? The search for properties holding across languages, or language universals, is a fundamental goal in linguistics, as it offers a window into our shared linguistic ability as a human kind. Meanings of single words, or lexical semantics, is one area in which the research on language universals has been highly successful, for example in work on quantificational expressions, pronominals, and on color terms.
The GLOW workshop extends the research on lexical-semantic universals into an uncultivated domain: the modal and attitudinal domain. These words include modal auxiliaries (e.g., "may"/”must”), attitudinal verbs ("believe"/”know”), and modal particles such as ”hoor” and ”wel” in Dutch. Although these items have been extensively studied in particular languages, cross-linguistic universals concerning their meanings have been rarely investigated, due to the scarcity of theoretical frameworks that enable feasible universal constraints capturing their semantic intricacies. The workshop aims to provide an impetus to bring forward work on semantic universals in the modal and attitudinal domain.