The primary aim of LFRG is to give you an opportunity to have informal discussions of your own and other people’s ideas without having to worry about saying something wrong. Thus, practice talks and presentations of works in progress (or in regress) or papers that you find interesting are especially welcome.

The range of possible topics include semantics, syntax, their interface, and what not having a connection to either syntax or semantics. The idea is that a lot of research does not fit into the straight jacket of a narrow area – though it is by no means required to have any interdisciplinary interests to attend LFRG.

Meetings this semester are:

Wednesdays, 1-2:00pm in 32-D461 unless noted

There are basically four main kinds of meetings: 1) presentations of one’s own work, including in progress and in regress; 2) a genuine reading group meeting: everyone reads, or at least browses, some interesting paper, and we discuss it; 3) a tutorial-like meeting where the persons in charge tell everyone something about not so widely known things – like cool experimental techniques, math tools, new empirical results, etc., and then optionally people say what they think about that; and 4) brainstorming sessions: the persons in charge provide a topic and the necessary background, and the point is to generate some ideas about what one can do about the topic.

Meetings and changes in the schedule are announced here and by email to interested people. If you want to receive the email announcements, want to be in charge of a meeting, or have any other comments about the Syntax-Semantics Reading Group, email either Tatiana Bondarenko or Dóra Kata Takács.

Claiming an LFRG slot is not scary at all – so don’t hesitate to do that!

Spring 2019

February 27, 2019
  • LFRG, Maša Močnik & Rafael Abramovitz, MIT

    February 27, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

    In this talk we explore the attitude verb ivyk from Koryak, a highly endangered Chukotko-Kamchatkan language of the Russian Far East. Ivyk looks like a variable-force variable-flavour attitude verb: it can be translated by (at least) say, tell/order, think, allow for the possibility, hope, fear, and wish (though not, for example, imagine). We will focus primarily on the division of labour between the doxastic readings (think, allow for the possibility) and the desiderative readings (hope, fear, wish) and argue, following Bogal-Allbritten (2016), against a lexical ambiguity or an underspecification analysis of the various readings.

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March 13, 2019
  • LFRG, Frank Staniszewski, MIT

    March 13, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

    I will present Marty & Romoli's new paper 'Presupposed Free Choice' (which expands on material discussed in Gajewski & Sharvit (2012) and Spector & Sudo (2017)). I will also explore possible connections with some of my work in progress on 'until' phrases, which I hypothesize should be treated as free choice items.

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March 18, 2019
  • LFRG, Itai Bassi, MIT

    March 18, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

    Title: Principle C effects with plural antecedents (joint work with Paul Marty)
    In the literature on Principle C, it has been claimed on the basis of examples like (1) that an R-expression cannot overlap in reference with a c-commanding plural antecedent (a.o., Lasnik 1989, Schlenker 2003). Yet we add to (1) the datapoint in (2), and observe that this claim only holds on a distributive interpretation of the relevant antecedent: as (2) shows, things get better on a collective interpretation (cf. Reinhart and Reuland for a parallel observation for principle B configurations).

    (1) They think that Oscar should be the…

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April 10, 2019
  • LFRG, Christopher Baron, MIT

    April 10, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

    Speaker: Christopher Baron (MIT)
    Title: Entailments, implicatures, and absolute adjectives
    Time: Wednesday, April 10th, 1-2PM
    Location: 32-D461


    Absolute adjectives like straight and bent give rise to interesting entailments and implicatures when they occur in degree constructions; the [a] and [b] examples below are comparatives, and the [c] examples are degree achievements.

    [a] Bar A is straighter than it was before.
    [b] Bar A is straighter than Bar B is.
    [c] Bar A straightened.

    [a] Bar C is more bent than it was…

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April 17, 2019
  • LFRG, Qi Hao, Harvard / Peking University

    April 17, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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April 24, 2019
  • LFRG: Keny Chatain (MIT)

    April 24, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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May 1, 2019
  • LFRG, Shumian Ye, MIT / Peking University

    May 1, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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May 8, 2019
  • LFRG, Tanya Bondarenko, MIT

    May 8, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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May 15, 2019
  • LFRG, Gregor Williamson, MIT / University College London (UCL) + Jacopo Romoli (Ulster University))

    May 15, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

    Abstract for the Jacopo's half of the LFRG:

    Homogeneity or implicature: an experimental approach
    (Jacopo Romoli - based on joint work with Lyn Tieu and Cory Bill)

    A sentence containing disjunction in the scope of a possibility modal, such as (1a), gives rise to the free choice inference in (1b). This inference presents a well-known puzzle in light of standard treatments of modals and disjunction (Kamp 1974 and much subsequent work). To complicate things further, free choice tends to disappear under negation: (2a) doesn’t merely convey the negation of (1a), but rather…

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