- Formal semantics
(in particular: imperatives and clause types, non-truth-conditional meaning, modality, tense, causality)
- Formal approaches to the study of pragmatics and discourse
(in particular: Game-, Decision- and Optimality-theoretic approaches)
My dissertation Towards a dynamic pragmatics (Stanford, 2013)
ties in with many of the topics below. It develops
the foundations of a formal system for the study of pragmatics that
faithfully models Gricean pragmatic inference as interlocutors'
reasoning about each other's utterance choices. The framework is
applied to issues involving clause typing and the form/force mapping,
as well as the study of conversational implicatures.
-ever free relatives, German irgend-indefinites, Spanish algún.
The notion of postsuppositions in a dynamic semantics.
- 2009: Free relatives with -ever: Meaning and Use. Qualifying Paper, Stanford University. [pdf]
- 2009: The -ever in whatever: What, and how? Talk at the Workshop on expressives and other kinds of non-truth-conditional meaning, held as part of the 31st Annual Meeting of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft, Osnabrück, Germany [slides]
- 2009: Free Choice of the irgend-kind: Not as wide as you might think. Talk at California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics (CUSP) 1, UCLA (The handout is still available, though the following one covers the same ground and more)
- 2010: Some News on irgendein and algún. Talk at the workshop on Epistemic Indefinites, University of Göttingen, Germany [handout]
- Manuscript, under review: Some News on irgendein and algún [pdf]
Clause types and Performativity
(Joint work with Cleo Condoravdi.)
Imperatives and clause-typing. The form-force mapping and the semantics/pragmatics
"interface". Explicit performatives and performative uses of modals, desideratives,
and other expressions.
- 2009, with Cleo Condoravdi: Performing A Wish: Desiderative Assertions and Performativity. California University Semantics and Pragmatics (CUSP) 2, UCSC [handout]
- 2010, with Cleo Condoravdi: Imperatives and Public Commitments Talk at the 11th SemFest,
Stanford University [handout]
- 2010, Cleo Condoravdi and Sven Lauer: Speaking of Preferences: Imperative and Desiderative Assertions in Context Speaking of Possibility and Time: The 7th Workshop on Inferential Mechanisms and their Linguistic Manifestation, University of Göttingen, Germany [handout]
- (with Cleo Condoravdi) Commitments to Act: Content and Contextual Effects of explicit performatives. Talk in the Construction of Meaning Workshop, October 22, 2010, Stanford University.[handout extending the previous one to come]
- forthcoming, Cleo Condoravdi and Sven Lauer Imperatives: Meaning and illocutionary force, in C. Piñon (ed.), Empirical Issues in Syntax and Semantics 9, Papers from the Colloque de Syntaxe et Sémantique à Paris [draft (PDF)]
See also the last two handouts for our NASSLLI course.
- 2010, with Cleo Condoravdi: Performative Verbs and Performative Acts at Sinn und Bedeutung 15, September 9-11, 2010, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany [handout]
- 2011, with Cleo Condoravdi Performative Verbs and Performative Acts in I. Reich (ed.), Proceedings of Sinn and Bedeutung (SuB) 15, Universaar – Saarland Unversity Press, Saarbrücken, Germany [pdf]
Exclamatives and expressive meaning
- 2012, with Anna Chernilovskaya and Cleo Condoravdi How to Express Yourself:
On the Discourse Effect of Wh-Exclamatives. Talk at the 30th West Coast
Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 30), at the University of California
Santa Cruz, April 13-15, 2012 [handout, (PDF)]
- to appear, with Anna Chernilovskaya and Cleo Condoravdi: On the discourse effect of wh-exclmatives, to appear in Nate Arnett and Ryan Bennett (eds.), Proceedings of the 30th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 30), Cascadilla Press [prefinal PDF]
(The WCCFL-proceedings paper only covers the empirical part of
our talk. The handout contains also an outline of our theoretical
proposal on the matter. A manuscript laying this out in detail is
soon to come.)
- 2012, with Cleo Condoravdi: The basic dynamic effect of interrogative utterances, talk presented at TLS 13, UT-Austin, 2012 [slides (pdf)]
Anankastic and similar conditionals
(Joint work with Cleo Condoravdi.)
Anankastic conditionals as involving effective preferences. Varieties of Anankasticity.
- 2011: You can't always want what you want: Understanding Anankastic conditionals, in the Berkeley Syntax and Semantics Circle, University of California at Berkeley [handout]
- 2012: Anankastic conditionals are just conditionals,
at California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics (CUSP) 4, February 3-4, 2012, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. [handout (PDF)]
- 2012: Anankastic conditionals are just conditionals, presented at the Construction of Meaning Workshop, Stanford University, May, 2012 [handout (pdf)]
Loose Talk, and other pragmatic phenomena requiring pragmatic solutions
- 2010, A Pragmatic Account of Loose Talk at California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics (CUSP) 3, October 15-16, 2010, Stanford University. [handout]
- 2011: On the pragmatics of pragmatic slack at Sinn und Bedeutung 16, Universiteit Utrecht. [handout]
- 2011: Varieties of Compositionality and Loose Talk, talk at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main [handout]
- 2012 On the pragmatics of pragmatic slack in A. Aguilar, R. Nouwen and A. Chernilovskaya (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn and Bedeutung (SuB) 16, MIT Working papers in Linguistics, Cambridge, MA. [prefinal pdf]
Causation, Causatives, Counterfactuals, and their ilk
English periphrastic causatives. cause vs. make. Causal necessity and causal sufficiency. Causatives in Japanese and Korean.
- 2009: ‘Causative’ make: A veridical, metaphysical conditional? Talk at the Workshop on Counterfactuals, Causality and Inertia. Stanford University. [pdf]
- 2010: Periphrastic Causatives in English: What do they mean? Manuscript based on my 2nd Qualifying Paper, Stanford University. [pdf]
- 2011: Necessity and Sufficiency in the Semantics of English Periphrastic Causatives at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), January 6-9, 2011, Pittsburgh, PA. [handout/formal appendix]
- 2011: Making things happen: Sufficiency causatives in English and Japanese (and German?) at the Workshop on aspect and modality in lexical semantics, Universität Stuttgart [slides in handout format]
I also organized a Workshop on Counterfactuals, Causality and Inertia (nick-named the N3C-workshop), in the Fall of 2009.
- I am involved in the
- I was involved in the genesis of a project on the mass/count distinction. The main claim of this work is that the mass/count distinction is neither a contrast that is observed in the world, nor one that is a matter of arbitrary linguistic convention, but rather a contrast in conceptualization. This entails that we can model the effects of this distinction only if we allow a level of conceptual representation to mediate the relation between language and the world. grinding and packaging phenomena can be viewed as contextual shifts in conceptualization, which may deliver an explanation of why grinding and packaging are far from "universal", that is, why, despite common lore, not every mass noun can be used with count syntax and not every count noun can be used with count syntax. A preliminary outcome of this project was
Despite my continued interest in the implications of this work, I have left this project in the hands of my able collaborators. See their websites for new developments on this general theme.
- (with David Clausen, Alex Djalali, Scott Grimm, B. Levin, and T. Rojas-Esponda) Extension, Ontological Type, and Morphosyntactic Class: Three Ingredients of Countability, Conference on Empirical, Theoretical and Computational Approaches to Countability in Natural Language Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany, September 22-24, 2010. [Extended abstract, pdf] [updated slides in pdf]
- Department of Linguistics, University of Konstanz, Germany.
- Summer 2014: Semantik I (Introduction to Formal Semantics)
- 4th NASSLLI, Idiana University, Bloomington, IN.
Imperative Meaning in Context [course webpage]
(Co-taught with Cleo Condoravdi)
- Department of Linguistics, Stanford University, CA.
- Winter 2011: Logic & Language Lab
Accompanying Introduction to Linguistic Meaning, taught by Chris Potts.
- Spring 2010: Introduction to Linguistics
Lecturer: Vivienne Fong
- Fall 2009: Introduction to Syntax
Lecturer: Tom Wasow
- Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, Germany.
- Summer 2005: Introduction to Computational Linguistics
Lecturers: Graham Katz and Stefan Evert
- Winter 2004/05: Introduction to Linguistics
Lecturer: Graham Katz
- Summer 2002: Introduction to Computational Linguistics
Lecturers: Peter Bosch and Sabine Reinhart