Author: Adrian Stegovec

Magdalena & Stefan Kaufmann | NSF Grant

Magdalena & Stefan Kaufmann have been awarded an NSF grant for their project “Research on conditional and modal language” (09/01/2021 – 04/30/2024). Congratulations!

Abstract for the project:

“Language reflects and supports the ability to reason about the likelihood or goodness of unrealized possibilities–a critical capacity underlying practical decisions, scientific explanations, moral judgments, legal agreements, and attitudes like regret and relief. Conditional and modal expressions are ways to talk about what is, will be or would have been likely or preferable, and to flag contingencies and degrees of confidence. In English, such expressions (examples are ‘if-then’ sentences and auxiliaries like ‘must’ and ‘might’) have been extensively studied. However, languages other than English employ radically different ways to express similar notions, and much remains unknown about the cross-linguistic picture with regard to both the variety of expressive means and the uniformity of the underlying concepts. This project works towards filling that gap. Its linguistic goal is to elucidate how general concepts and cognitive abilities interact with the grammatical idiosyncrasies of different languages. Its wider applications include language teaching and artificial intelligence, where the ability to use and understand modals and conditionals correctly helps improve the quality of machine translation systems and human-computer interfaces.

The goal of this project is a detailed comparative study of the meaning and use of conditional and modal expressions in typologically unrelated languages. As a starting point, this work relies on the existing descriptive literature for important observations and data points. However, such descriptions are not typically geared towards a detailed cross-linguistic comparative study using the theoretical and methodological tools of contemporary formal semantics and pragmatics. One crucial part of this project, therefore, consists of a comprehensive survey and systematization of the results of prior research. The project builds on the survey results to develop theoretical analyses and cross-linguistic comparisons. The empirical base underlying the project’s theoretical work includes data reported in the literature, supplemented with introspective judgments by native speakers.”

Further information on the grant can be found here.

UConn Linguistics at SICOGG

The 23rd Seoul International Conference on Generative Grammar will be held online, August 11-13, 2021, co-hosted by the Korea Generative Grammar Circle and Sogang University. Several UConn linguists will be giving talks at the conference:

  • Yuya Noguchi. Immobility, island sensitivity, and exhaustivity in Japanese elliptical constructions
  • YongSuk Yoo (PhD 2018, now at JeonBuk National University) and Myung-Kwan Park. The Dynamics of Labeling in Scrambling as Adjunction
  • Koji Shimamura. (PhD 2018, now at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies) Clausal Nominalization and Nominative-Genitive Conversion in Japanese
  • Zheng Shen (PhD 2018, now at National University of Singapore) Agreement in Nominal Right Node Raising: An experimental approach
  • Zheng Shen and Meghan Lim. Extraction from definite, indefinite, and superlative NPs: An experimental approach

      UConn Linguistics at FEAST

      The 9th meeting of the Formal and Experimental Advances in Sign Language Theory (FEAST) colloquium, is going to be held virtually on June 1st-4th, hosted by The Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies of CUHK. UConn linguistics is going to be represented by a flash talk & poster by:

      • Linghui (Eva) Gan. Indexical shift with(-out) role shift: Evidence from Hong Kong Sign Language

      … as well as a keynote talk by:

      • Kazumi Matsuoka (1998 PhD, now Keio University, Japan). Grammatical patterns of ‘mouth-based mouth gestures’ in Japanese Sign Language

      UConn Linguistics at FASL

      The 30th annual meeting of Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics (FASL 30) is being held virtually on May 13–16, hosted by MIT. UConn linguistics will be represented by a talk by:

      • Magdalena Kaufmann, Neda Todorović (PhD 2016, now at University of British Columbia), and Ivana Jovović. Obviate me (not): Obviation effects in Serbian main and complement clauses

      … as well as an invited talk by:

      • Aida Talić (PhD 2017, now at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign). The (Non)isomorphism between Spell-out Domains and Accent Domains

      UConn Linguistics at CLS

      The 57th annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society (CLS) is taking place virtually on May 6-8, and UConn linguistics will be well represented at the conference with talks by:

      • Robin Jenkins. Scrambling and Successive Cyclic Movement In Turkish and Uyghur
      • Teruyuki Mizuno. Argument ellipsis, topicality, and a theory of null anaphora
      • Shengyun Gu. On weak hand spread in Shanghai Sign Language: Positive and negative evidence
      • Troy Messick (PhD 2017, now at Rutgers University) & Sreekar Raghotham. Morphosyntax values itself
      • Elena Koulidobrova (PhD 2012, now at Central Connecticut State University), Gabriel Martinez-Vera (PhD 2020, now at Goethe Universität), Kim Kurz & Christopher Kurz. Revisiting gradability in ASL
      • Ksenia Bogomolets (PhD 2020, now at University of Auckland): Syntactic influences on stress: Noun Incorporation and Denominal Verbs in Choguita Rarámuri