Magda & Stefan Kaufmann | Article in Journal of Semantics

Magda and Stefan Kaufmann’s paper “Iffy Endorsements” has been published online as an advance article in the Journal of Semantics.

Abstract: Theories of imperatives differ in how they aim to derive the distributional and functional properties of this clause type. One point of divergence is how to capture the fact that imperative utterances convey the speaker’s endorsement for the course of events described. Condoravdi & Lauer (2017) observe that conditionals with imperative consequents (conditionalized imperatives, CIs) are infelicitous as motivations of advice against doing something and take this as evidence for an analysis of imperatives as encoding speaker endorsement. We investigate CIs in further contexts and argue that their account in terms of preferential conflicts fails to capture the more general infelicity of CIs as motivations for or against doing something. We develop an alternative in which imperatives do not directly encode speaker preferences, but express modalized propositions and impose restrictions on the discourse structure (along the lines of Kaufmann, 2012). We show how this carries over to conditionalized imperatives to derive the behavior of CIs, and conclude with a discussion of more general problems regarding an implementation of conditional preferential commitments, an issue that can be avoided on our account of imperatives.

Hiromune Oda | Article in TLR

Hiromune Oda‘s paper Decomposing and deducing the Coordinate Structure Constraint has been published online in The Linguistic Review ahead of the print version (see short abstract below). Congratulations Hiro!

The article shows that the Coordinate Structure Constraint (CSC) can be violated in a number of languages and establishes a novel cross-linguistic generalization regarding languages that allow violations of the CSC. A phase-based deduction of this generalization is then provided under a particular contextual approach to phases. In addition, based on the cross-linguistic data regarding violations of the CSC, it is argued that the CSC should be separated into two conditions: (i) the ban on extraction of a conjunct, and (ii) the ban on extraction out of a conjunct. This means that the whole coordinate structure (ConjP) as well as individual conjuncts are islands independently of each other. The article also addresses the long-standing debate regarding where in the grammar the CSC applies, arguing that the two different conditions that result from the separation of the traditional CSC ((i) and (ii) above) are deduced from different mechanisms in the architecture of the grammar: one is a purely syntactic condition, and the other is an interface condition.

Goodwin & Coppola in UConn Today

A recent publication by Corina Goodwin and Marie Coppola in the journal Child Development (Language not auditory experience is related to parent-reported executive functioning in preschool-aged deaf and hard-of-hearing children”) was featured in UConn Today.

The article, titled “To Young Brains, Language Is Language, Whether Signed or Spoken” can be read here.

Sign Language & Linguistics | Special Issue

A special issue of Sign Language & Linguistics in memory of Irit Meir was recently published, guest edited by Diane Lillo-Martin, Wendy Sandler, Marie Coppola, and Rose Stamp, who also wrote the introductory article “Irit Meir”.

The issue also contains the article “Person vs. locative agreement: Evidence from late learners and language emergence” by Lily Kwok (MA 2019), Stephanie Berk (PhD 2004), and Diane Lillo-Martin.

Magda and Stefan Kaufmann | Handbook of Japanese Semantics and Pragmatics

We are pleased to announce that the recently published Handbook of Japanese Semantics and Pragmatics (De Gruyter Mouton 2020, edited by Wesley W. Jacobsen and Yukinori Takubo) features two chapters by UConn faculty:

  • “Formal treatments of tense and aspect” by Stefan Kaufmann (Chapter 7, pages 371-422)
  • “Possibility and necessity in Japanese: Prioritizing, epistemic, and dynamic modality” by Magdalena Kaufmann and Sanae Tamura (Chapter 11, pages 537-586)


Coppola | Volume on Emerging Sign Languages of the Americas

We are pleased to announce that “Emerging Sign Languages of the Americas”, a volume edited by Marie Coppola with Olivier Le Guen and Josefina Safar, is going to be published in November as part of DeGruyter’s Sign Language Typology Series.

“This volume is the first to bring together researchers studying a range of different types of emerging sign languages in the Americas, and their relationship to the gestures produced in the surrounding communities of hearing individuals.”

Coppola | Best Paper in Language Award

A paper co-authored by Marie Coppola, “The noun-verb distinction in established and emergent sign systems” (Language 95, no. 2 (2019): 230-267), has won this year’s Best Paper in Language Award.

Congratulations to Marie and her co-authors: Natasha Abner, Molly Flaherty, Katelyn Stangl, Diane Brentari, and Susan Goldin-Meadow!

Abstract: In a number of signed languages, the distinction between nouns and verbs is evident in the morphophonology of the signs themselves. Here we use a novel elicitation paradigm to investigate the systematicity, emergence, and development of the noun-verb distinction (qua objects vs. actions) in an established sign language, American Sign Language (ASL), an emerging sign language, Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL), and in the precursor to NSL, Nicaraguan homesigns. We show that a distinction between nouns and verbs is marked (by utterance position and movement size) and thus present in all groups–even homesigners, who have invented their systems without a conventional language model. However, there is also evidence of emerging crosslinguistic variation in whether a base hand is used to mark the noun-verb contrast. Finally, variation in how movement repetition and base hand are used across Nicaraguan groups offers insight into the pressures that influence the development of a linguistic system. Specifically, early signers of NSL use movement repetition and base hand in ways similar to homesigners but different from signers who entered the NSL community more recently, suggesting that intergenerational transmission to new learners (not just sharing a language with a community) plays a key role in the development of these devices. These results bear not only on the importance of the noun-verb distinction in human communication, but also on how this distinction emerges and develops in a new (sign) language.



Van der Hulst | Two Books

The following two books co-edited by Harry van der Hulst appeared recently:

Substance-based Grammar: The (Ongoing) Work of John Anderson, edited by Roger Böhm and Harry van der Hulst, John Benjamins

The Study of Word Stress and Accent, edited by Rob Goedemans, Jeffrey Heinz, and Harry van der Hulst, Cambridge University Press