Invited speakers

We are happy to announce the following invited speakers for Sinn und Bedeutung 27:

Mojmír Dočekal

Associate professor of the Department of Linguistics and Baltic Languages at the Masaryk University. Areas of interest are semantics, syntax, philosophy of language, experimental and applied linguistics.

Talk title: Neg-words, NPIs and speaker variation: experimental evidence from Czech.

Abstract is available here.

Nicole Gotzner

Director of SPA Lab at the University of Potsdam. Research areas are semantics, pragmatics and psycholinguistics, focusing on alternative-based phenomena.

Talk title: Adjective meaning at the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface.

The meaning of gradable adjectives is well described in semantic analyses but less is known about pragmatic reasoning involving adjectival scale-mates (e.g., < gigantic, large> ). In this talk, I present several case studies indicating that the semantic properties of adjectives affect pragmatic reasoning. The first part of my talk focuses on standards of comparison and the incremental computation of upper bounded meanings (Alexandropoulou, Herb, Discher & Gotzner, 2022). The second part presents experimental findings concerning the interpretation of negated adjectives, where valence and entailment patterns are shown to play a key role (Gotzner & Kiziltan, 2022; Alexandropoulou & Gotzner, 2022). Overall, these results highlight the interplay of semantic and pragmatic aspects of meaning in the domain of adjectives.

Pritty Patel-Grosz

Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Oslo. Interests of research are context dependent variables at the syntax-semantics-pragmatics interface, information structure, super linguistics.

Talk title: The search for universal primate gestural meanings.

Uli Sauerland

Head of the Research Area 4 ‘Semantics & Pragmatics’ at Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS). The central question of research is how people give meaning to sentences.

Talk title: The ‘Language of Thought’ predicts key aspects of language structure.

The meaning first approach hypothesizes that humans can from complex non-linguistic representations in a ‘Language of Thought’ independent of any external language used in communication.  Since the Language of Thought and external languages nevertheless seem closely related, one research program is to reverse engineer the Language of Thought from external languages. Three plausible components of the Language of Thought are logical conjunction, a part-whole relationship and an efficiency requirement excluding redundancies.  We show that several universal structural properties of external languages follow from these three components.