Super Linguistics Colloquium Series

Spring 2021 Schedule

Note: If not indicated otherwise, talks will take place on Zoom. The time zone is Central European Time (Oslo local time). If you would like to attend the talk, please send an email to Pritty Patel-Grosz

Friday, January 22nd, 5.00pm – 7.00pm (please note that we start at 5pm sharp)
Gabriel Greenberg (UCLA), Patrick G. Grosz (UiO), Elsi Kaiser (USC), Christian De Leon (UCLA)
Title: A semantics of face emoji in discourse
In this talk, we argue that face emoji (😀,😟) are a part of multi-modal discourse and express emotional attitudes. We argue that they comment on the text that they accompany, and that they are more constrained - in semantically interesting ways - than one might initially expect. We hypothesize that they denote functions from individuals x (attitude holders), propositions p, and questions, Q to sets of situations in which the individual x holds an emotional attitude (e.g. happy or unhappy) about how the proposition p resolves the question Q.  The discourse contribution of an emoji is to add this denotation, as applied to a proposition typically expressed by the preceding clause, to the author’s discourse commitments. We argue that this analysis derives a range of interesting constraints, including [i.] positioning constraints of emoji with regards to the text that they accompany, [ii.] apparently direct interactions of emoji with lexical material in the accompanying text (including the scalar operator ‘only’), [iii.] and a range of apparent mixed-emotion uses of face emoji.
Friday, February 5th, 3.00pm - 5.00pm 
Robert Seyfarth (University of Pennsylvania)
Title: The Social Origins of Language
Despite their differences, human language and the vocal communication of nonhuman primates share many features. Both constitute forms of coordinated activity, rely on many shared neural mechanisms, and involve discrete, combinatorial cognition that includes rich pragmatic inference. These common features suggest that during evolution the ancestors of all modern primates faced similar social problems and responded with similar systems of communication and cognition. When language later evolved from this common foundation, many of its distinctive features were already present.
Friday, February 12th, 3.00pm - 5.00pm  
Artemis Alexiadou (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Leibniz-ZAS) and Uli Sauerland (Leibniz-ZAS)
Title: Meaning-First meets Super Linguistics
In a recent paper, we presented a Meaning-First approach (MFA) to grammar (Sauerland & Alexiadou 2020, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.571295). In this talk, we discuss the potential this view might have to generate perspectives and research questions for super-linguistic phenomena. The three relevant assumptions of the MFA are the following: i) complex thought-structure generation is independent of language and occurs in species other than humans, ii) humans can communicate thoughts by compression into an articulateable form, and iii) cognitive systems other than logical thought can (and do) intrude in the compression / articulation process adding a socio-emotive dimension. After introducing the MFA, we argue that phenomena involving different communicative modalities can easily be accommodated in the MFA because language-independent representations are central to it. Two specific applications of the MFA, we then discuss are a) an account of multi-modal code-blending as parallel compression (Branchini & Donati 2016, 10.5334/gjgl.29) and b) the interaction between ellipsis and the intrusion of socio-emotive content.
Friday, March 19th, 3.00pm - 5.00pm 
Paul Pietroski (Rutgers University)
Title: TBA
Friday, March 26th, 3.00pm-5.00pm
Sigrid Beck (Universität Tübingen)
Title: TBA
Friday, April 16th, 3.00pm - 5.00pm  
Sotaro Kita (University of Warwick)
Title: TBA
Friday, May 21st, 3.00pm - 5.00pm  
Emmanuel Chemla (CNRS)
Title: TBA
Friday, June 4th, 3.00pm - 5.00pm 
Valentina Colasanti (Trinity College Dublin - University of Dublin)
Title: TBA
Friday, June 11th, 3.00pm - 5.00pm 
Pritty Patel-Grosz (UiO), Matt Henderson (University of St. Andrews), Patrick G. Grosz (UiO), Kirsty Graham (University of St. Andrews) and Cat Hobaiter (University of St. Andrews)
Title: TBA




Autumn 2020 Schedule

Spring 2020 Schedule

Autumn 2019 Schedule

Spring 2019 Schedule


Naomi Francis
Published Jan. 13, 2021 7:04 PM - Last modified Feb. 15, 2021 9:38 AM