Universiteit van Amsterdam

Events

Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.

14 September 2007, Workshop Optimality Theory and Interpretation

Date: Friday 14 September 2007
Location: Room K04, Bungehuis, Spuistraat 210, Amsterdam

This is the first of set of meetings researchers in the Netherlands and Germany on Optimality Theory and Interpretation are organising for keeping in touch about issues they are working on. Interested others are very welcome (please announce your attendance to henk.zeevat@uva.nl, also saying whether you are joining in for lunch).

Workshop: Optimality Theory and Interpretation

Amsterdam, 14 september 2007, Bungehuis, Spuistraat 210, room K04

11.00-11.45 Helene de Hoop and Monique Lamers
Object Fronting in Dutch: A Bidirectional Approach
11.50-12.35 Reinhard Blutner
Some Experimental Aspects of Optimality Theoretic Semantics
12.35-13.35 lunch break in cafe Scheltema, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 242
13.35-14.20 Henk Zeevat and Katja Jasinskaja
"And" as an Additive Particle
14.25-15.10 Petra Hendriks (with possibly Jennifer Spenader)
Pronouns in Bidirectional Optimality Theory
15.20-16.00 Henriette de Swart and Joost Zwarts
Article Use across Languages: An OT Analysis
16.00 until late drinks in Scheltema

Abstracts

Helen de Hoop and Monique Lamers
Object Fronting in Dutch: A Bidirectional Approach

Psycholinguistic research has revealed that there is a strong preference for sentences that begin with an animate noun phrase, both in production and perception. This principle, dubbed Animate First, has also been proposed in functional typology to account for cross-linguistic word order preferences (Tomlin 1986). Another well attested word order preference across the languages of the world is the preference for subject-initial sentences. Therefore, the question arises whether Animate First can in fact be derived from this other cross-linguistic tendency, namely Subject First. This is the question we would like to address in this talk focussing on the phenomenon of object fronting in Dutch. We will present the results of a rating study and a production experiment. Together, these results show that not only is Animate First a constraint that holds independently of Subject First, but also, that the findings are best analysed from a bidirectional perspective. That is, while the speaker takes into consideration the hearer's perspective when producing sentences, the hearer takes into consideration the speaker's perspective when rating them.

Reinhard Blutner
Some Experimental Aspects of Optimality-Theoretic Pragmatics

I will consider asymmetries between comprehension and production in connection with pronouns, reflexives and referential expressions, and I will consider the case of scalar implicatures in connection with quantifying expressions. The theoretical discussion will be concentrated on two different ways of interpreting bidirection. First, there is the presumption of bidirectional optimization as a psychologically realistic online mechanism. According to this online/synchronic view, speakers (hearers) optimize bidirectionally and take into account hearers (speakers) when selecting (interpreting) a referring expression. This contrast with the diachronic view of bidirection where bidirectional optimization takes place offline (during language acquisition) and leads to some kind of fossilizing the optimal form-meaning pairs. It will be argued that neither of these extreme views gives a complete fit to the empirical data when taken per se.

While it is obvious that fossilization phenomena are real to some extent it can be argued that a restricted online version of bidirection is correct: speakers optimize bidirectionally and take the hearer into account when calculating the optimal expression; in contrast, hearers normally do not take the speaker into account when calculating the optimal interpretation.

Henk Zeevat and Katja Jasinskaja
"And" as an additive particle

The talk underpins an additive analysis of the conjunction "and" and shows how this can deal with both the absence of a causal interpretation in "John fell and it was slippery" and the causal interpretation in "Well, John fell and he stepped on a banana skin". In this version of the talk, we will highlight the OT pragmatical analysis of discourse relations, one of the strongest arguments for analysing "and" as an additive particle.

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.