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Conference Information

Full Title: DGfS 2015 Workshop: Varieties of Positive Polarity Items

Location: Leipzig, Germany
Start Date: 04-Mar-2015 - 06-Mar-2015
Contact: Mingya Liu
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: In the past, the rich literature on polarity sensitivity mostly focused on negative polarity items (NPIs); positive polarity items (PPIs) were believed to be less impressive in number, productivity, and strength (Horn 1989:157). Recent literature, however, shows that PPIs are empirically just as robust as NPIs and raise theoretically intriguing questions at the interfaces between syntax, semantics and pragmatics. In this workshop, we seek to bring to discussion questions about:

1) Language-specific and cross-linguistic varieties of PPIs
2) Their formal modeling in different theoretical frameworks

Positive polarity is known to be highly language-dependent. Speaker-oriented adverbs such as unfortunately/leider act as PPIs in English and German, but their Czech correspondents do not (Junghanns 2006). Similarly, Zeijlstra (2013) argues that, unlike in English, the universal quantifier iedereen 'everybody' in Dutch is a PPI. This diversity challenges the plausibility of a unified account of positive polarity. One of the main theoretical debates in this respect concerns the nature of PPIs in relation to the better-studied NPIs. In Szabolcsi (2004), for instance, anti-additivity is as important for PPIs as downward entailment for NPIs. Another concern is the relevance of notions such as scalarity and scope to the modeling of PPIs within and across individual languages. Nilsen (2004) and Sawada (2011) analyze PPI modal adverbs like probably and Japanese minimizer PPIs like chotto/sukoshi 'a bit' by means of scales, but others propose alternate non-scalar approaches (e.g., Ernst 2009, Giannakidou 2011, Liu 2012, Iatridou & Zeijlstra 2013, Homer t.a.). While most PPIs can outscope negation, a promising research question relates to PPIs that ban negation altogether (see German *schon nicht / *nicht schon, Löbner 1999) and their modeling by comparison to inversely licensed NPIs (see Korean amwu-to 'anyone' in Sells & Kim 2006).

Our workshop will provide the ideal platform for such empirical and theoretical discussions, but also for experimental (see Saddy et al. 2004, Vasishth et al. 2008, Yurchenko et al. 2012), diachronic and computational
studies towards a better understanding of polarity in natural language.

Invited Speakers:

Vincent Homer (CNRS - Institut Jean-Nicod, Paris, France)
Osamu Sawada (Mie University, Japan)


Gianina Iordachioaia (University of Stuttgart)
Mingya Liu (University of Osnabrück)
Linguistic Subfield: Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Semantics; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics; Typology
LL Issue: 25.3147

This is a session of the following meeting:
Annual Meeting 2015 of DGfS (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft)

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