LINGUIST List 24.1756

Fri Apr 19 2013

Confs: Pragmatics, Semantics/Canada

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <>

Date: 19-Apr-2013
From: Brian Buccola <>
Subject: Exploring the Interfaces: Implicatures, Alternatives, & the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface
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Exploring the Interfaces: Implicatures, Alternatives, & the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface Short Title: ETI 2

Date: 23-May-2013 - 25-May-2013 Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada Contact: Luis Alonso-Ovalle Contact Email: < click here to access email > Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics; Semantics

Meeting Description:

The McGill Syntactic Interfaces Research Group (McSIRG) will hold the second of three international workshops exploring the interfaces. This year’s workshop will take place May 23 - 25, 2013, at The Thomson House, located on the McGill University campus.

Research on generative linguistics has traditionally assumed a modular organization of the basic levels of linguistic representation: syntactic representations reflect sentence structure, morphological representations deal with word internal structure, phonological representations with the properties of the sound system, and semantics with meanings. In recent years, the connection between these modules (the so-called grammatical interfaces) has been subject to intense scrutiny. The McGill Syntactic Interfaces Research Group (McSIRG) (Profs. Alonso-Ovalle, Newell, Piggott, Schwarz, Shimoyama, Travis, and Wagner, in alphabetical order), funded by a grant from Quebec’s Fonds de Recherche Societé et Culture (FQRSC) (Programme Soutien aux Équipes de Recherche Grant 144646, principal investigator: Lisa Travis), has been actively engaged in the past years in the investigation of the properties of grammatical interfaces.

The research activity of McSIRG is organized around three axes:

- Axis I investigates the role of the representation of word structures at the interfaces.
- Axis II investigates the role of sentence structure.
- Axis III investigates the role of semantic representations.

Last year, McSIRG organized a workshop to probe into the current state of affairs of the topics investigated under Axis I.

This year, McSIRG is organizing a second, three-day workshop focusing on the topics investigated under Axis III. A central goal of Axis III is the investigation of the semantics/pragmatics interface: the relation between the grammatical modules responsible for the computation of literal (semantic) and non-literal (pragmatic) meanings. This topic has received great attention in the recent semantic literature through the investigation of the computation of a particular type of non-literal meanings, the so-called conversational implicatures, inferences that are drawn on the basis of literal meanings together with the assumptions about the rational behavior of speakers. In recent years, research on the computation of conversational implicatures has widened its traditional empirical domain by considering new data that challenges established views on the semantics/pragmatic interfaces. Probing into this new data has pushed forward a methodological shift that favors adopting experimental research methods in the study of pragmatics. The overall goal of the second McSIRG workshop is to evaluate the justification for these paradigm shifts.

Invited Participants:

Eight leading international researchers on the computation of implicatures and scalar particles have agreed to participate in the workshop:

Alan Bale (Concordia University)
Emmanuel Chemla (Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris)
Noah Constant (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Luka Crnič (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Bart Geurts (University of Nijmegen)
Brendan Gillon (McGill University)
Uli Sauerland (Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin)
Raj Singh (Carleton University, Ottawa)

Funding Agencies:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada:

SSHRC (Connection Grant 611-2012-0232; Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Principal Applicant)
SSHRC (410-2010-1264; Bernhard Schwarz and Junko Shimoyama, Co-Principal Investigators)
SSHRC (435-2013-0103; Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Principal Investigator; Bernhard Schwarz and Junko Shimoyama, Co-Investigators)

Fond Québécois de la Recherche sur la Societé et la Culture:

FQRSC (2012-SE-144646; Lisa Travis, Principal Investigator)
FQRSC (2013-NP-164823; Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Principal Investigator)

Page Updated: 19-Apr-2013