Monthly Archives: September 2019

Ren, Cohen Priva, and Morgan in Cognition

Our recent PhD graduate Jie Ren just published a paper in Cognition with Uriel Cohen Priva and Jim Morgan. They argue that the argument that the lexicon is underspecified is not robust enough to show in the task types they were using: Speakers were as willing to accept /t/ for /k/ as /k/ for /t/.

Cohen Priva and Sanker paper at LabPhon

Uriel Cohen Priva and Chelsea Sanker have just had their paper published in LabPhon. They show that the using difference-in-difference to measure convergence, though convenient and frequently used, should ultimately be avoided in most situations: Speakers whose performance is close to the mean of the distribution or to their interlocutors are likely to be seen as divergent, and speakers whose performance is far from the mean are likely to appear as convergent. Both effects can lead to finding false evidence for individual differences in convergence.


Fall 2019 Speaker Schedule

Date Speaker Title
9/4/2019 First day of classes
9/18/2019 Stefan Kaufmann (UConn) How fake is fake Past?
10/2/2019 Lisa Davidson (NYU) The link between syllabic nasals and glottal stops in American English
10/16/2019 Jeff Mielke (NC State) Phonetic studies of vowels in two endangered languages
10/23/2019 Uriel Cohen Priva (Brown) Understanding lenition through its causal structure
10/30/2019 Joshua Hartshorne (Boston College) Critical periods in language, cognitive development, and massive online experiments
11/7/2019 (Thursday at 10am) Judith Kroll (UC Irvine) The fate of the native language in second language learning: A new hypothesis about bilingualism, mind, and brain
11/13/2019 Kate Lindsey (BU) (cancelled) TBD
11/20/2019 Daniel Altshuler (Hampshire College) Causal reasoning about states
11/27/2019 Thanksgiving recess
12/4/2019 Roman Feiman (Roman) TBD

LingLang Lunch (9/18/2019): Stefan Kaufmann (UConn)

Stefan Kaufmann is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Connecticut. His main research interests lie in the area of semantics, pragmatics, and computational linguistics. For more information, his website is here.

How fake is fake Past?

English subjunctive conditionals have a Past or Past Perfect form on the modal scoping over the consequent (typically ‘would’ or ‘might’), which is echoed in the tense marking on the antecedent. This Past (Perfect) does not seem to have its ordinary temporal interpretation, as it even shows up when the constituents refer to future times. This phenomenon is known as “Fake Past” or “Fake Tense”. Much recent work on Fake Past concerns its relationship with temporal Past. There are two schools of thought on this issue: “Past-as-Past” approaches rely on models of branching time and interpret counterfactuals by “re-running” history from an earlier time at which the antecedent was still a possibility; thus the Past is not (entirely) fake after all. “Past-as-Modal” approaches assume instead that on its fake use, the Past is “redirected” from the temporal dimension in which it normally enables reference to different times, to the perpendicular modal dimension, now enabling reference to different worlds. A question that has not received nearly as much attention is how a theory of either stripe is to be integrated with an overall account of tense and temporal reference in conditionals, including indicatives. This paper argues that such a unified account can be achieved by extending Kaufmann’s (2005b) treatment of tense and temporal reference in indicatives to subjunctives. A significant amount of evidence for this analysis comes from observations on English and Japanese counterfactuals. I argue that despite the many differences between these languages, the basic tenets of the analysis carry over surprisingly well. Part of this talk is based on joint with Teruyuki Mizuno (UConn grad student).