Seminar: Context Dependence in Language and Communication

Course numberLinguist 236 / Psychology 236c
MeetingsMon 2:15-5:05 pm, 380-381U
InstructorMichael C. Frank
Office hoursMon 1:00-2:00
InstructorChristopher Potts
Office hoursTue 11:00-12:00, Fri 2:00-3:30 &
by appointment

  Topic Reading/Reference
Apr 2 Course planning; Conversational implicature: an overview
  1. Grice, H. Paul. 1975. Logic and conversation. In Peter Cole and Jerry Morgan, eds., Syntax and Semantics 3: Speech Acts, 43–58. New York: Academic Press.
  2. Gibbs, Raymond W. and J. Moise. 1997. Pragmatics in understanding what is said. Cognition 62(1): 51-74.
Apr 9 Are conversational implicatures generated by the grammar?
  1. Breheny, Richard; Napoleon Katsos; and John Williams. 2006. Are generalised scalar implicatures generated by default? An on-line investigation into the role of context in generating pragmatic inferences. Cognition 100: 434–463.
  2. Stiller, Alex; Noah D. Goodman; and Michael C. Frank. 2011. Ad-hoc scalar implicatures in adults and children. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.
  3. Optional: Chierchia, Gennaro; Danny Fox; and Benjamin Spector. 2008. The grammatical view of scalar implicatures and the relationship between semantics and pragmatics. To appear in Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger, Paul and Portner, eds., Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. Berlin: Mouton.
  4. Optional: Horn, Laurence R. 2006. The border wars. In Klaus von Heusinger, Ken P. Turner, eds., Where Semantics Meets Pragmatics. Oxford: Elsevier.
Apr 16 Is implicature processing fast and automatic or slow and effortful?
  1. Huang, Yi Ting and Jesse Snedeker. 2009. Online interpretation of scalar quantifiers: insight into the semantics-pragmatics interface. Cognitive Psychology. 58(3): 376-415.
  2. Daniel J. Grodner; Natalie M. Klein; Kathleen M. Carbary; and Michael K. Tanenhaus. 2010. “Some,” and possibly all, scalar inferences are not delayed: evidence for immediate pragmatic enrichment. Cognition 116(1): 42-55.
Apr 23 How are “embedded implicatures” computed?
  1. Chemla, Emmanuel and Benjamin Spector. 2011. Experimental evidence for embedded scalar implicatures. Journal of Semantics 28(3): 359-400.
  2. Russell, Benjamin. 2006. Against grammatical computation of scalar implicatures. Journal of Semantics 23(4): 361-382.
  3. Optional: Geurts, Bart. 2009. Scalar implicatures and local pragmatics. Mind and Language 24(1): 51–79.
Apr 30 What is the acquisition course for implicatures?
  1. Papafragou, Anna and Julien Musolino. 2003. Scalar implicatures: experiments at the semantics-pragmatics interface. Cognition 86(3): 253-282.
  2. Barner, David; Neon Brooks; and Alan Bale. 2011. Accessing the unsaid: the role of scalar alternatives in children's pragmatic inference. Cognition 118: 84-93.
  3. Huang, Yi-Ting and Snedeker, Jesse. 2009. Semantic Meaning and Pragmatic Interpretation in 5-Year-Olds: Evidence From Real-Time Spoken Language Comprehension. Developmental Psychology 46(6): 1723-1739.
May 7 How does intonation contribute to implicatures?
  1. Büring, Daniel. 2007. Semantics, intonation, and information structure. In Gillian Ramchand and Charles Reiss, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Interfaces, 445–473. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Dennison, Heeyeon Y. and Amy J. Schafer. 2010. Online construction of implicature through contrastive prosody. In Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2010, Chicago, IL.
May 14 How do we make probabilistic inferences about meaning in context?
  1. Frank, Michael C. and Goodman, Noah D. in press. Predicting pragmatic reasoning in language games. Science.
  2. Benz, Anton. 2005. Utility and relevance of answers. In Anton Benz, Gerhard Jäger, Robert van Rooij, ed., Game Theory and Pragmatics, 195-219. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave McMillan.
May 21 How do we generate referring expressions in context?
  1. Dale, Robert and Ehud Reiter. 1995. Computational interpretations of the Gricean maxims in the generation of referring expressions. Cognitive Science, 19: 233-263.
  2. Golland, Dave; Percy Liang; and Dan Klein. 2010. A game-theoretic approach to generating spatial descriptions. In Proceedings of the 2010 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, 410-419. Cambridge, MA: Association for Computational Linguistics.
  3. Kehler, Andrew and Gregory Ward. 2006. Referring expressions and conversational implicature. In Betty J. Birner and Gregory Ward, eds., Drawing the Boundaries of Meaning: Neo-Gricean Studies in Pragmatics and Semantics in Honor of Laurence R. Horn, 183-200. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  4. Optional: Jäger, Gerhard. To appear. Game theory in semantics and pragmatics. In Claudia Maienborn; Klaus von Heusinger; and Paul Portner, eds, Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
May 28 Memorial day; no class
Jun 4 Student project presentations

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