DGfS 2016 | 24.-26.2.2016

38. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft

Login |

Eingeladene Sprecher


Wir freuen uns, folgende Plenarsprecher auf der DGfS-Tagung 2016 in Konstanz begrüßen zu dürfen:

Lisa Cheng (Leiden Universiteit): Mittwoch, 24.2.2016, 9.30 - 11.30 Uhr

Causal wh & extra wh

Cross-linguistically, it is common to see that the counterparts of how and what can be used to express a causal reading. I take Tsai (2008) as a starting point, and I argue, contra Tsai (2008) and Stepanov and Tsai (2008), that the causal reading of how does not stem from its status as a sentential operator, but instead from its dependence on modality. I examine data from Mandarin and Cantonese and compare the causal reading of how with the reading of how come, and argue that though the how-causal questions have actuality entailment, they differ from how come questions in not having factivity.
In addition to how, I also examine the causal reading of what. I argue that the source of the causal reading differs from the source of the causal reading of how. In relation to this, I discuss reason-applicatives and its implication for causal what in languages like Dutch and German.

Louise McNally (Universitat Pompeu Fabra): Mittwoch, 24.2.2016, 12.00 - 13.00 Uhr

Semantic theory and computational experiments

In recent years there has been a very noticeable increase in the use of experiments with human subjects for the testing predictions made by linguistic theories or analyses. In this talk, I focus on the insights that can be gained through experiments involving computational modeling. Though such experiments might be criticized for having even less ecological validity than controlled experiments with human subjects, I argue that the very exercise of bringing together theory and concrete implementation can be extremely useful as a methodology for pushing research forward. I illustrate using examples from the recent, fruitful interaction of theory and experiment in the area of distributional semantics.

David Poeppel (Max Plank Institut / New York University): Freitag, 26.2.2016, 9.00 - 10.00 Uhr

Speech is special and language is structured

I discuss two new studies that focus on general questions about the cognitive science and neural implementation of speech and language. I come to (currently) unpopular conclusions about both domains. Based on experiments using fMRI and exploiting the temporal statistics of speech, I argue for the existence of a speech-specific processing stage that implicates a particular neuronal substrate that has the appropriate sensitivity and selectivity for speech. Based on a set of experiments using MEG, I discuss how temporal encoding can form the basis for more abstract, structural processing. The results demonstrate that, during listening to connected speech, cortical activity of different time scales is entrained concurrently to track the time course of linguistic structures at different hierarchical levels. Critically, entrainment to hierarchical linguistic structures is dissociated from the neural encoding of acoustic cues and from processing statistical relations between words. These results demonstrate syntax-driven, internal construction of hierarchical linguistic structure via entrainment of hierarchical cortical dynamics. The conclusions — that speech is special and language structure driven — provide new neurobiological provocations to the prevailing view that speech perception is ‘mere' hearing and that language comprehension is ‘mere' statistics.

Höskuldur Þráinsson (Háskóli Íslands): Freitag, 26.2.2016, 10.00 - 11.00 Uhr

Incomplete Acquisition and Language Attrition in Different Setting

In recent years, there has been growing interest in research on so-called heritage languages, i.e. languages that speakers typically acquire at home as children, sometimes incompletely, but use only to a limited extent since they are growing up and living in a society where another language is dominant. This paper reports on ongoing research on North American Icelandic (NAmIce), a heritage language still spoken to some extent in certain areas of Canada and the US but on the brink of extinction. The focus will be on selected syntactic phenomena, including V2/V3, reflexives, case marking and processing of syntactically complex structures. Most of the data on NAmIce were collected in recent field trips, using various elicitation techniques. Longitudinal data from extensive letter writing by speakers of NAmIce will also be considered since they provide an interesting perspective: Some of the writers started out as relatively perfect speakers (writers) of Icelandic but later show some signs of language attrition. The average age of the NAmIce subjects interviewed on the field trips was about 77 years and it turns out that in order to interpret their linguistic performance correctly it is necessary to compare it to that of speakers of “Icelandic Icelandicˮ of roughly the same age that were interviewed and tested using the same elicitation techniques. This way we have collected three different sets of data which make it possible to distinguish, at least to some extent, incomplete language acquisition, language attrition in a heritage language setting and “naturalˮ language attrition. This sheds an interesting light on “knowledge of language: its nature, origin and useˮ.