Workshop “Disjunction Days: Theoretical and experimental perspectives on the semantics and pragmatics of disjunction”

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Nicole Gotzner (SIGames, ZAS Berlin), Uli Sauerland (SSI, ZAS Berlin) and Maribel Romero (BiasQ, Universität Konstanz)

Time and Venue:
2 – 3 June 2016, Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS Berlin),
Talks in Trajekte-Raum (room 308, 3rd floor), Poster session in Room 403, 4th floor
How to get to ZAS!

Invited speakers:
Maria Aloni (University of Amsterdam), Stephen Crain (Macquarie University)

Nicole Gotzner (nicole.gotzner-Irgend ein

Aim of the workshop:
The favorite English word of all pragmaticists should be the disjunction “or”: So much pragmatic research is dedicated to conditions of use of the simple disjunction. Disjunction is so interesting pragmatically because its logical meaning is very prominent, but at the same time it cannot be used in most context without indicating some ignorance. “My husband has blue or brown eyes” would be an odd thing to say, because it suggests that the speaker is ignorant about her (or his) husband’s eye color. So the difference between the literal sentence meaning and the speaker’s meaning is very clear.
The emergence of experimental pragmatics incorporating precise semantic models and formal experiments has lead to much progress on the understanding of disjunction. This workshop provides a forum for the comparison of current, competing semantic and pragmatic theories of disjunction. Recent important theoretical contributions include the idea to build the alternatives into the semantics of “or” (Alonso-Ovalle 2006, 2008), accounts of free-choice “or” (Fox 2007) as well as various accounts of Hurford’s constraint (Singh 2008, Meyer 2013, 2015, Singh & Katzir 2013, Chierchia, et al. 2012, Fox & Spector submitted).
In addition, there are many strands of experiment based research that have contributed to our understanding of disjunction and that we hope to see represented at this workshop. Experimental work has probed the behaviour disjunction under embedding, in upward and downward entailing contexts (Schwarz et al. 2008, Chemla & Spector 2011), its interaction with focus (Chevalier et al. 2008) and cross-linguistic diversity (Davidson 2014). The greatest contribution to our understanding of disjunction has possibly been made by language acquisition research (Chierchia et al. 2001, Crain 2008, Su et al. 2013, Tieu et al. 2015, Singh et al. submitted).

Thursday, June 2nd 2016

Time Event
9:00 – 9:10 WELCOME
9:10 – 10:10 “Only The Dark Knight is free to choose” (slides)
Invited talk by Stephen Crain (Macquarie University)
10:10 – 10:50 “Conjunctive Disjunctions: Evidence for the Ambiguity Theory” (abstract)
Uli Sauerland & Kazuko Yatsushiro (ZAS Berlin)
10:50 – 11:10 COFFEE BREAK
11:10 – 11:50 “Anti-Free Choice disjunctions and obligatory ignorance” (slides)
Natalia Ivlieva
11:50 – 12:30 “Negated disjunctive statements: the Italian perspective” (slides)
Elena Pagliarini, Stephen Crain and Maria Teresa Guasti
12:30 – 14:00 LUNCH BREAK
14:00 – 16:00 Poster session with coffee in Room 403!
  • Children’s Knowledge of Disjunction (abstract)
    Haiquan Huang, Peng Zhou and Stephen Crain
  • What is or all about? (abstract)
    Mira Ariel
  • The distribution of issue-addressing follow-ups and the rise and fall of issues in discourse (abstract)
    Luis Vicente
  • (The lack of) evidential completeness in embedded disjunctions with a non-simple aspect (abstract)
    Karoly Varasdi
  • How monolingual children interpret disjunction in negative sentences in Turkish and in German (abstract)
    Vasfiye Geckin, Rosalind Thornton and Stephen Crain
  • Topic OR Focus, that is the question (abstract)
    Francesca Foppolo and Adrian Staub
  • A typology of repetitive(ly strong) disjunctions (abstract)
    Moreno Mitrović
  • Contextual licensing of exclusivity in disjunction (abstract)
    Balazs Suranyi and Istvan Fekete
  • Japanese alternative questions and a unified in-situ semantics for ka (abstract)
    Wataru Uegaki
16:00 – 16:40 “Symmetry, Pruning, and Brevity” (slides)
Marie-Christine Meyer
16:40 – 17:20 “A unified account of the distributive and free choice inferences of disjunction under modals” (slides)
Paolo Santorio and Jacopo Romoli
18:30 Dinner at Tapas y mas
Neue Grünstraße 17. 10179 Berlin-Mitte

Friday, June 3rd 2016

Time Event
9:10 – 10:10 “Disjunctions in state-based semantics” (slides)
Invited talk by Maria Aloni
10:10 – 10:50 “Strong Exhaustivity, Alternative Questions and Monotonicity:
Some thoughts on Cremers & Chemla (2016)” (slides)
Maribel Romero
10:50 – 11:10 COFFEE BREAK
11:10 – 11:50 “How basic is the notion of alternative? A diachronic typology of disjunction” (slides)
Caterina Mauri
11:50 – 12:30 “Turkish disjunctions and the morphological realization of exh(abstract)
Can Mekik and Raj Singh
12:30 – 14:00 LUNCH BREAK
14:00 – 14:40 “Embedded disjunctions and the Best Response Paradigm” (slides)
Anton Benz & Nicole Gotzner
14:40 – 15:20 “Exclusive disjunction: implicature or …” (slides)
Michael Franke & Bob van Tiel
15:20 – 15:40 COFFEE BREAK
15:40 – 16:20 “The interpretation of disjunction involving negative linguistic contexts in Mandarin Chinese” (slides)
Na Gao, Stephen Crain, Peng Zhou and Rosalind Thornton
16:20 – 17:00 “Disjunction under if(handout)
Elena Herburger
17:00 – 17:10 CLOSING REMARKS

Program Committee
Nicole Gotzner
Uli Sauerland
Maribel Romero
Maria Aloni
Stephen Crain
Jack Tomlinson
Kazuko Yatsushiro
Clemens Mayr
Marie-Christine Meyer
Andreea Nicolae
Anton Benz
Bob van Tiel
Yaron McNabb
Lyn Tieu
Jacopo Romoli