News at the workshop “Computational Models of Language Generation and Processing in Pragmatics” in Bochum

There will be many presentations by members at the workshop on Computational Models of Language Generation and Processing in Pragmatics, to be held at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, September 26th-28th, 2018.

On September 26th, at 11:10 a.m., Markus Werning from project BayesPrag@EEG will talk on Contextual modulation of telic and agentive components in the lexicon of nouns, followed by Sebastian Schuster and Judith Degen (project Pro^3), who will talk on Listener adaptation to variable use of uncertainty expressions. At 12:50 p.m. Michael Franke (also from project Pro^3) will talk on Rational predictive pragmatic processing. At 15:10 p.m. Anton Benz (project SiGames) will give a talk with the title Producing implicature of complex sentences, followed by Maria Spychalska (project ImplPer), who will talk on Temporal order, short-term memory and the processing of conjunctive sentences. At 16:50 p.m., Nicole Gotzner will talk on The role of prosody in pragmatic processing.

On September 27th, at 15:10 p.m. Christoph Hesse (SiGames) will talk on Giving the wrong impression, followed by Maria Spychalska, Viviana Haase, J. Kontinen, and Markus Werning, who will talk on Negation, prediction and truth-value judgments. at the AMLaP 2018 conference in Berlin

There will be several presentations by members at the AMLaP 2018 Conference to be held in Berlin, September 6-8. The conference is organized by member Pia Knoeferle (project FoTeRo)

On September 7th, coordinator Petra Schumacher (project InfoPer) will give a talk together with J. Knowles, A. Krott, and S. Frissonon on Processing Of Ad Hoc Metonymy.
In addition there will be several poster presentations. Mingya Liu (project SPOCC) will present a poster together with M. Xiang on Anti-Locality Effect Without Verb – Final Dependecies. Susanne Fuchs (project PSIMS) will present a poster together with Marzena Żygis and Kasia Stoltmann on Orofacial Expressions And Acoustic Cues In Whispered And Normal Speech. Oliver Bott (project CiC) will present a poster together with associate Torgrim Solstad and A. Pryslopska on Implicit Causality Affects the Choice of Anaphoric Form. Christoph Hesse and Anton Benz (project SiGames) will present a poster on Two mechanisms of scalar implicature in comparatively modified numerals. at Sinn und Bedeutung 23 in Barcelona

There are many contributions by members at Sinn und Bedeutung 23 (SuB 23) to be held at the Centre de Lingüística Teòrica at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, September 5-7, 2018.

On September 5, at 12:30 p.m. Carla Bombi from project ExQ in Potsdam will give a talk together with Mira Grubic, Agata Renans and Reggie Duah. The title of the talk is The semantics of the clausal determiner “no” in Akan (Kwa). At the afternoon, at 14:15 p.m., former intern Alexander Göbel will talk on Final Appositives at the Right Frontier: An Experimental Investigation of Anaphoric Potential.
On September 6, at 4:30 p.m. there will be a talk by Kazuko Yatsushiro, Ayaka Sugawara and Uli Sauerland on Effect of intonation contour on scope: evidence from Language Acquisition
On September 7, at 11:45 a.m. associate Stephanie Solt (ZAS Berlin) will talk on Not much: on the variable polarity sensitivity of ‘much’ words cross-linguistically, followed by a talk by Sophie Repp and Marlijn Meijer from project YesNo together with Nathalie Scherf on Responding to negative assertions in Germanic: On ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in English, Dutch and Swedish. At the same time there will be a talk by Erlinde Meertens, Sophie Egger and Maribel Romero (project BiasQ) on The Role of Multiple Accent in Alternative Questions.
In the afternoon, at 2:15 p.m, associate Stefan Hinterwimmer (Cologne) will talk on How to point at discourse referents: On anaphoric and bound uses of complex demonstratives.

In addition, there will be some poster presentations. associates Chao Sun and Richard Breheny will present a poster on Approaching scalar diversity through (RSA with) Lexical Uncertainty. Bob van Tiel from project MUQTASP will present a poster together with Elizabeth Pankratz and Chao Sun on Scalar diversity: a processing perspective. Berry Claus, Felix Frühauf and Manfred Krifka (project YesNo1) will present a poster on Negation and polarity-ambiguous propositional anaphors and, Patrick Elliott and Uli Sauerland will present a poster on Ineffability and Unexhaustification.

Three questions to intern Alex Göbel

From June 2018 to July 2018, Alexander Göbel is an intern in the project “InfoPer2: Processing speaker’s meaning: Epistemic state, cooperation, commitment“ at the University of Cologne, supervised by Petra Schumacher. Alexander is a third-year graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and his main research areas are in psycholinguistics and semantics/pragmatics.

Alex Goebel

Q1: How would you describe the topic of your dissertation in three sentences to your neighbor?
A: Actually I haven’t started my dissertation research yet, or am just about to, since the PhD programs in the US leave that for later, but my current plan is to work on accommodation. In laywoman terms, I’m interested in how people deal with situations in which they are missing information to interpret an utterance. So for instance when someone uses a pronoun like ‘she’ and you don’t know who ‘she’ is, when are you gonna complain and when are you gonna just go with it, and more importantly why.
Q2: What led you to apply for an internship in our program?
A: For one thing, it seemed like a great opportunity to do a research project over the summer and have a change in scenery, without too much need for adjustments since I’m originally from Germany. Then the InfoPer2 project that I’m associated with now is very much in line with my interests. I worked on German pronouns and perspective from a theoretical angle over the last school year in the US and the internship seemed perfect to tackle some of the issues that came up in an experimental setting.
Q3: Your internship has been running for a while now. How do you like it? Does it meet your expectations?
A: It’s been great! I really enjoy the working environment and my supervisor Petra (Schumacher) has really made me feel welcome and at home. I’m also making connections with people working on similar things. It’s a really pleasant way of getting work done that is just the right scope, so I definitely couldn’t be asking for more.

Internships in our projects available offers an Internship program for international doctoral students and early postdocs (up to three years past the Ph.D.) to join an project for periods of up to three months. This year’s application deadline is September 1st, 2018!

Applicants must choose a suitable host for the time of the internship in advance. Any PI of a current project in Germany is eligible to act as supervisor. Beyond meeting with the supervisor on a regular basis successful candidates will be offered additional support in the form of adequate workspace and access to equipment as well as funding for experiments. will fund the travel of the intern to and from Germany up to 1500€ and a stipend of monthly 1000€.

For more information about, an overview of participating projects and contact data of principal investigators visit:


Please submit a 2-page (maximum) personal statement including an outline of your ideas together with a working plan for the internship. Additionally, please provide your CV, sample writings, and two letters: one letter of commitment of the potential hosting institution in which the host commits to provide adequate workspace. In a second letter the potential supervisor needs to affirm that s/he will act as supervisor and hold at least weekly meetings with the intern and that s/he will provide access to equipment and funding for experiments.

All application documents must be submitted as a single pdf to ein The application deadline is September 1st, 2018 and applicants will be notified by September 30th, 2018.

Applications are evaluated and ranked by the steering committee of with respect to the following criteria: scientific quality, thematic matching of the proposal to the host project as well as diversity matters. at the 28th Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) conference

There will be several presentations by members at The 28th Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) conference, which will take place on May 18-20, 2018 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. coordinator Uli Sauerland (ZAS Berlin) will give a talk on Saturday, May 19th at 9 a.m. on “The Thought Uniqueness Hypothesis”.

Furthermore there will be four poster presentations by members.

On Friday, May 18th at the Poster session 2 (4:00-5:30), members Nicole Gotzner (SiGames, Berlin), Stephanie Solt (associate, ZAS Berlin) and Anton Benz (SiGames, Berlin) will present a poster on “Scalar implicature and negative strengthening in different types of gradable adjectives”

On Saturday, May 19th at the Poster session 3 (11:30-1:00), Nicole Gotzner will present a second poster together with Jacopo Romoli (Ulster) and Paolo Santorio (San Diego) on “More free choice and more inclusion: An experimental investigation of free choice in non-monotonic environments”

On Saturday, May 19th at the Poster session 4 (4:00-5:30), associate Stephanie Solt will present a second poster together with Jon Stevens (Ohio) on “Some three students: Towards a unified account of ‘some’”. A further poster will be presented by member Carla Bombi (ExQ, Potsdam) on “Definiteness in Akan (Kwa): familiarity and uniqueness revisited”.

Talk by PhD-student Carla Bombi from project “ExQ” in Potsdam

On May 8th, PhD-student Carla Bombi from project “ExQ” in Potsdam will present joint work with Lea Fricke (Graz), Edgar Onea (Graz) and Malte Zimmermann (Potsdam) in the SynSem colloquium. The title of the talk is “Exhaustivity in questions: Two pilot studies on interrogatives embedded under German wissen (know)”

Time and venue: 8th May 2018, 16.15 – 17.45; Potsdam Golm, building 14, room 0.32

The talk is concerned with sentences such as (1), containing an interrogative clause embedded under the factive “know”:
(1) Johannes knows which students failed.
The semantic literature disagrees as to what (1) means, concretely how much Johannes needs to know for (1) to be true: does he have to know of every student that failed that she failed? Or is partial knowledge sufficient? Is knowledge about the set of people who didn’t fail also required? As a result of this debate, a number of so-called “exhaustivity levels” have been posited in the literature, which capture the different conceivable readings of (1). Although there is a consensus that some notion of exhaustivity/completeness is required in this type of sentences, its exact source and the conditions under which it arises are still unclear. Elucidating the readings that are possible and as well as their sources is crucial for understanding the semantics of
(embedded) questions.
In this talk, we present the results of two pilot studies on German interrogatives embedded under “wissen” (“know”). In the first study, the availability of the different “exhaustivity levels” was tested for sentences such as (1) in a truth value judgement task. The second study investigates the sources of exhaustivity in (1). The hypothesis entertained is that two of the readings that have been posited for (1) (the so-called strongly exhaustive and intermediate exhaustive readings) arise as the result of a de re / de dicto ambiguity, i.e. a clash between the knowledege of the reporter of the sentence and the knowledge of the subject (“Johannes” in (1)).