News Mercator Fellow Ira Noveck has published a new book “Experimental Pragmatics: The Making of A Cognitive Science”

We are very pleased to announce that Mercator Fellow Ira Noveck has published a new book “Experimental Pragmatics: The Making of A Cognitive Science”. According to Ira, the book is designed to introduce Experimental Pragmatics to a wide audience (to anyone curious about pragmatics, i.e. utterance processing, cognition and communication) while also being useful to experts. It’s now been 14 years since Ira’s volume with Dan Sperber kicked off the field of experimental pragmatics as we know it. Much has happened since then, with Ira playing a leading role in these developments. We expect that his new volume will become the bible for the field of experimental pragmatics for many years to come.

Click to see the table of contents and other details!

Call for submissions to the workshop “The meaning of numerals: cognitive, experimental, and semantic perspectives”, March 27-28, 2019 at ZAS Berlin

On March 27-28th, 2019 the workshop “The meaning of numerals: cognitive, experimental, and semantic perspectives” will take place at ZAS Berlin. The workshop is organized by Anton Benz (SiGames, ZAS), Christoph Hesse (SiGames/BAPAGiD, ZAS), Stephanie Solt (ZAS) and Paul Egre (CNRS, Paris). Deadline for submissions is January 7th, 2019. More details and the call for papers can be found here! interns 2019

We are happy to announce that the Steering Board of has selected five outstanding early career researchers to visit an project in 2019.

  • Laine Stranahan, a post-doc at Harvard University, will join the project Pro3 in Osnabrück from January 8th to April 7th, 2019. Her research will be on “Modeling Listeners’ Online Adaptation as Bayesian Rational Belief Update”.
  • Amir Anvari, who is a PhD student at Jean Nicod Paris, will join the project PSIMS at ZAS Berlin from April to May 2019. He will work on the empirical and theoretical aspects of gesture semantics.
  • Sherry Yong Chen, a PhD Student at MIT, will join the project MUQTASP at ZAS Berlin from June 24th to August 31st, 2019. Sherry plans to investigate how Question Uner Discussion affects the interpretation of scopally ambiguous sentences.
  • Camelia Bleotu, who is a post-doc at the University of Bucharest, will join the project SiGames at ZAS Berlin from July to September 2019. During her internship she will investigate the acquisition of epistemic modal adverbs from a game-theoretic perspective.
  • Chiawei Wang, a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, will join the project InfoPer2 in Cologne from May 13th to August 4th, 2019. He plans to run a study on the German modal particle denn (then). at the GGS 2018 in Potsdam

There will be two contributions by members at the 44th Generative Grammatik des Südens (GGS) 2018 conference to be held at Potsdam University, October 4th to 5th.

On October 4th, at 11:45am, Lea Fricke, Carla Bombi, Malte Zimmermann and Edgar Onea (all project “ExQ”) will give a talk on Exhaustivity in German embedded questions: Experimental evidence. In the afternoon, at 2:15 pm, coordinator Uli Sauerland will give a talk with the title The Thought Uniqueness Hypothesis. intern Anne Therese Frederiksen started this week

Anne Therese FrederiksenThis week, intern Anne Therese Frederiksen started her internship supervised by Markus Steinbach, one of the Principal Investigators of the project “SignRef at Göttingen University. She has joined the group for the next three months. Anne Therese’s dissertation focuses on ‘Structural and Pragmatic influences in American Sign Language Pronoun Production and Resolution’. For her internship, she will be looking at how different factors influence pronouns in German Sign Language, DGS, compared to American Sign Language, ASL. 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.