November 24, 2015

Research Groups: Friday, November 27

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Phonetics/Phonology Group
Radu Craioveanu (Ph.D.) on a new phonetic/phonological analysis of recordings from North Saami.

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Language Variation and Change Group
Matt Hunt Gardner (Ph.D.) leading a software workshop on an introduction to R as used in variationist sociolinguistics.

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Semantics Group
Naomi Francis (MA 2014, now at MIT): "Positive polarity item modals and scope in negative inversion constructions."

Negative inversion (e.g. "Never have I seen such a majestic giraffe!") involves the preposing of a negative expression and obligatory subject-auxiliary inversion. Collins and Postal (2014) claim that the preposed negative element takes scope over everything else in the clause. I show that, while the negative expression does take scope over quantificational DPs, deontic modals "should" and "must", which have been argued to be positive polarity items (Iatridou and Zeijlstra 2013), are able to outscope it. I argue that a full account of modal scope in these constructions will have to involve a contrast in scope-taking abilities between deontic and epistemic modals, one that is independently needed to explain the behaviour of these modals in other environments.

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