new paper on hierarchy effects

Keine, Stefan, Michael Wagner, and JessicaCoon, (2019). Hierarchy effects in copula constructions. Canadian Journal of Linguistics. [doi]

This paper develops a generalization about agreement in German copula constructions described in Coon et al. (2017), and proposes an analysis that ties it to other well-established hierarchy phenomena. Specifically, we show that “assumed-identity” copula constructions in German exibit both person and number hierarchy effects, and that these extend beyond the “non-canonical” or “inverse” agreement patterns described in previous work on copula constructions (e.g., Béjar and Kahnemuyipour 2017 and works cited there). We present experimental evidence to support this generalization, and then develop an account that unifies it with hierarchy phenomena in other languages, with a focus on PCC effects. Specifically, we propose that what German copula constructions have in common with PCC environments is that there are multiple accessible DPs in the domain of a single agreement probe, the lower of which is more featurally specified than the higher (see, e.g., Béjar and Rezac 2003, 2009; Anagnostopoulou 2005; Nevins 2007). We also offer an explanation as to why number effects are present in German copula constructions but notably absent in PCC effects. We then place our account within the broader context of constraints on predication structures.

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toward a bestiary of intonational tunes

Slides of a colloquium talk at Northwestern University, reporting on joint work with Dan Goodhue:

Toward a Bestiary of the Intonational Tunes of English
What is the inventory of tunes of North American English? What do particular tunes contribute to the pragmatic and semantic import of an utterance? How reliably are certain conversational goals and intentions associated with the use of particular tunes? While English intonation is well-studied, the answers to these questions still remain preliminary. We present the results of scripted experiments that complement existing knowledge by providing some data on what tunes speakers use to accomplish particular conversational goals, and how likely particular choices are. This research complements studies of the meaning and form of individual contours, which often do not explore alternative prosodic and other means to achieve a certain conversational goal; and it complements more exploratory research based on speech corpora, which offer a rich field for exploring which contours are generally out there, but are limited in that the true intentions of the speaker are often underdetermined by the context.

Our studies focus on three types of conversational goals, the goal to contradict (‘Intended Contradiction’), the goal to imply something indirectly (‘Intended Implication’), or to express incredulity (‘Intended Incredulity’). We looked at these three intents since their expression has been linked in the prior literature with the use of three particular rising contours: the Contradiction Contour (Liberman & Sag, 1974;  Ladd, 1980;  Ward & Hirschberg, 1985; Goodhue & Wagner 2018), the Rise-Fall-rise Contour (Ward & Hirschberg, 1985; Constant, 2012; Wagner, 2012), and the incredulity contour (Hirschberg & Ward, 1992). The results show a large extent of consistency in which strategies speaker choose to enact certain intentions, but also interesting variation. Especially the act of contradicting offers a rich set of intonational choices, and the observed data raises several challenges to our current understanding of how intonation works.

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allophonic variation and the locality of production planning

Colloquium talk at University of Maryland: Slides

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toronto intonation workshop

Slides on the intonational bestiary at the 4th Intonation Workshop at University of Toronto, reporting on joint work with Dan Goodhue

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semdial 2018 talk

Here are the slides of a talk on the intonational bestiary at the Workshop on Prosody and meaning at SemDial in Aix en Provence (also presented at Linguae in Paris on Nov 7), reporting on joint work with Dan Goodhue

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new paper about the processing of relative clauses

Andrea Santi, Nino Grillo, Emilia Molimpakis & Michael Wagner (2018) Processing relative clauses across comprehension and production: similarities and differences, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1080/23273798.2018.1513539

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new paper on light vs. dark [l]

Mackenzie, Sara, Erin Olson, Meghan Clayards, and Michael Wagner (2018). North American /l/ both darkens and lightens depending on prosodic context. Laboratory Phonology, 9(1)(13)

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dan goodhue to maryland

Daniel Goodhue, who defended his thesis this February, has recently accepted a postdoctoral position in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland. He will be working with Dr. Valentine Hacquard and Dr. Jeffrey Lidz at the intersection of semantics and language acquisition. The position begins in August 2018.

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two new papers on focus prosody

Vander Klok, Jozina, Heather Goad, and Michael Wagner (2018). Prosodic Focus in English vs. French: A Scope Account.Glossa: a journal of general linguistics  3(1): 71. 1-47 [DOI:]

Hamlaoui,Fatima, Marzena Żygis, Jonas Engelmann, and Michael Wagner (2018). Acoustic correlates of focus marking in Czech and Polish. Language and Speech, 1(20):44pp [doi]

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new paper on reconstruction and focus operators

Smeets, Liz and Michael Wagner (2018). Reconstructing the syntax of focus operators. Semantics & Pragmatics, 11(6):1–27. [doi]

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