The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LFRG 12/1 - Peter Graff, Jeffrey Lim, & Sophie Monahan

Speakers: Peter Graff, Jeffrey Lim and Sophie Monahan (MIT)
Title: The Determiner Complexity Hierarchy (practice talk for LSA)
Time: December 1, 1:30PM-3:00PM
Location: 32-D831

We present experimental evidence for a hierarchy of complexity for possible denotations of determiners that goes beyond the traditional constraint of conservativity (Keenan and Stavi 1986). Conservative determiners obey the bi-conditional D(A,B) iff D(A, A?B) where A is the restrictor and B is the nuclear scope and thus only predicate over individuals in set A. Results from three online artificial determiner learning studies (N=454) are consistent with a hierarchy of learnability for determiners depending on the set they predicate over where (A?B)>(A-B)>(B-A)>(A?B)c. These results support a learnability-based account of the patterning of determiner typology and exceptions to Conservativity.

Upcoming LFRG meetings:
Dec 8: Luka Crnic, more on “even” and different kinds of intensional verbs