The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Mini-course 11/1 @ Harvard: Lisa Matthewson (UBC)

We are happy to announce an extended visit with Lisa Matthewson, joint between MIT and Harvard. Lisa will teach a mini-course at Harvard this Thursday 11/1, details below.

Speaker: Lisa Matthewson (University of British Columbia)
Title: Finding semantic building blocks: Tense, aspect and evidentials 
Time: Thursday, November 1, 12-1:30pm
Location2, Arrow Street – Room 420

According to von Fintel and Matthewson (2008), semantic universals will likely not be found at the level of umbrella categories such as ‘perfective’ or ‘accomplishment’. Instead, we should search for semantic building blocks: smaller pieces of meaning, which recur cross-linguistically and combine in different ways. In this mini-course we explore building blocks in the areas of tense, aspect and evidentials. We explore traditional larger categories like ‘past’, ‘perfect’, and ‘inferential’, and we identify recurring atoms such as existential quantification over times, changes-of-state, and reliance on prior reports. We discuss the new perspectives on cross-linguistic comparison which result from this approach.