Week of November 15

Faculty Search

Our department is running an open rank job search for a phonology/phonetics position (see posting here).  The deadline is December 13, 2021.


Welcome Victoria Koc

Please join me in welcoming Victoria Koc, our new department administrator. Victoria is returning to administration at Harvard after a couple of years of working at a healthcare start-up. Be sure to say hi when you see her around, or you can find her in room 306. Victoria's Harvard email is pending and will be announced to the department when ready.


Language Universals Workshop 

Ethan Wilcox (Harvard University)

Title: "Using Presuppositions to Convey Novel Information"

Abstract: Presuppositions are the parts of meanings of utterances that are seemingly non-novel and backgrounded, and survive various entailment-canceling operations. They are introduced by individual lexical items called presupposition triggers. Some triggers can be used to introduce novel information into a discourse, while other triggers resist such usage, a phenomenon known as “informative presupposition” or variation in a trigger’s Contextual Felicity Constraint (CFC). Despite an abundance of recent quantitative work on presuppositions, this aspect of their behavior has received less attention via experimentation. I present the results of two studies testing the CFC strength of thirteen presupposition triggers in English. The results support a gradient approach to CFC strength with additive and iterative particles imposing the strongest constraints. Results are compared to previous proposals for CFC variation, and it is argued that none accounts for the full empirical picture.

Friday, November 19 | 12:00-1:30 pm | Sever Hall 102