Experimental evidence for semantic theories

Lecturer(s):Janina Rado (University of Tuebingen)
Type:Introductory Course
Section:Logic and Language
Time: 11.00-12.30 (Slot 2)
Room:EM 2.44


Psycholinguistic methods have long been used to test particular aspects of
syntactic theories (e.g., the "psychological reality" of gaps).
Recently investigations have also been extended to semantic phenomena,
especially to potentially ambiguous constructions, examining which
readings are preferred.  In some cases, however, evidence concerning the
interpretation process itself can be of great
interest as well, as it can be used to distinguish between theoretical
alternatives. In this course we will consider three examples: contrastive
focus, contextual restrictions on quantification, and bound variable
interpretations in general.  We will discuss how psycholinguistic data can
bear on the choice among the different semantic approaches.  After a brief
introduction into experimental techniques
and the relevant semantic assumptions, we will spend one session on each
topic, outlining the competing semantic analyses, reviewing existing
psycholinguistic evidence, and developing, in a highly interactive
fashion, new testable hypotheses and experimental materials to test them.

© ESSLLI 2005 Organising Committee 2004-12-01