Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

Degree Expressions and Polarity Effects (DegPol2020)

Organisator(en) Solt, Stephanie & Cameron Wilson
Veranstaltungsbeginn 09.03.2020, 09.30 Uhr
Veranstaltungsende 10.03.2020, 18.00 Uhr
Ort ZAS, Trajekte-Raum, 3rd floor

Description ^

On March 9-10, 2020, the Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS) in Berlin, Germany will host the workshop “Degree Expressions and Polarity Effects” (DegPol2020). 

Expressions of degree are often sensitive to the polarity of the environments that they occur in. Some degree modifiers are polarity items: as PPIs we find moderate-degree modifiers such as fairly, somewhat and their cross-linguistic counterparts (Nouwen 2013), as well as evaluative modifiers such as Catalan ben (Castroviejo & Gehrke 2015); NPIs include high-degree modifiers such as English all that (Israel 1996) and Japanese anmari (Matsui 2011). Other degree expressions show more subtle effects of polarity. As an example, high-degree predicates such as gorgeous and delicious are infrequent and are judged degraded – though not outright ungrammatical – in negated contexts (Morzycki 2012, Hoeksema 2018). Another focus of investigation is the phenomenon of litotes, and negative strengthening more generally (Horn 1989, 2002, 2010, 2017; van der Wouden 1996; Krifka 2007; Neuhaus 2016; Gotzner et al. 2018), where a negated scalar term takes on a stronger interpretation than the simple semantic one – for example the interpretation of not too bright to mean ‘rather stupid’. Finally, the positive and negative members of a pair of antonyms may behave differently with respect to the pragmatic inferences they give rise too, including scalar implicatures (van Tiel et al. 2018) and so-called ‘inferences towards the antonym’ (Ruytenbeek et al. 2017). 

The goal of this workshop is to provide a forum for discussion of the interaction of scalarity and positive versus negative polarity, from the perspectives of semantics, pragmatics, syntax and psycholinguistics. We invite abstract submissions for 40-minute talks (30+10) and posters on topics including but not limited to: 

  • Theoretical and experimental investigations of PPI and / or NPI degree modifiers and degree constructions 
  • Litotes and other forms of pragmatic strengthening of negated scalar expressions 
  • Implicatures of scalar / degree expressions in positive versus negative environments 
  • Pragmatic inferences generated by positive versus negative scalar antonyms 
  • Corpus-based investigations of polarity effects in the degree domain
  • The interaction of adjectival scale structure and polarity effects
  • Processing of scalar polarity items 

Invited speakers ^

  • Berit Gehrke (Humboldt University Berlin) 
  • Larry Horn (Yale University) 
  • Laura Neuhaus (Duden) 
  • Rick Nouwen (Utrecht University)

Organizers ^

  • Stephanie Solt (Leibniz-ZAS) 
  • Cameron Wilson (Leibniz-ZAS) 

Information for Presenters ^

Local Information ^