Is there any time for scope?
Seminar Winter 2014/2015


Course Information

Dr. Asad Sayeed
C7.2 Konferenzraum 2.11
Meeting times
Wednesdays 10:00-12:00 ct
asayeed at coli d0t uni hyph3n saarland d0t de
Course language

Goals of the seminar

NOTE: this time has been changed to 10-12 on Wednesdays. Otherwise, everything else is the same.

The answer to the question "Is there any time for scope?" could be "No, there is no time for scope", but the correct answer, "Yes, there is any time for scope", is ungrammatical in English, even though it ought to make perfect sense---after all, any time should be available for talking about scope. "Any" is a quantifier that can only "live" in the scope of certain other operators, but how this works is one of linguistics' most intractable puzzles.

This seminar focuses on the concept of scope in language. Scope is a kind of semi-invisible "action-at-a-distance" with effects that interact with syntax, semantics, and discourse. "Every child climbed a tree": does that mean that all the children climbed one tree?

We will touch on multiple aspects of scope: formal, theoretical, psycholinguistic, and computational/application-related, with a special focus on incremental processing (the "time" for scope). Students from all backgrounds are invited to take this course. However, a little bit of formal semantics or syntax background is recommended.

The seminar will consist of a small number of lectures by Dr. Sayeed, and then a wide range of papers will be offered for student presentations that should allow various interests to be covered. BSc and MSc students are welcome.

Mailing List

If you want to participate in the course, you have to sign up for the mailing list. Sometimes I will point out material this way, and I also encourage using the list for discussion purposes.

Requirements and evaluation

You are expected to do one presentation. Some of you will want to submit term papers for additional credit. Some of you will want an oral exam. The presentation and/or term paper should cover either a linguistic phenomenon relevant across languages or a particular general theoretical point. For the presentation, you can just present a single paper (in detail) if you like. I do not demand PowerPoint, particularly for theoretical work -- a handout and whiteboard presentation is perfectly good and in keeping with traditional style for theorists. You can approach me for topics and literature suggestions, just make an appointment by email.

Your participation in the presentations/discussions led by your peers is also important...

Calendar and readings

I will lecture for a few weeks, and then we will switch to student-led presentations/discussions. I may take up lecturing again if we run out of student presentations, but it will be in discussion group form. There'll usually be not more than one paper or book chapter to be read each week.

Date Topic
29.10.2014 Introduction to the course, organizational details. Motivations, getting to know each other. No readings required for this day.
The slides are available.
5.11.2014 More detailed characterization of quantifier scope presented by Asad.
Reading: First 27 pages of Ruys and Winter, stopping just before the section on "quantifying-in".
The slides are now available.
12.11.2014 More presentation by Asad. Wrapping up of Ruys and Winter, additional reading on negation scope.
Reading: All of Partee, here.
The slides are now available.
19.11.2014 Presentation by Christian Eisenreich. Reading: Champollion, 2011.
Presentation by Alina Karakanta. Reading: Lidz et al, 2003.
26.11.2014 Presentation by Noëmi Aepli. Reading: Scontras, Tsai, Mai, and Polinsky, in press.
Presentation by Aniko Kovač. Reading: Benmamoun, 1997.
03.12.2014 Presentation by Jakob Prange. Reading: Hacquard, 2013.
10.12.2014 NO MEETING, reschedule if needed
17.12.2014 NO MEETING, reschedule if needed
24.12.2014 NO MEETING, Christmas Eve so we will NOT reschedule if needed no way no how
31.12.2014 NO MEETING, New Year's Eve so we will NOT reschedule if needed no way no how
07.01.2015 Presentation by Tobias Meyer. Reading: Kallmeyer and Romero, 2006.
Presentation by Saskia Reifers. Reading: May and Bale, 2005.
14.01.2015 Presentation by Frederik Arnold. Reading: Koller, Thater, and Pinkal, 2010.
21.01.2015 Presentation by Hannah Seitz. Reading: Packard, Bender, Read, Oepen, and Driden, 2014.
28.01.2015 NO MEETING
04.02.2015 Presentation by Alena Vasilevich. Reading: McCawley, 1996. (Link to paper provided via mailing list.)
Presentation by Jana Ott. Reading: Baumann and Rathcke, 2013.
11.02.2015 SLOT AVAILABLE after someone chooses a slot on 04.02.2015.
SLOT AVAILABLE after someone chooses a slot on 04.02.2015.

The rest of the calendar will unfold as I gauge interest, student presentations are scheduled, and so on.

Suggested papers for presentation

This is a HUGE topic, so this is BY NO MEANS a comprehensive list. It's a small sample of what you would find in the literature. And I am very open to helping you find something that you might be more interested in, if you can't choose one yourself. This list may also grow over time. Some of these I may present myself if no one chooses them. You can also choose to present parts of a very long paper: I'm flexible.

Theoretical Formal/Mathematical Psycholinguistic Application-oriented and/or computational