Colloquiumfest: Rexhina Ndoci and Taylor Mahler

August 25, 2017
Friday, April 19, 2019 - 3:55pm to 5:15pm
103 Oxley Hall
Ohio Union Seal


Presenter: Rexhina Ndoci 
Title: The perception of good wishes in Modern Greek (QP1)

Abstract: In my QP1 I examine good wishes in Modern Greek as these are realized at the closing of conversations. Specifically, I seek to understand the role of well-wishing expressions, the importance that they have for native speakers, and/or their obligatoriness in the closing exchanges. I look at how interactants are perceived by female and male raters in their closing expressions when these contain (a) a good wish, (b) another leave-taking expression, and (c) a good wish together with another leave-taking expression. Perceptions are also examined along the dimension of the degree of familiarity between pairs of female or male interactants, namely, intimates, acquaintances, and strangers.



Presenter: Taylor Mahler
Title: The social meaning of utterances with projective content (QP2)

Abstract: Content which is understood as a commitment of the speaker despite being expressed in the syntactic scope of an entailment-cancelling operator is said to project (Chierchia & McConnell-Ginet 1990).  For example, a speaker who utters (1) can be understood to be committed to the content of the clausal complement, Obama improved the American economy, even though the complement is in the scope of negation:

(1) Anne doesn’t realize that Obama improved the American economy.

In this project, I investigate whether social characteristics of the speaker influence the projection of clausal complement contents. Participants on Mechanical Turk read utterances like (1), in which the complement expressed either a politically conservative or liberal political position. Each participant was told either that the speaker of the utterances was attending a meeting of Republicans or a meeting of Democrats.  After reading each utterance, participants rated the projectivity of the complement clause content. Politically conservative complements uttered by Republican speakers and politically liberal complements uttered by Democrat speakers received higher ratings than when these complements were uttered by Democrat and Republican speakers, respectively. Preliminary exploratory analyses suggest that this interaction is further influenced by social characteristics of the participants.  The type of predicate was also found to influence projection ratings: utterances with factive predicates like realize received higher ratings than those with non-factive predicates like think. Taken together with previous work suggesting that information-structural properties influence projection (e.g., Xue & Onea 2011; Cummins & Rohde 2015; Tonhauser 2016; Tonhauser, Degen, & Beaver 2018; Mahler 2018), these findings provide further evidence that projection is context-sensitive, showing that this sensitivity extends to social aspects of the context.  

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