Nominal Modification

The Research Training Group on Nominal Modification at the Goethe University Frankfurt

Home » Colloquium: Philippe Schlenker

Colloquium: Philippe Schlenker

On Tuesday, June 26 at 4pm in SH 3.104, Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS; New York University) will be giving a talk at the GK colloquium.

Gestural Semantics

Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS; New York University)

Experimental part with Lyn Tieu (Western Sydney University) and Emmanuel Chemla (LSCP, CNRS)

We argue that most of the typology of inferences in natural language (including implicatures, presuppositions, supplements, expressives and homogeneity inferences) can be replicated with pro- and post-speech gestures, i.e. gestures that fully replace or follow spoken words. In some cases, such as implicatures, this result is expected: if gestures introduce informativity scales, standard theories predict that they should trigger implicatures, and they do. In other cases, such as presuppositions, the result is unexpected for several theories, and highlights the need for a ‘triggering algorithm’ that can predict which part of a new informational content is treated as presuppositional. More generally, iconic gestures make it possible to create new words ‘on the fly’ while insuring that their informational content is immediately understood. This makes it possible to test instances of ‘zero-shot learning’ in semantics, and assess the productivity of rules by which new information content is divided among the various components of the inferential typology.

Schlenker, Philippe: to appear, Gestural Semantics: Replicating the typology of linguistic inferences with pro- and post-speech gestures.  Natural Language & Linguistic Theory.
Tieu, Lyn; Schlenker, Philippe; Chemla, Emmanuel: 2018, Linguistic inferences without words: Replicating the inferential typology with gestures. Manuscript.
Hope to see you all there!

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