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The LGSA is a student-run association for the linguistics graduate students at Rutgers University. We are a vibrant community with wide range of interests, and this is reflected in the variety of grad-student-led reading groups in our Department.

LGSA offices and contact details
President: Shiori Ikawa (shiori.ikawa [at]
Vice President: Meg Gotowski (megan.gotowski [at]
Treasurer: Chaoyi Chen (chaoyi.chen [at]
Secretary: Natasha Chemey (n.chemey [at]


Nadine Theiler Seminar

January 31 @ 10:00 am
Ungrammaticality from triviality: deriving selectional restrictions of attitude verbs It's commonly assumed that ungrammaticality is a syntactic notion and should receive a purely syntactic explanation. Yet there are many proposals appealing to squarely semantic considerations in order to account for certain cases of ungrammaticality. In this seminar meeting, we will first discuss one particular strategy that has been proposed for relating the semantic notion of triviality to ungrammaticality, namely the use of L-analyticity (Gajewski 2002, 2009). We will then zoom in on accounts that use L-analyticity for deriving the selectional properties of certain attitude verbs. The verb believe, for example, can embed only declarative but not interrogative complements: (1) a.  Finn believes that Tara called. b. *Finn believes whether Tara called c. *Finn believes who called. Building on an observation by Zuber (1982), we will derive these data from the fact that believe is neg-raising.

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Nadine Theiler Colloquium

January 31 @ 3:00 pm
Witness protection: A unified semantics for additive particles in assertions and questions The English additive particle also can appear in assertions and polar questions, but not in canonical wh-questions: (1)  Mary danced all night. a. John also danced. b. Did John also dance? c. #Who also danced? It has been suggested that when also appears in a wh-question, it triggers a so-called showmaster interpretation (Umbach, 2012), in which the speaker already has a certain answer in mind when asking the question. In this talk, I will challenge this generalization based on a previously unnoticed class of questions, which I call summoning questions. To account for the resulting more differentiated empirical picture, I will generalize Beaver and Clark’s (2008) QUD-based account of additive particles by lifting it to an inquisitive semantics setting (Ciardelli et al., 2019). This allows us to capture the contribution of also in assertions and questions in a unified way, while still accounting for its distributional restrictions.

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