Month: March 2022

Updated schedule

Here is an updated schedule of upcoming presentations:

3/31: Stefan Kaufmann leads the discussion of von Prince 2019

4/7: Muyi Yang leads discussion of Tellings 2021 “When if or when Specify Modals”

4/14: OPEN

4/21: OPEN

4/28: Muyi Yang SALT practice talk

Talk of interest on 03/11: Yimei Xiang (Rutgers)

The UConn Logic Colloquium will feature Yimei Xiang (Rutgers Linguistics) on Friday, March 11, 2:30-4:00pm. The talk will be held online. For login information, watch the email announcements or contact Stefan Kaufmann.

Relativized Exhaustivity: Mention-Some and Uniqueness

Wh-questions with the modal verb can admit both mention-some (MS) and mention-all (MA) answers. This paper argues that we should treat MS as a grammatical phenomenon, primarily determined by the grammar of the wh-interrogative. I assume that MS and MA answers can be modeled using the same definition of answerhood (Fox 2013) and attribute the MS/MA ambiguity to structural variations within the question nucleus. The variations are: (i) the scope ambiguity of the higher-order wh-trace, and (ii) the absence/presence of an anti-exhaustification operator. However, treating MS answers as complete answers in this way contradicts the widely adopted analysis of uniqueness effects in questions of Dayal 1996, according to which the uniqueness effects of singular which-phrases arise from an exhaustivity presupposition, namely that a question must have a unique exhaustive true answer. To solve this dilemma, I propose that question interpretations presuppose ‘Relativized Exhaustivity’: roughly, the exhaustivity in questions is evaluated relative to the accessible worlds as opposed to the anchor/utterance world. Relativized Exhaustivity preserves the merits of Dayal’s exhaustivity presupposition while permitting MS; moreover, it explains the local-uniqueness effects in modalized singular wh-questions.

The speaker also has a relevant manuscript on Lingbuzz:

Meeting on 3/10: Gan on perspective shift

On Thursday, March 10 from 12:45 to 1:45 in Oak 338, Eva Gan will lead us in a discussion of perspective shift across modalities, comparing role shift in sign languages with different types of perspective shift in spoken languages.

Eva encourages everyone to read the paper below before the discussion, but says it won’t be necessary to read it to follow along.

Maier, E., & Steinbach, M. (2022). Perspective Shift Across Modalities. Annual Review of Linguistics, 8, pp. 59-76.
Paper may be downloaded at this link: