Out now: Counterfactuality and Past

My article on counterfactuality and past is out now, and it’s free to access. In 2011, while I was working on the Daakaka grammar, I looked at the system of TAM markers and asked myself how hard it would be to figure out their meanings. Manfred Krifka suggested I start working with branching time to account for the realis/irrealis distinction, which I did. Except that the distinction we find in the Daakaka system isn’t binary, but tripartite.

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MelaTAMP at LTC 19 in Poznań

Our project was represented with two papers in this year’s Language and Technology Conference in Poznań. Ana Krajinović presented joined work with colleagues from Vanuatu and Melbourne on community-led language documentation. She won the award for the best student presentation.

Annika Tjuka, in a joined paper with Lena Weißmann and me, presented our tag set for the MelaTAMP corpora with a focus on tagging habitual aspect: the fact that habituality or genericity can be a property of stretches of discourse larger than a sentence makes clause-wise tagging complicated.

Habituality in four Oceanic languages

Our article (with Ana Krajinović, Anna Margetts, Nick Thieberger and Valérie Guérin) is out now and currently available for free here. In this article, we talk about habitual aspect in four Oceanic languages and demonstrate how it is (or isn’t) typically expressed. Reduplication and imperfective aspect play a particularly prominent role, sometimes in combination with each other.

Mapping Irreality in Göttingen

I went to Göttingen last week to talk about modality, which is turning into a pleasant tradition. In my talk, I outlined the typological debate on the irrealis distinction, introduced the tripartite branching-time model that I think will help us the relevant cross-linguistic variation, and discussed how the same approach also sheds new light on some long-standing questions about the nature of modality, counterfactuality and epistemic necessity. You can find the slides here.

Complexity at the POS level

There was an interesting small workshop in Torun in April on Measuring Linguistic Complexity. When the call came out, I had just finished a preliminary overview on the previous literature on the topic and was ready to get cracking, so I got together with Vera Demberg to test our hypothesis that focussing on POS tags rather than the token-level annotations would give us more reliable results on syntactic flexibility. Our results are in the proceedings.