My colleagues Ana Krajinović and Manfred Krifka are currently at APLL in Leiden to present our joint work on timitive structures in Oceanic, which have the shape it’s not good/it’s bad if… . Timitive modality is a category often found in Oceanic, which typically occurs in warnings (Watch out, you might fall!) or negative purpose clauses (You should take an umbrella, lest you get wet!). Download the poster here.
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.
I’m currently in Cologne at the small Vielfaltslinguistik Conference (Diversity linguistics). It’s great to see so much new and interesting work on lesser described languages. My own talk, on joined work with Manfred Krifka and Ana Krajinović, focuses on empirical methods in our MelaTAMP project. Our slides can be downloaded here: Vielfaltslinguistik.
Last week, I had the privilege of giving two talks in Konstanz. In the colloquium of the linguistics department, I talked about our latest research on counterfactual futures in Oceanic and what they tell us about tense and mood in our subject languages. Download the slides here: Mapping Irreality in Konstanz. Read the paper here: PrinceEtAlProceedingsLE2018.pdf.
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.
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.
My work in the Collaborative Research Unit on information density (ID) in Saarbrücken has made me think about the relation between grammaticalisation and ID. In an invited talk to Saarbrücken in April, I explored some of my ideas on this topic. You can find the slides here.
2017 was a year full of talks, so don’t be surprised if you won’t see me on the circuit as much during 2018. The last talk of that year was at the MPI in Jena, where I talked about some of the things you’ll see if you compare languages based on corpus data that you’re likely to miss if you look at grammatical descriptions. I had some incredibly inspiring conversations and hope to visit more often (maybe even in 2018).