Language Comprehension Lab presentations at SAFAL-1 and AMLaP

Our Language Comprehension Lab has four presentations this week, one at the First South Asian Forum on the Acquisition and Processing of Language (SAFAL), and three at AMLaP:

Ivano Caponigro is presenting at UC Berkeley

Faculty member Ivano Caponigro is giving a talk on “Logic and Grammar: Richard Montague’s Turn towards Natural Language” at the Working Group in the History and Philosophy of Logic, Mathematics, and Science at UC Berkeley on March 18, 2020.  Ivano will present some of the findings from the intellectual and personal biography of Richard Montague (1930-1971) that he is currently working on.

SemanticsBabble receives its 7th annual IAH grant

SemanticsBabble, the interdisciplinary discussion group on formal and experimental approaches to language meaning that is lead by Ivano Caponigro (Linguistics) and Jonathan Cohen (Philosophy), has just been awarded its 7th annual grant from the UCSD Institute of Arts and Humanities. The grant will help with inviting scholars and students from other institutions to present and discuss their current research on language meaning during the academic year 2019-2020.

TRELS fellowship for Linguistics Undergraduate Student

Claudia Duarte-Bórquez was awarded a Triton Research and Experimental Learning Scholarship (TRELS) for Spring Quarter, 2019. Claudia is working under the guidance of Justin McIntosh on a project documenting and describing San Juan Piñas Mixtec, an Oto-Manguean language spoken in Oaxaca, Mexico and in San Diego county. This project began in the context of LIGN 139, ‘Field Methods’, taught in the Spring 2018 in collaboration with Ms. Claudia Juárez, a native speaker of this language. This May, Claudia will present the results of her investigation in the 22nd annual Workshop on American Indigenous Languages (WAIL) at UC Santa Barbara. Her research project will also be showcased at UCSD’s Undergraduate Research Conference on May 18th. Claudia is an undergraduate Language Studies major in her final quarter at UCSD and has plans to attend graduate school to study documentary and descriptive linguistics. Congratulations, Claudia!!!

TRELS fellowship for a Research Assistant in Linguistics!

Mohit Gurumukhani, a Research Assistant in the Language Comprehension Lab, just won a Triton Research and Experiential Learning Scholarship (TRELS) award for Spring Quarter, 2019. Mohit is working under the guidance of Eva Wittenberg on a project that investigates the role of Hindi case-marking. While Mohit is a Computer Science Major, the training provided by the lab has uniquely qualified him to tackle a complex problem in linguistics. Congratulations, Mohit!

Prof. Eva Wittenberg co-edited the new special issue of “Linguistics”

Prof. Eva Wittenberg and her collaborator Dr. Andreas Trotzke edited a Special Issue that was just published  on the journal Linguistics.  It focuses on adjective order in Germanic languages from a variety of theoretical perspectives.


  • Andreas Trotzke and Eva Wittenberg: Long-standing issues in adjective order and corpus evidence for a multifactorial approach
  • Elnora ten Wolde: Linear vs. hierarchical: Two accounts of premodification in the of-binominal noun phrase
  • Kristin Davidse and Tine Breban: A cognitive-functional approach to the order of adjectives in the English noun phrase
  • Ermenegildo Bidese, Andrea Padovan and Claudia Turolla: Adjective orders in Cimbrian DPs
  • Sven Kotowski and Holden Härtl: How real are adjective order constraints? Multiple prenominal adjectives at the grammatical interfaces

Eva Wittenberg has a new paper in Cognitive Science

Eva Wittenberg has a new paper in Cognitive Science:
Ziegler, J. , Snedeker, J. and Wittenberg, E. (2018), Event Structures Drive Semantic Structural Priming, Not Thematic Roles: Evidence From Idioms and Light Verbs. Cognitive Science. doi:10.1111/cogs.12687
What are the semantic representations that underlie language production? We use structural priming to distinguish between two competing theories. Thematic roles define semantic structure in terms of atomic units that specify event participants and are ordered with respect to each other through a hierarchy of roles. Event structures instead instantiate semantic structure as embedded sub‐predicates that impose an order on verbal arguments based on their relative positioning in these embeddings. Across two experiments, we found that priming for datives depended on the degree of overlap in event structures. Specifically, while all dative structures showed priming, due to common syntax, there was a boost for compositional datives priming other compositional datives. Here, the two syntactic forms have distinct event structures. In contrast, there was no boost in priming for dative light verbs, where the two forms map onto a single event representation. On the thematic roles hypothesis, we would have expected a similar degree of priming for the two cases. Thus, our results support event structural approaches to semantic representation and not thematic roles.