Welcome to the lab!

Welcome to the Meaning and Modality (M&M) Laboratory at Harvard Linguistics! We are interested in understanding the uniquely human capacity for language, especially the ability to convey abstract, infinite, specific meanings across a variety of modes for natural language, including both speech and sign. Our work spans the subfields of formal semantics, pragmatics, syntax, bilingualism, language acquisition, and psycholinguistics in an effort to understand the relationship between linguistic meaning, language mode, language development, and human cognition.



Latest News

Aurore at ConSOLE 2018!

February 15, 2018
  • Aurore Gonzalez (poster): Countability Distinctions without Linguistic Cues

11/17 invited speaker: Emar Maier

November 17, 2017
Emar Maier (University of Groningen)
(Un)quotation and Attraction in Role Shift and Free Indirect Discourse
Friday, November 17 | 10:30am | 2 Arrow Street, Room 420 (Buzzer #427)
Abstract: Inspired by Schlenker’s (2003) seminal 'Plea for Monsters', linguists have been analyzing every occurrence of a shifted indexical by postulating a monstrous operator. I will show that Kaplan’s (1989) original strategy of explaining apparent shifting in terms of a quotational use/mention distinction offers a much more intuitive, parsimonious and empirically superior analysis of many of these phenomena. In this talk I focus on role shift in signed languages and free indirect discourse in literary narratives. The main ingredients of the formal analysis will be a semantics of direct quotation as event modification, and a pragmatic account of unquotation. On the empirical side I will discuss data from controlled elicitation tasks with DGS and NGT signers.

Kate and Annemarie at BUCLD 42!

October 31, 2017
  • M. Zhang, M. Piñango, K. Davidson (poster): The development of metonymic processing as the growth of context construal ability
  • A. Kocab, A. Senghas, M. Coppola, J. Snedeker (talk): The emergence of recursion: Evidence from Nicaraguan Sign Language and homesign
  • J. Ziegler, A. Kocab, J. Snedeker (poster): The effect of population size on intergenerational language convergence: An artificial language learning paradigm

Workshop: Introduction to sign language linguistics

August 21, 2017
Kathryn Davidson will be leading a three-day introduction to sign language linguistics, as follows:
  • Tuesday Aug 22, 1-3pm: focus on morphology (including agreement)
  • Wednesday Aug 23, 12-2pm (note the earlier time by 1 hr): focus on syntax and clause structure
  • Thursday August 24, 1-3pm: focus on phonetics, phonology, and psycholinguistics

The workshop will take place in Room 420 at 2 Arrow St (access into building using Harvard ID or else buzz #013)

Recommended readings:

  1. pp. 1-54 from Sandler, W., & Lillo-Martin, D. (2006). Sign language and linguistic universals. Cambridge University Press.
  2. pp. 279-368 from Sandler, W., & Lillo-Martin, D. (2006). Sign language and linguistic universals. Cambridge University Press.
  3. pp. 4-54 from Pfau, R., Steinbach, M., & Woll, B. (Eds.). (2012). Sign language: An international handbook (Vol. 37). Walter de Gruyter.

Workshop: A beginner's introduction to experiments

April 24, 2017

Aurore Gonzalez and Dora Mihoc will lead a beginner's introduction to conducting experiments. Topics will include: CITI training, IRB, experiment design, Qualtrics, Turk Prime / Mechanical Turk.

When: Tuesday, April 25, 3-5pm 

Where: 2 Arrow St, Room 408 (Buzzer #427 & #423)

Looking forward to seeing you there!