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, language acquisition, logic and psycholinguistics in an effort to understand the relationship between linguistic meaning, language mode, language development, and human cognition.


Latest News

M&M at CUNY 34

February 28, 2021

The following members of our lab will be presenting at the 34th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing (March 4-6th).

Short Talk: "How many response options in a TVJT? It depends" Yuhan Zhang, Giuseppe Ricciardi and Kathryn Davidson

Short Talk: "English locative inversions are not special in terms of their discourse function" Giuseppe Ricciardi, Rachel Ryskin and Edward Gibson


Mind Brain Behavior (MBB) Grants

February 8, 2021

The following lab members received grants from the Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative (MBB):

   -  Josh Martin and Kathryn Davidson received an MBB Research Relief Mini Award ($4,000) for their project "Comparing crowd-sourcing platforms for semantic judgments"

   -  Ethan Wilcox received an MBB Graduate Student Award ($1,260) for his project "Experimental and Computational Assessment of Presupposition Contextual Felicity Constraints"

M&M at LSA 2021

January 28, 2021

The following members of our lab presented at the 95th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA 2021). The LSA was hosted on January 7-10, 2021 and was held virtually.

Shannon Bryant, "Evidence from Oromo on the typology of complementation strategies" (talk)

Josh Martin, "D-linking and the semantics of wh-in-situ" (poster)

For her abstract, Shannon received second place in the Student Abstract Award. This is given to the top abstracts submitted to the conference by students. Congratulations, Shannon!

Kate at BUCLD45

November 25, 2020
Our lab director Kate Davidson participated in BUCLD45 with a joint work with Masoud Jasbi, Annika McDermott-Hinman, and Susan Carey on "Parents’ and children’s production of English negation" (M. Jasbi, A. McDermott-Hinman, K. Davidson, S. Carey).

Yuhan, Kate, Dora, and Giuseppe at ELM

September 10, 2020

Our lab will be well represented at next week's Experiments in Linguistic Meaning (ELM), which will be held online https://www.elm-conference.net/

Yuhan Zhang and Kate Davidson will be presenting a poster on 'De re interpretation in belief reports--An experimental investigation' (Poster session 1: Wed 16th at 1-2:30pm ET); Giuseppe Ricciardi will be presenting on 'Epistemic must p is literally a strong statement' (R. Riskyn, E. Gibson Talk, on Wed 16th at 2:30-3pm ET); Teodora Mihoc and Kate Davidson will be presenting a talk on 'Superlative-modified numerals and negation: A negotiable cost'  (Talk on Fri 18th at 5-5:30pm ET).

Shannon and Josh at SALT

August 20, 2020
Two student lab members presented work at Semantics And Linguistic Theory (SALT) 30 at (virtual) Cornell this week! Josh Martin presented a talk on "Wh-the-hell as a polarity-insensitive, speaker-oriented domain restrictor", and Shannon Bryant presented joint work with Diti Bhadra on "Situation types in complementation: Oromo Attitude Reports". 

Johanna and Masoud at CogSci

July 27, 2020
Johanna Alstott will be presenting a poster on joint work with Masoud Jasbi on "Lexicalization of quantificational forces in adverbial and determiner domains" at the CogSci 2020 virtual meeting this July. Check it out online!

Annemarie, Hande, and Kate at FEAST

June 18, 2020
Our lab will be represented in two presentations at next week's Formal and Experimental Advances in Sign language Theory (FEAST), which will be held online. Annemarie Kocab will be presenting joint talk with Kate Davidson and Jesse Snedeker on "The emergence of natural language quantification", and Hande Sevgi will be presenting a joint poster with Kadir Gökgöz on "To what extent does age of acquisition matter: Evidence from Turkish Sign Language (TİD)".