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 the multiple modalities for natural language, including but not limited to 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

Yuhan and Kate at CLS

April 27, 2022

Kate Davidson and Yuhan Zhang recently returned from Chicago to present at the 58th annual conference of the Chicago Linguistic Society: Yuhan presented her work with Kate on "Competing de dicto terms reduce de re acceptability" (pictured) and Kate presented an invited talk on "Semiotic distinctions in compositional semantics".

Yuhan Zhang stands at a podium in front of a slide with pictures from the Disney movie Sleeping beauty (Aurore and a single prince, and then Aurore thinking about prince things)


Josh to Spotify

April 2, 2022
Josh Martin (PhD class of 2022) accepted a job to start this summer as a User Research Analyst witb Spotify - huge congratulations!!! And lucky us, he'll be working at the Spotify offices right here in Boston!

Lab at HSP 2022

March 22, 2022
The Human Sentence Processing (HSP, formerly CUNY) conference will have several presentations by lab members and friends of the lab, including a poster by Shannon Bryant on "Expectation as a predictor of pronoun acceptability in English prepositional phrases", a poster by Ethan Wilcox, Roger Levy, and Kate Davidson on "How anaphoric are presupposition triggers? Evidence from cataphora", and an invited talk by Kate Davidson on "A framework for parallel sources of sentence meaning".

MBB grant to Ankana

March 22, 2022
Congratulations to Ankana Saha, who recently received a graduate student award from the Mind, Brian, and Behavior Initiative at Harvard to support her participation in NASSLLI this summer at the University of Southern California! 

Lab at the LSA 2022

November 19, 2021
Several folks in the lab are giving presentations at the LSA this January: "Accounting for variability in the truth-evaluation of bare epistemic possibility statements" by Giuseppe Ricciardi and Josh Martin, "Privatives across phases: disambiguating the sources of adnominal modification," by Josh Martin, "Location, Location, Location: Anaphora selection in English locative prepositional phrases," by Shannon Bryant, "Narrow Scoping Content Question Items in Shifty Contexts: A Case of Surprising Non-Quotation in Uyghur," by Jack Rabinovitch, "Demonstrative Shift and Proximal Markedness," by Tess Monks and Kate Davidson, and "Depictive versus patterned iconicity and dual semantic representations," by Kate Davidson

Autumn on campus again

October 4, 2021

A recent beautiful New England fall day near our lab meant some turkey visitors, a bubble tea break, and urban breakthrough blooms 

A collage of 3 pictures: 2 turkeys, 4 students on an outside patio with a blue sky, and some orange flower among concrete

Dora to Canonical

September 28, 2021
Dora Mihoc (PhD 2019) has accepted a position at Canonical - a big hooray for open source, and huge congratulations to Dora!!!

Gunnar to Grammarly

September 7, 2021
Gunnar Lund (PhD 2021) has accepted a position as an Analytical Linguist at Grammarly - huge congratulations!!!

Tess and Kate and Gunnar at FoDS

September 7, 2021
Tess Monks presented work with Kate Davidson on "Demonstrative shift and proximal markedness", and Gunnar Lund gave an invited talk "From pluractionality to aspect" at Formal Approaches to Diachonic Semantics (FoDS). We're excited to be using experimental and theoretical methods to address questions in semantic change, a new topic area for our lab! 

Undergraduate summer projects

August 5, 2021
Congratulations to undergraduate lab members Mikaela Belle Martin and Sara Manning, who presented summaries of their independent summer research projects in today's lab meeting! Mikaela, who is conducting research through the SHARP summer research village program, shared an experimental investigation of bottom up and top down cues in sarcasm. Sara, who received an HRCP grant, presented experimental work on topics vs. specificity in differential object marking in Spanish. Fantastic job!