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

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!

Ethan at CogSci

July 19, 2021
Ethan Wilcox will be presenting a poster at CogSci 2021 (26-29 July) with the title "Using the interpolated maze task to assess incremental processing in english relative clauses" in collaboration with Pranli Vani & Roger Levy (MIT)

Giuseppe & Josh at SPP 2021

June 22, 2021
Giuseppe Ricciardi & Martin Joshua are going to present a poster with the title "Epistemic modality and the true nature of eavesdropping judgments" at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology (SPP) held online on June 28-July 2

Sara HCRP Grant

June 13, 2021
Sara received a grant from the Harvard College Research Program (HCRP) from the Dunwalke Fund for Undergraduate Research to conduct a summer project in the lab about triggers of differential object marking (DOM) in Persian, American Sign Language (ASL), Spanish, and Catalan.

Kate and Annemarie: grants for their work on representation of possibilities in emergent languages

June 13, 2021

Kate Davidson together with Annemarie Kocab and Jesse Snedeker (Harvard Psychology) received grants

- from the Dean's Competitive Fund for Promising Scholarship for collaborative work on "The Representation of Possibility in Language and in Thought: Evidence from Language Emergence."

- from the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Interfaculty Initiative for collaborative work on"The representation of possibility in users of Nicaraguan Sign Language and homesign."