Description Program Videos Abstracts
Designed by Justin Moore ’15. Distorted spiral consisting of concentric circles, representing the constancy of change in language and meaning.

Meaning in Flux: Connecting development, variation, and change

Yale University, New Haven, CT

October 12th-14th, 2017



The connections between meanings and the way in which they are linguistically packaged and conveyed vary systematically within a speech community and change systematically over time.  Although many synchronic and diachronic patterns that instantiate such varying connections have been well described, understanding the cognitive and communicative motivations of such systematic variability and change would provide crucial bridging between and integration of the discourse-based, linguistic, conceptual, and cognitive components that are expected to support such meaning dynamics. This is the focus of the workshop.

Invited speakers:

Ashwini Deo, The Ohio State University

Lyn Frazier, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ray Jackendoff, Tufts University

Ann Senghas, Barnard College

Mandy Simons, Carnegie Mellon University

Sponsors: Yale Linguistics Department, Yale Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean’s office, NSF-INSPIRE (#1248100) grant to Maria Piñango (Yale), Ashwini Deo (OSU), Mokshay Madiman (UDel) and Todd Constable (Yale).

Scientific committee:

Hans Boas, University of Texas at Austin

António Branco, University of Lisbon

Kathryn Davidson, Harvard University

Ashwini Deo, The Ohio State University

María Piñango, Yale University

Petra Schumacher, University of Cologne

Heike Wiese, University of Potsdam

Eva Wittenberg, University of California, San Diego

Organizing committee:

Martín Fuchs, María M. Piñango, Sara Sánchez-Alonso, Jisu Sheen, Muye Zhang.


Videos of the talks can be accessed from here.

1.30-3.30p Registration
3.30-4.00p Welcome Remarks by Alan Gerber, Dean of Social Sciences

María Mercedes Piñango, Yale University

4.00-5.00p Semantic theory as the study of human concepts Ray Jackendoff, Tufts University
Session 1 
5.00-5.20p Do different types of cognitive effects reflect the diachronic stage of use conditions? Petra Schumacher, University of Cologne
5.20-5.40p Mind the generation gap: Differences between young and old in everyday lexical categories Anne White, University of Leuven

Barbara Malt, Lehigh University

Gert Storms, University of Leuven

Steven Verheyen, École Normale Supérieure

5.40-6.00p Meaning-making and signal change in the gestural communication of baby great apes Federico Rossano, The University of California, San Diego
6.00-6.30p Discussion 1 María Mercedes Piñango, moderator
6.30-8.30p Welcome reception


8.00-8.30a Breakfast
8.30-9.30a Connecting language acquisition and language emergence: Clues from Nicaraguan Sign Language


Ann Senghas, Barnard College
Session 2 
9.30-9.50a Acquisition of copula distinction in Venezuelan Spanish: a comparison study between children and adults


Fraibet Aveledo, University of Reading

Sara Sánchez Alonso, Yale University

María Mercedes Piñango, Yale University

9.50-10.10a The emergence of focus in a laboratory communication game Gareth Roberts, University of Pennsylvania

Jon Stevens, The Ohio State University

10.10-10.30a Discussion 2


 Lyn Frazier, moderator
10.30-11.00a Coffee break
Session 3
11.00-11.20a Reconciling the effect of freque​ncy on   Zara Harmon, University of Oregon

semantic extension in language            Vsevolod Kapatsinski, University of Oregon

acquisition and language change

11.20-11.40a Roles of meaning predictability in language production and learning Chigusa Kurumada, University of Rochester

Scott Grimm, University of Rochester

11.40-12.00p Discussion 3 Muye Zhang, moderator
12.00-1.00p Lunch


Bridging the gap: bringing concepts into content Mandy Simons, Carnegie Mellon University
2.00-2.15p Break
Session 4
2.15-2.35p Why looking for a blue triangle is different in English than in Spanish Paula Rubio-Fernandez, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2.35-2.55p Schematic motivation, constructions and prototypicality in discourse.  From FILL to PAY in Ancient Greek Georgios Ioannou, Universidad de Chile
2.55-3.15p The verbatim-access effect: Implicature interpretation in context Muffy Siegel, University of Pennsylvania

Hezekiah Akiva Bacovcin, University of Pennsylvania

Jérémy Zehr, University of Pennsylvania

Lynne Steuerle Schofield, Swarthmore College

Florian Schwarz, University of Pennsylvania

3.15-3.45p Discussion 4 Sara Sánchez Alonso, moderator
3.45-4.15p Coffee break
Session 5
4.15-4.35p When one must learn multiple meanings for one word: Learning polysemy Sammy Floyd, Princeton University

Charlotte Jeppsen, Princeton University

Sarah Reid, Princeton University

Adele Goldberg, Princeton University

4.35-4.55p ‘Cutting’, ‘tearing’, and ‘breaking’ in Mandarin, Tzeltal, and Tamil child language Jidong Chen, California State University, Fresno

Bhuvana Narasimhan, University of Colorado, Boulder

Penelope Brown, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

4.55-5.15p Finding the way: The role of language in isolating motion event components in non-linguistic events Roberta Golinkoff, University of Delaware

Haruka Konishi, Michigan State University

Natalie Brezack, University of Chicago

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University

5.15-5.45p Discussion 5 Ann Senghas, moderator
7.00-10.00p Suggested activity Harvest celebration & Contra dance:
8.00-8.30a Breakfast
8.30-9.30a Blending, unblending and the rise of uninterpretable features Lyn Frazier, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Session 6
9.30-9.50a How communicative contexts affect meaning change and pragmaticalization: The register-dependent development of the German particle so Kathleen Schumann, University of Potsdam
9.50-10.10a Then too… Benjamin Slade, The University of Utah

Aniko Csirmaz, The University of Utah

10.10-10.30a On the development of adverbial prospective clauses Lukasz Jedrzejowski, University of Cologne
10.30-11.00a Discussion 6 Ashwini Deo, moderator
11.00-11.30a Coffee break
Session 7
11.30-11.50a Embedded V2 is anti-licensed by discourse familiarity Spencer Caplan, University of Pennsylvania

Kajsa Djärv, University of Pennsylvania

11.50-12.10p Non-native speaker identity influences pragmatic judgments Sarah Fairchild, University of Delaware

Anna Papafragou, University of Delaware

12.10-12.30p Factivity, definiteness, and clausal complementation Kajsa Djärv, University of Pennsylvania
12.30-1.00p Discussion 7 Ray Jackendoff, moderator
1.00-2.45p Lunch
Session 8
1.15-1.35p Cognitive constraints behind the unfolding lexico-semantic battle for Swedish PINK and PURPLE Susanne Vejdemo, The City University of New York, College of Staten Island, Queens College
1.35-1.55p Roles of prototypes vs. situation-based inferences in the learning of absolute gradable adjectives Crystal Lee, University of Rochester

Chigusa Kurumada, University of Rochester

1.55-2.15p GIVE in Vera’a Stefan Schnell, University of Melbourne
2.15-2.45p Discussion 8 Mandy Simons, moderator
2.45-3.15p Coffee break
Session 9
3.15-3.35p A formal semantic analysis of two types of locative-to-aspect grammaticalization paths Hongyuan Dong, George Washington University
3.35-3.55p Between zero and optional progressives: A case study across varieties of German Dankmar Enke, LMU Munich

Roland Mühlenbernd, University Ca’ Foscari Venezia

3.55-4.15p Discussion 9 Martín Fuchs, moderator
4.15-5.15p Fine-tuning the progression of grammaticalization paths Ashwini Deo, The Ohio State University
5.15-5.45p Workshop conclusion María Mercedes Piñango, Yale University
6.00-9.00p Party



Please register using this form before Monday, September 25, 2017.


pdf: meaning_in_flux_abstracts_2017

Link to Photo Gallery:

Meaning In Flux 2017 Photo Gallery (Yale Ling Dept Website)