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Regular version of the site
The many facets of agreement

Lincom Europa, 2023.

Gender variation in Russian nouns
In press

Магомедова В. Д., Slioussar N.

Voprosy Jazykoznanija. 2022.

Book chapter
A matter of degree? The domain of wetness in a typological perspective

Reznikova T., Panina A. S., Kruglyakova V.

In bk.: The Typology of Physical Qualities. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2022. Ch. 3. P. 57-78.

Working paper
Language and Identity during Language Shift: The Case of the Republic of Karelia after 2018

Mariia Lapina, Daria Oleinik.

Linguistics. WP BRP. НИУ ВШЭ, 2022. No. 112.

Hana Filip Delivered Lectures at School of Linguistics

On October 13-17 lectures by Hana Filip, Professor of Semantics at the Department of Linguistics, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, took place at HSE. The event was organized by HSE School of Linguistics.

October 13

Lecture 1. Mass/count distinction: Three recent perspectives

In motivating the mass/count distinction, three perspectives have recently gained prominence. The first relies on the notion of vagueness of mass concepts/nouns, which prevents their use in counting (constructions). The second perspective focuses on non-overlap. Count nouns denotations are built from (a partition of) non-overlapping generators (individuals that count as ‘one’), while mass ones are built from overlapping generators. Counting fails when generator overlap cannot be ignored. Finally, grammatical counting is taken to depend on atomicity relative to a context (i.e., what ‘counts as one’ in a given context). Semantic atoms differ from natural atoms (what is context-independently, inherently individuated): nouns like furniture, cat are naturally atomic, but only those like cat semantically atomic and countable. Count nouns like fence are not naturally, but semantically, atomic, as they denote sets of entities indexed for the context in which they count as one.

October 15

Lecture 2. Genericity and habituality

This lecture focuses on the hypothesis that linguistic means for the expression of characterizing (sentential) genericity (in the sense of Krifka et al 1995) undergo a process of grammaticalization, in contrast to kind-reference (also in the sense of Krifka et al 1995), which lacks any dedicated markers in natural languages. This provides a new independent formal argument for characterizing (sentential) genericity and kind-reference being distinct in the grammar of natural languages. To this goal, we will explore the properties of a class of markers that are variously labeled as habitual, frequentative, iterative (and the like) in traditional and descriptive grammars, showing that they resist classification as markers of tense and (imperfective) aspect, and instead exhibit properties that strongly suggest that they be best viewed as generic markers, i.e., markers of characterizing (sentential) genericity. This also provides further independent evidence in support of arguments made elsewhere that characterizing (sentential) genericity (including habituality as its special case) is a category in its own right. Given that the most typical semantic function of markers of characterizing (sentential) genericity is to encode weak descriptive generalizations, this also raises the fundamental question about whether a single unified analysis for all characterizing generics is possible.

October 16 

Lecture 3. Mass/count distinction: A supervaluationist approach

Starting with the discussion of the merits and problems of three recent approaches to the mass/count distinction, I will outline a novel analysis of the mass/count distinction, and its embedding within either a supervaluationist. While the notions akin to vagueness, semantic atomicity and overlap are needed to ground the mass/count distinction, no single notion is sufficient to fit the whole range of data, especially intra- and crosslinguistic variation in the mass vs. count encoding. This variation is tractable by treating it as following from the interaction of vagueness (in a certain-well-defined sense) with overlap (or non-disjointness), modulo contextual factors. We formally derive four semantic classes of nouns to motivate the range of form-denotation mappings in the domain of countability, which address the challenges faced by the three recent perspectives on the mass/count distinction.

October 17

Lecture 4. Aspectual classes and lexical aspect

This lecture explores the nature of aspectual classes, focusing on their grammatical reflexes and modeling in mereological terms, as well as with the tools of degree semantics. Aspectual classes are grammatically relevant, they correlate with certain grammatical properties of Vs, VPs, and Ss. The main focus will be on (i) the empirical grounding for lexical aspect, i.e., the classification of verbs into aspectual classes, and the way verbs of different lexical aspect classes are integrated into larger syntactic units; and (ii) the theoretical grounding of lexical aspect, and aspectual classes, in the theory of classical extensional mereology.

October 17 

Lecture 5. Grammatical aspect

This lecture deals with grammatical aspect in two core domains. The first domain concerns the (typological) question about what makes an operator perfective or imperfective. The main focus will be on so-called ‘perfective prefixes’, which have been identified as one of the key typological features of Slavic languages, most notably differentiating them from Germanic languages like German and Dutch, which also have rich systems of verbal prefixation, but without a predictable link to perfectivity/telicity. However, this view of Slavic prefixes is flawed, and has led to inadequate analyses of ‘perfective markers’ in other languages.  Starting from some widely shared common-sense ideas about what it means to be a formal member of a given grammatical category system, we will raise the typological question about what makes an operator perfective or imperfective. As a case in point, Slavic prefixes will be examined and shown that they are not markers of perfectivity,  Slavic perfectivization is generally a by-product of word building (derivational) processes, and a formal property of fully formed verbs, rather than of any of their parts. We conclude that Slavic aspectual systems saddle the border between the core inflectional and peripheral lexical/derivational systems, making them rather idiosyncratic representatives of aspectual systems. A major typological consequence of this proposal is that the prefixation systems in Slavic and Germanic languages are much closer to each other than is commonly assumed, neither has ‘perfective prefixes’ or ‘perfective markers’.