Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Particles: Bah!...

I find it kind of difficult to keep two blogs, one at work, one personal...So I have not written much here. Which is just as well, as I have been behind with lots and lots of things to do and very few done. So this is not a proper post, but a 'hang-in-there' post, wait for me, I will be back. Soon. I hope.

Tania Rojas-Esponda gave a talk last week at Nuance on questions under discussion and particles. The abstract is below, together with Tania's  short bio, requested by me. This post is simply a page to hang her slides and paper from, before she puts them in her own website.

QUDs and S-trees: Formal tools for reading between the lines in dialogue

A central premise in pragmatics is that additional information can be obtained from utterances by factoring in contextual cues, such as the goals of interlocutors. I will talk about the notion of a Question under Discussion (QUD for short), a question that is seen as guiding the moves of participants in discourse. By leveraging work from the semantics of questions, we can give formal characterizations of the structure of conversation and of speaker cooperation. I will illustrate a variety of ways in which QUDs are useful. These include ambiguity resolution, inference, and new avenues for understanding non-truth-conditional expressions, such as discourse particles.

Tania Rojas-Esponda's path started in mathematics (BA Princeton, Part III Univ. of Cambridge, MS Stanford). She later found a way to combine her formal skills with her long-standing passion for languages via the study of linguistics. Currently, Tania is a PhD candidate in the Stanford linguistics department. She has done research in semantics/pragmatics and in phonology. For her thesis, she is investigating formal approaches to understanding discourse particles.
(Cleo Condoravdi, Tania's co-advisor, joined us too)

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