Semantics at UCSC

Common to work in semantics and pragmatics at UCSC is a formal approach to theoretically relevant problems grounded in detailed investigation of empirical data coming from a variety of languages. A thread uniting the research of the faculty and students here is attention to both semantic and pragmatic factors with particular emphasis on understanding language in context. Research topics, theoretical tools and languages considered are quite diverse. Recent work by faculty and students working in semantics and pragmatics has involved, besides English, Amharic, Chinese, Hungarian, Romance languages, Mayan languages, Northern Paiute, Yoruba, and Zazaki. Topics currently investigated by faculty and students are distributivity, number interpretation, indefinites, propositional attitude predicates, affective language, noun phrase scope, and the semantics and pragmatics of polarity particles across languages. See the faculty members' and dissertators' websites below for more details.




Recent alumni (see allrecent)

  • Karl DeVries  (Google, Los Angeles) 2016, Independence Friendly Dynamic Semantics: Integrating Exceptional Scope, Anaphora and their Interactions
  • Oliver Northrup (Google, Los Angeles) 2014, Grounds for Commitment
  • Robert Henderson (Wayne State University), 2012 Ways of Pluralizing Events
  • Scott AnderBois (Rochester University), 2011 Issues and Alternatives 
  • Kyle Rawlins (John Hopkins), 2008 Concession, Conditionals and Free Choice
  • Peter Alrenga, 2007 Dimensionality in the Semantics of Comparatives
  • James Isaacs, 2007 Supposition in Discourse
  • Lynsey Wolter, 2006 That's That: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Demonstrative Noun Phrases
  • Christopher Potts, 2003 The Logic of Conventional Implicature
  • Christine Gunlogson, 2001 True to Form: Rising and Falling Declaratives as Questions in English
  • Ryan Bush, 2000 A Typology of Focal Categories
  • Chris Kennedy, 1997 Projecting the Adjective: The Syntax and Semantics of Gradability and Comparison
  • Theodore Fernald, 1994 On the Nonuniformity of the Individual- and Stage-Level Effects
  • Michael Johnston, 1994 The Semantics of Adverbial Adjuncts
  • Louise McNally, 1992 An Interpretation for the English Existential Construction
  • Chris Barker, 1991 Possessive Descriptions

Current visitors

Find a list of past visitors on the LRC website.

Groups and events

Research Groups

Recent Events

  • UCSC Polarity Workshop
  • California Universities Semantics & Pragmatics 1
  • California Universities Semantics & Pragmatics 2
  • California Universities Semantics & Pragmatics 3

Recent Seminars

  • Cross-Sentential and Intra-Sentential Evidence for Decomposing Quantification (Brasoveanu), Fall 2008
  • Attitudes and the Expressions They Embed (Into) (Anand), Fall 2009
  • Context Structure, Speech Acts and Discourse Particles (Farkas), Fall 2010

Artifacts from our work

  • inquisitive semantic depiction of classical disjunction
  • beanplot of normed acceptability judgements for epistemic modals pooled across doxastic, factive, and emotive factive contexts
  • Verification task image for the study of plurals in quantificational contexts: Is each baby in yellow playing with teddy bears?
  • Preferences for wide scope exhibited by 17 quantifiers in a corpus of LSAT logic puzzles (controlling for linear order and grammatical function)