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Semantics

Semantics is an active and growing area of the Graduate Center's Linguistics Program. Recent dissertations have investigated de se/de re interpretations of Icelandic pronouns (Reeves), interpretations of quantifiers in Japanese (Kobuchi-Philip), indexicals in English (Bevington). On-going research by students is on topics as varied as the individual/stage level distinction, aspect and intensionality in Japanese, the nature of causation, causative alternations, wa and ga in Japanese, interpretations of quantifiers such as few and many, conditionals, and the logics of conversation. A number of students are looking at the first and second language acquisition of semantic concepts.

In addition to the two semester introduction to formal semantics, advanced seminars are regularly offered. Recent seminar topics, reflecting the research interests of the faculty, have included reference and anaphora, aspect, questions, unaccusativity, and events. A student-initiated reading group studies foundational papers in all areas of semantics.

Faculty have a particular interest in how their work interacts with syntax, pragmatics, acquisition, and philosophy of language. Students are likewise encouraged to think about how areas as diverse as syntax, pragmatics, philosophy of language, acquisition, and processing might influence their own development.