Category Archives: Lecture Notes

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Agreement and Memory (Christopher Hammerly, 5/11)

Agreement is weird. Agreement in English is especially weird, because we can’t seem to make up our minds about whether we want it or not (the answer is no, guys, come on, it’s not that hard). Making up our minds seems to be a common problem, though, especially when it comes to sentences like “The key to the cabinets is behind the sofa”. Chris Hammerly talks about why this sentence in particular is so often misconjugated.

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Attitude Verbs (Valentine Hacquard, 5/4)

When children are learning words, they acquire new words by noticing how words are used. This is all well and good, but when people use words like “think”, “want”, or “believe”, it can be hard for a kid to figure out a concrete relationships. While “want” is easy for kids, “believe” takes a long time to acquire. Researchers used to believe this has to do with when kids acquire the ideas (they believed kids took longer to understand different people had different beliefs), but new studies suggest otherwise. Read the slides or the notes below for more information.

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Dynamic semantics (Brian Morris & Mr. Rose, 4/13 & 4/27)

Semantics is the study of “what does that sentence even mean actually?”. Human languages aren’t great at being specific, so linguistics try to write the meaning of sentences in precise first order logic. But when those darn donkey sentences start messing everything up, we need something more…dynamic. Read lecture notes below or the slides for details (part 1 and part 2).

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