Upcoming LUSH talks

The following speakers have been confirmed for the coming months.
If you wish to receive regular updates via email, please subscribe to our mailinglist. If you are interested in giving a talk, please send an e-mail to one of our organisers.

  • Miguel Santin (University of Groningen): Utrecht, November 21, 11:00 – 12:30
  • Renato Miguel Basso (Universidade Federal de São Carlos / Utrecht University): Utrecht, December 7, 13:00 – 14:30

Have a look at our previous speakers in the sidebar.


December 7, Renato Miguel Basso (Universidade Federal de São Carlos / Utrecht University)

We are happy to announce that on Friday, December 7, Renato Miguel Basso (Universidade Federal de São Carlos / Utrecht University) will give a LUSH talk in Utrecht. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Friday, December 7, 13:00 – 14:30
Location: Utrecht, Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)
Speaker: Renato Miguel Basso (joint work with Joost Zwarts)
Title: A semantic investigation of the Brazilian Portuguese preposition ‘em’


In its locative interpretation, the Brazilian Portuguese preposition ‘em’ covers some of the meanings of the English prepositions ‘in’, ‘inside’, ‘on’, and ‘at’. Since the spatial notions expressed by these prepositions are in principle different, ‘em’ presents an interesting empirical problem: how to characterize an item whose meaning overlaps with both ‘in’, ‘inside’, ‘on’, and ‘at’? In this talk, our main claim is that the interpretations of ‘em’ can be explained by working out the notion of “sphere of influence” (SOI).

In the first part of this talk we revise some possible explanations about the meaning of ‘em’, especially if this item can be considered ambiguous and/or vague. We will argue against these analyses and propose that ‘em’ is “indeterminate” with respect to the relevant interpretations. In the second part, we will show that an analysis based on a CONTACT-relation between FIGURE and GROUND is not sufficient to explain the locative uses of ‘em’, since this item cannot appear in all of the cases in which there is contact between FIGURE and GROUND, and it appears in some cases in which there is no such CONTACT. In the third part, we will expand on the idea of a SOI, and in section 4, we will revise the locative uses of ‘em’, and deal with its directional and temporal uses. We will argue that these uses can also be explained by the idea that ‘em’ denotes inclusion in the SOI of the GROUND.

November 21, Miguel Santin (University of Groningen)

We are happy to announce that on Wednesday, November 21, Miguel Santin (University of Groningen) will give a LUSH talk in Utrecht. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Wednesday, November 21, 11:00 – 12:30
Location: Utrecht, Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)
Speaker: Miguel Santin (joint work with Angeliek van Hout (RUG) and Monique Flecken (MPI))
Title: Means and results: change-of-state events in the memory of Mandarin, Dutch and Spanish speakers


Spanish differs from Mandarin and Dutch in how they verbally encode resultative events (i.e. events with resultant changes of state). While Mandarin and Dutch use resultative constructions to encode manner and result of actions together (e.g. in Mandarin: dào-măn ‘pour-full’, Chen 2016; in Dutch: vol-schenken ‘pour-full’, van Hout 1996), Spanish uses single verbs to encode either the manner or result (e.g., vertir ‘pour’ / llenar ‘fill’, García del Real, 2015). We investigated whether the use of different verbal constructions to encode results influences their representation in memory.

We compared how native speakers memorized event results in two experiments: Experiment 1 involved describing events shown in short videos (verbal experiment) and experiment 2 involved a non-verbal substitute task (non-verbal experiment). Participants saw 24 event-videos: resultative events in which objects suffered a change of state, and non-resultative events in which objects did not (n=12 each). Crucially, events were shown either as ceased (action came to an end at video offset) or ongoing (action still in progress at video offset). In a subsequent surprise recognition task, participants judged whether screenshots of the videos correctly depicted (as ceased or ongoing) the endings of the events they watched.

Results of the verbal experiment show that ceased resultative events had a positive effect on the recognition accuracy across languages groups. In the non-verbal experiment, Dutch and Mandarin speakers’ recognition accuracy of ceased resultative events was lower compared to Spanish speakers. We discuss that the habituation to use single verbs to express resultant changes of state boosted the representation of event results in the memory of Spanish speakers in the non-verbal encoding context.


Chen, J. (2016). When transparency doesn’t mean ease: learning the meaning of resultative verb compounds in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Child Language, 1–24.

García del Real, I. (2015). The Acquisition of Tense and Aspect in Spanish. Doctoral dissertation, Universidad del País Vasco.

van Hout, A. (1996) Event Semantics of Verb Frame Alternations: A case study of Dutch and its acquisition. Doctoral dissertation, University of Tilburg. Published in 1998 in the series Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics. Garland Publishing, New York.

October 22, Jos Tellings (UiL OTS, Utrecht University)

We are happy to announce that on Monday, October 22, Jos Tellings (UiL OTS, Utrecht University) will give a LUSH talk in Leiden. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Monday, October 22, 13:00 – 14:30
Location: Utrecht, Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)
Speaker: Jos Tellings
Title: The prosody of additives and the plurality of causation

Previous literature suggests that the prosody of additive particles (also, too) in English and German is determined by two factors: the information-structural status of the associate (Krifka’s 1999 “Contrastive Topic hypothesis”), and the linear order between the particle and its associate. In this talk I show that these generalizations are incorrect by considering a wider set of empirical data.

In the first part of the talk, I show that by considering all possible combinations of linearity and information-structural status, accented additives are more widely available than previously assumed.

In the second part of the talk, I consider additives that associate with clausal adjuncts, in particular antecedents of conditionals, and because-clauses. A crucial contrast exists between if-clauses and because-clauses in terms of their information-structural status, which has consequences for the interaction with additive particles.

On the one hand, it has been argued that because-clauses cannot be Contrastive Topics (Constant 2014), and why-questions require unique answers (Oshima 2007, Schwarz and Simonenko 2018). On the other hand, because-clauses can be combined using additive particles, and corpus searches reveal that it is very common to do so. This leads to the view that overt why-questions have different requirements than their covert counterparts.

October 11, Keren Khrizman (Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf)

We are happy to announce that on Thursday, October 11, Keren Khrizman (Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf) will give a LUSH talk in Leiden. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Thursday, October 11, 11:00 – 13:00
Location: Leiden, Wijkplaats 2 – zaal 5
Speaker: Keren Khrizman
Title: From Measures to Count Nouns: Numerical Measure Nouns in Russian

See attached PDF.

September 6, Elin McCready (Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokio)

We are happy to announce that on Thursday, September 6, Elin McCready (Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokio) will give a LUSH talk in Leiden. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Thursday, September 6, 11:00 – 13:00
Location: Leiden, Matthias de Vrieshof 2 (Room 0.06b)
Speaker: Elin McCready
Title: Honorifics and Social Meaning

This talk aims to consider one aspect of social meaning: the way in which relations of social hierarchy and power are expressed in language. Two main test cases are discussed. The first is honorific expressions, which are analyzed as contributing expressive content which has effects on the formality of the current discourse, as modeled using a real-valued register. The second case is slurs, which are viewed as invoking a complex of facts and attitudes relevant to power relations and subordination. Finally, a class of honorifics are considered which act similarly to slurs in their semantic/pragmatic effects; these effects are analyzed using default axioms based on social knowledge.

July 2: special LUSH event at Stavroula Alexandropoulou’s defense

We are happy to announce that on Monday July 2, 2018, 12.45 sharp, former LUSH organizer Stavroula Alexandropoulou will defend her dissertation, titled On the pragmatics of numeral modifiers: The availability and time course of variation, ignorance and indifference inferences. The defense will take place in the Senaatszaal of the Academiegebouw (Domplein 29) in Utrecht. The defense will be preceded by a special LUSH event of which you’ll find the program below. After the defense, from 13.45 onwards, you can congratulate Stavroula during a reception at the Academiegebouw.

Program for the special LUSH event (Janskerkhof 13, room 0.06, Utrecht):

  • 09:25 – 09.30 Opening
  • 09:30 – 10:15 Petra Schumacher – “Pragmatic functions of demonstrative pronouns”
  • 10.15 – 11:00 Chris Cummins – “More than ‘at most’: possible meanings of modified numerals”


May 22: Nadine Theiler (ILLC, University of Amsterdam)

We are happy to announce that on Tuesday, May 22, Nadine Theiler (ILLC, University of Amsterdam) will give a LUSH talk in Utrecht. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Time: 10:30 – 11:30
Location: Utrecht, Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)
Speaker: Nadine Theiler
Title: Choosing additive particles in wh-questions

While ‘also’ and ‘too’ are the standard way of signalling additivity in assertions and polar questions, in wh-questions, ‘else’ is prefered:

  • (1) Mary danced all night.
    1. John danced too. / John also danced.
    2. Did John dance too? / Did John also dance?
    3. #Who danced too? / #Who also danced?
    4. Who else danced?

It has been suggested that particles like ‘also’ and ‘too’ are only acceptable in a wh-question if this question receives a so-called showmaster interpretation: the speaker already has a certain answer in mind when asking the question. This is the case in (2).

  • (2) [Examiner during oral exam in history, after student has already given an incomplete answer:]
    Good, but what ALSO happened in 1776?

There is a certain class of questions—I call them summoning questions—that evades this generalization though. Summoning questions are typically directly posed to a group of people, with the aim of finding out which of these people have a certain property. As illustrated in (3), summoning questions can host ‘also’-type particles without giving rise to a showmaster interpretation.

  • (3) I’m getting an ice cream. Who also wants one?
  • (4) Who of you is also on Snapchat?

I will propose a generalized additivity presupposition that can account for the distribution of ‘also’/’too’ and for the way it interacts with showmaster and summoning scenarios.