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Semantic Uniformity and Diversity: Evidence from the Pacific Northwest

Semantic Uniformity and Diversity: Evidence from the Pacific Northwest
170 St. George St., Room 100
Time: Mar 28th, 3:00 pm End: Mar 28th, 5:30 pm
Interest Categories: United States Studies, Spanish & Portuguese (FAS), Slavic Studies (FAS), Psychology, Linguistics (FAS), Language Studies (UTM), Italian Studies (FAS), Indigenous, German (FAS), French and Linguistics (UTSC), French (FAS), Critical Theory, Comparative Literature (FAS), Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (UTM), Canada, Anthropology (UTM)
Lecture 4 (of 4) in the series Beyond Babel, by Lisa Matthewson, University of British Columbia

The Jackman Humanities Institute Program for the Arts on Translation and the Multiplicity of Languages is pleased to present a series of four invited lectures titled Beyond Babel

Lecture Four (of four)

Lisa Matthewson, University of British Columbia

Semantic Uniformity and Diversity: Evidence from the Pacific Northwest

Languages differ in meanings they are able to express (witness difficult-to-translate words), as well as, more interestingly, in the meanings they are grammatically required to express. While English requires tense information to be marked in every sentence, St'át'imcets (a Salish language spoken in British Columbia) allows tense to be absent, but instead deploys grammatical markers for the speaker's source of evidence for the information. In the face of such variation, the most interesting question of all is what, if any, semantic commonalities all languages share. In this talk I uncover some of the deep unity underlying surface diversity in the areas of tense and evidence marking, comparing English with several indigenous BC languages.

This event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the talk.  For further information, please contact the organizers, Professor Maria Cristina Cuervo, Professor Ana T. Pérez-Leroux and Professor Susana Bejar or the Jackman Humanities Institute, (416) 946-0313.

The other lectures in this series are:

  • Friday 7 February at 3:00 pm: Ianthi Tsimpli (University of Thessaloniki): "Aspects of Meaning in the Bilingual Mind"
  • Friday 28 February at 3:00 pm:  Andrea Moro (Institute for Advanced Study, IUSS Pavia) "The Boundaries of Babel: Notes between Brain and Syntax"
  • Friday 7 March at 3:00 pm: Anna Papafragou (University of Delaware): "Events in Language and Thought"

All will be held in the Jackman Humanities Building, Room 100.

Orgaized by the Department of Linguistics, UTSG.  Additional assistance has been provided by:

  • Centre for French and Linguistics, UTSC
  • Department of Anthropology, UTM
  • Department of Language Studies, UTM
  • Department of Psychology, UTM
  • Department of French, UTSG
  • Department of German, UTSG
  • Department of Italian Studies, UTSG
  • Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies
  • Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures, UTSG
  • Department of Spanish & Portuguese, UTSG
  • New College, UTSG
  • Victoria College, UTSG

Download flyer for this talk [pdf]

Download series flyer [pdf]


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