Experimental Approaches to Verb Meaning

Course time: 
Tuesday/Friday 11:00 AM-12:50 PM
JSB 203

What is the representation of verbs and verbal meaning, and do experimental techniques shed any light on these questions? Experimental semantics is a relatively new domain which brings together longer traditions in theoretical and experimental approaches to meaning. This course will investigate the possible links between these two approaches with a focus on the semantic representations of verbs and their interactions with associated arguments and events. The course will primarily focus on how verbs are processed and represented in adult speakers, looking at data from judgment studies, behavioral experiments, and neuroimaging techniques. Theoretical and experimental readings will be paired as we explore the ways in which experimental studies do (or do not!) contribute to existing theoretical debates. Topics will include implicit and optional arguments, argument alternations, aspectual interpretation, and verb root ontology (e.g., manner vs. result types).