We are happy to announce two talks by Julien Foglietti (Frankfurt) and Kathryn Barnes (Frankfurt) in the Semantics Colloquium.

The talk will take place on campus in IG 4.301.

Date: July 6, 2023

Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct


Julien Foglietti

Title: What’s in a last name? Semantics and experimental update


In this talk I will present further support to my proposal that last names used referentially carry a family membership presupposition. In the first section, I will walk us through the presupposition tests (Karttunen, 1973) applied to the use of referential last names. I will also introduce a new experimental design – inspired by Tonhauser (2012) – which will bring experimental support to my proposal.  In the second section of the talk, I will present the results of my previous experiments. These results show that; indeed, the notion of family membership is linked with how we use last names in referential expressions. Furthermore, these results will also open the question of how the content of the presupposition that I suggest is introduced by last names should be designed. This, along with other tricky examples will be discussed in the final section of the talk.


Kathryn Barnes 

Title: Ideophones as iconic mixed items


This talk outlines a semantic analysis of ideophones in German, such as plitsch platsch and holteridpolter, as iconic mixed items, combining both arbitrary descriptive meaning and iconic depictive meaning. These ideophones are therefore similar to expressive mixed items, such as cur or Köter, which combine at-issue descriptive and non-at-issue expressive meaning. The at-issue status of the two meaning components in ideophones can, however, vary according to various factors, as outlined in Barnes et al. (2022).  This analysis builds on the experimental work conducted by Barnes et al. (2022) on the at-issue status of sentence-medial adverbial ideophones in German, which showed that such ideophones were default non-at-issue, and provides an account for how said factors influence the at-issue status of ideophones. This iconic mixed items analysis could in future be applied to other combinations of arbitrary descriptive and iconic depictive meaning, such as in quotations, as well as classifier predicates and socalled “Spezialgebärden” or “idiomatic signs” in sign languages.