Upcoming talk by Florian Schwarz and collaborators at X-PPL: Two types of definites – cross-linguistic experimental study

On 11/07/2023 Florian Schwarz will be giving the following talk at X-PPL (https://www.comparativelinguistics.uzh.ch/en/events/x-ppl2023/program.html):

Florian Schwarz, Agata Renans, Hasiyatu Abubakari, Dorothy Ahn, Fenna Bergsma, Nattanu Chanchaochai, Reginald Duah, Imke Driemel, Ljudmila Geist, Mira Grubic, Sampson Korsah, Suet-Ying Lam, Cecile Meier, Yağmur Sağ, Ankana Saha, Radek Šimík, and Alexandra Simonenko (2023) Two types of definites – cross-linguistic experimental study

Abstract: Competing analyses of definites have taken them to encode uniqueness (e.g., Russell 1905, Strawson 1950) or anaphoricity (e.g., Christophersen 1939, Heim 1982). But recent evidence suggests that there are two types of definiteness markers across languages: one conveying uniqueness ‘weak article’ and one anaphoricity ‘strong article’ (e.g., Schwarz 2009 on German, Arkoh & Matthewson 2013 on Akan, among many others). Intuitive judgments regarding the two types of definites tend to be fairly subtle. More sophisticated empirical methodologies are needed to gain a more systematic cross-linguistic perspective. Following Schwarz (2022), we plan novel experimental studies on the two types of definiteness across 17 languages from 10 language families to shed new light on meaning variation in definiteness systems in a cross-linguistic perspective.