Dr. Keir Moulton - Keynote Speaker at WCCFL 35

April 11, 2017

The 35th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL) is taking place at the University of Calgary, April 28 - 30, 2017. Dr. Keir Moulton, Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at SFU, will be delivering the keynote on Sunday, April 30.

Read the abstract of Moulton's talk, titled A Defence of C-command, below, and visit the WCCFL website for registration information.

Barker (2012) reminded the field that the availability of non-commanded bound variable pronouns is so ubiquitous that a c-command requirement on any bound variable pronoun is suspect (see also Bach and Partee 1980, a.o.). Barker contends that scope is the operative requirement for quantificational binding, not c-command. While recent psycholinguistic work has found evidence that non-commanded pronouns are processed differently than c-commanded ones (Kush et. al. 2015, Cunnings et. al. 2015, cf. Carminati et. al 2002), the non-c-commanding quantifiers tested in these studies also fail to semantically scope over the targeted pronoun, hence they do not directly test Barker’s hypothesis. Using a combination of online and offline measures, we explore the processing of quantifiers that easily take scope over target bound variable pronouns but do not c-command them. Our results suggest that c-commanding quantifiers show a processing advantage for binding pronouns over quantifiers that merely take semantic scope over the target pronouns, suggesting that c-command is relevant either for the processor or perhaps the grammar itself.