Within the fields of semantics, pragmatics, and the philosophy of language, I’m interested in cross-domain parallels (learning about one sort of semantic object by studying a similar sort of semantic object) and in the semantics-pragmatics interface (studying how compositional semantics can be extended to deal with non-truth-conditional content).
Specifically, my work involves the study of:
- degree semantics (the meaning of adjectives and equatives);
- event semantics (phenomena like pluractionality and distributivity);
- the semantics of paths and vectors (linguistically encoded spatial extension);
- implicature (semantic and pragmatic consequences of Grice’s quantity and manner maxims);
- evidentials (the ways languages encode sources of evidence);
- speech acts (the semantics and pragmatics of questions and exclamatives);
- the acquisition of semantics (how children acquire linguistic meaning)
- in progress: Explaining ‘EARLIEST’ [handout]
- revised for Semantics & Pragmatics: The semantics of emotive markers and other illocutionary content (not final) [handout]
- 2018: The semantics of many, much, few, and little. Language and Linguistics Compass, doi: 10.1111/lnc3.12269
- 2017 (with A. Brasoveanu): Evaluativity across adjective and construction types: an experimental study Journal of Linguistics, 1-67. doi:10.1017/S0022226717000123
- 2016: On a shared property of deontic and epistemic modals (preprint draft) Deontic Modality, eds. N. Charlow and M. Chrisman, Oxford University Press.
- 2015: Antonymy in space and other strictly-ordered domains Perspectives on Spatial Cognition, eds. M. Glanzberg, J. Skilters, and P. Svenonius, pp 1-33. [handout]
- 2015 (with L. Winans, N. Hyams and L. Kalin): Children’s comprehension of syntactically encoded evidentiality Proceedings of NELS 45, eds. Thuy Bui & Deniz Özyildiz, vol. 3 189–202.
- 2015: The Semantics of Evaluativity, Oxford University Press. [handout]
- 2014: Modified numerals and measure phrase equatives, Journal of Semantics 32, 425–475. [handout]
- 2014: The polysemy of measurement Lingua 143, 242–266.
- 2014 (with N. Hyams): The acquisition of syntactically encoded evidentiality Language Acquisition 21:2, 173–198.
- 2013 (with S. Murray): A semantic account of mirative evidentials SALT 23: 453–472. [abstract] [handout]
- 2013 (with N. Hyams and L. Winans): The effects of syntax on the acquisition of evidentiality BUCLD 37: 345–357.
- 2013: Similatives and the degree arguments of verbs Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 31(4): 1101–1137.
- 2012: On modal subjectivity UCLA WPL 16: 131–150.
- 2012: Group terms and the meaning of meet Ms., UCLA.
- 2012: Mirativity across constructions and languages CUSP 5, UCSD.
- 2011: Exclamatives, degrees and speech acts Linguistics & Philosophy 34(5): 411–442.
- 2010: Equatives, measure phrases and NPIs Amsterdam Colloquium 2009 Proceedings, 364–373. [abstract] [handout]
- 2009: A degree account of exclamatives SALT 18: 601–618. [abstract] [handout]
- 2007: Evaluativity and antonymy SALT 17: 210–227. [abstract] [handout]
- 2006: How many maximizes in the Balkan Sprachbund SALT 16: 190–207. [abstract] [handout]
- 2006: Pronominal vs. determiner wh-words: evidence from the copy construction CSSP 6: 355–374. [handout]
- 2006 Context, compositionality and calamity Mind & Language 21: 541–552.
- 2005: Different agreement morphemes for different agreement configurations: evidence from complementizer agreement in Germanic Ms., Rutgers University. [handout]
- 2005 (with M. Shatz): Do Numeral Classifiers Influence Similarity Judgments? Ms., University of Michigan.
This dissertation is a study of the roles played by degree modifiers — functions from sets of degrees to sets of degrees — across different constructions and languages. The immediate goal of such a project is a better understanding of the distribution of these morphemes and how they contribute to the meaning of an expression. More broadly, a study of the semantics of degree modifiers is of interest because it helps demonstrate parallels between the degree and individual domains.
- Linguistics 120C (Undergraduate Semantics 1) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 1 (Introduction to Language) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 8 (Language in Context) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 19 (Fiat Lux seminar: Gossip and facts across languages)
- Linguistics 120C (Undergraduate Semantics 1) [course website] [syllabus]
- Linguistics 165C (Undergraduate Semantics 2) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 200C (Graduate Semantics 1) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 201C (Graduate Semantics 2) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 218 (Mathematical Linguistics 2): Montague Grammar and Dynamic Semantics [syllabus]
- Linguistics 252 (Graduate Seminar: The semantics of wh-phrases, Winter 2009) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 252 (Graduate Seminar: The semantics of sums & scales, Spring 2010) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 252 (Graduate Seminar: The semantics and pragmatics of evidentials, Spring 2011) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 254 (Graduate Seminar: The acquisition of semantics, with Nina Hyams, Spring 2012) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 252 (Graduate seminar: The semantics of irreality, with Gabe Greenberg, Fall 2013)
- Linguistics 252 (Graduate Seminar: The semantics of speech acts, Fall 2014) [syllabus]
- Linguistics 252 (Graduate Seminar: The semantics of degree constructions, Spring 2016) [syllabus]
- October 16, 2017: I will give a talk at the New York Philosophy of Language Workshop.
- September 27, 2017: I will give the Faculty Keynote at the UCLA Humanities Welcome.
- September 22, 2017: I will give a talk at the University of Connecticut’s Logic Group.
- September 21, 2017: I will give a talk at MIT’s Ling Lunch.
- November 12, 2016: I gave a talk at the 6th Annual Cornell Workshop in Linguistics and Philosophy entitled “The semantics of attitude markers and other illocutionary content”.
- October 14, 2016: I gave a colloquium at the University of Arizona entitled “Conversational implicature in degree semantics”.
- September 24, 2016: I gave a talk at Philosophical Linguistics and Linguistical Philosophy (PhLiP) 3 entitled “Conversational implicature in degree semantics”.
- I’ve got a new book out entitled The Semantics of Evaluativity. Check it out here!
- Check out Barbara Partee’s phenomenal notes on various semantics topics here.
- Read the LSA’s advice on inclusive language here.
- See Ora Matushansky’s data on gender in linguistics here.
- Some guidelines from Columbia University about gender in the classroom can be found here.
- Read my advice on how to write linguistics papers, abstracts and grant proposals here.
- Rettymology Many people are curious about the etymology of my last name. It comes from Friuli, a region of north-eastern Italy where my father’s family is from. My Friulian relatives spell it Ret; the extra t was added when my great-grandparents emigrated to the US. The name itself comes from the word Raetia or Raeti, the pre-Roman name of the region and people (who were possibly Etruscan). The same root gives its name to a branch of (Gallo-)Romance languages, the Rhaeto-Romance languages, of which Friulian is a member.