DepositInterpretation of Bare and Demonstrative Noun Phrases in the Acquisition of Mandarin

Mandarin nominals may appear bare or non-bare in various positions with different interpretations. Questions arise as to how Mandarin-speaking children interpret bare nominals, given that bare nominals can have various interpretations. On the other hand, how do they interpret non-bare nominals, such as demonstrative nominals? This experimental study tested the interpretation of nominals among Mandarin-speaking children and adults and found that nominal types and age have significant effects on interpretation. The findings include the following. (i) Children distinguish between bare and demonstrative nominals by assigning more generic interpretations to bare nominals. (ii) Children, like adults, have both generic and existential definite readings for bare nominal subjects. (iii) A clear discrepancy exists between children’s and adults’ interpretation of demonstrative nominals. Children assigned a considerable amount of generic interpretation to Mandarin demonstrative nominals, which lack such readings in adult grammar. With respect to the non-target generic reading of demonstratives, individual analysis was conducted to further examine this finding. Via such analysis, correlations were found between the generic reading for demonstratives and that for bare nominals, which suggests that those assigning more generic reading to demonstrative nominals are more likely to assign this reading to bare nominals. In addition, as part of the experimental design, two variables are found to play a role in the interpretation of nominals: the presentation order of nominals and a property of the predicates. The overall findings accord with the research hypothesis and predictions based on the Nominal Mapping Parameter, the Semantic Subset Principle, and other studies.

Deposit“‘Let’s consult together’: Women’s Agency and the Gossip Network in The Merry Wives of Windsor“

In THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, a cozening knight and a jealous husband assume without question the availability of female bodies to adulterous liaisons, revealing their confidence in the cultural narrative of female inconstancy. Falstaff attempts to write a story in which he is the recipient of the wives’ sexual and economic favors. Ford, like Troilus, Claudio, Iago, Othello, and Leontes, is all too ready to believe such a story. But here, as Phyllis Rackin has reminded us, Falstaff and Ford become, respectively, “the butt of . . . jokes” and “the object of . . . neighbors’ ridicule” (Rackin 2005: 70-1, 63). This is in no small measure due to the merry wives’ refusal to allow Falstaff to “turn [their] virtue into pitch” (Othello 2.3.253). They reject Falstaff’s story, prohibiting him, in fact, from writing it. Appropriating Falstaff’s narrative for their own ends, they turn it back on him, wresting it away from male control. The wives are very clear about their narrative, asserting, “Wives may be merry and yet honest, too” (4.2.94). While the women wish to be seen as virtuous, and therefore as performing an appropriate early modern femininity, I argue that is less important than their refusal to allow Falstaff to determine how they are seen either in the social world of Windsor more largely or by their husbands at home. Regardless of the patriarchal underpinnings of their valorization of female honor, their desire to control their narrative, to occupy a position of simultaneous merriment and honor, constitutes a discursive shift that, as Judith Butler argues, constitutes the site of agency within a system of oppression that ought to prohibit such agency.

MemberGhazzal Dabiri

I hold a PhD in Iranian Studies from UCLA. My research focuses on narratives of power and holiness in medieval Islamic Iran. I am primarily interested in themes related to kingship, sainthood, social identity building, the supernatural, and  deal My interest in these narratives partly arises from their fascinating itineraries, which have taken them from the eastern Iranian heartlands in antiquity down to the pre-modern era and from the Balkans to Malaysia. I am currently working on a book project, which has the working title “God’s Kings: The Medieval Reception of Ancient Narratives of Kingship.” And I am also editing two volumes dealing with hagiographies across Eurasia. One, which has the working title, Imitatio Theclae, is on the literary reception of the Acts of Paul and Thecla and the other looks at how various hagiographers across the Indo-Mediterranean world narrated power and authority.   I am recipient of the following grants and awards: 2015, European Research Council fellow at Ghent University in Belgium; 2011, Fulbright Research Fellowship, Cairo, Egypt; and 2008, Honorable Mention for the Best Dissertation from the Foundation for Iranian Studies.   From 2008-2014, I was the coordinator of the Persian Studies Program at Columbia University where, in addition to teaching and mentoring students, I organized a successful lecture series which included talks by established and up-and-coming scholars, artists, film makers, and musicians. From 2006-2008, I was the director for the Persian Studies Program at California State, Fullerton which included a summer study-abroad semester in Yerevan, Armenia.   I have been a long-time member of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS) which is committed to bringing scholars from around the world interested in all fields related to Iran and the Persianate worlds, past and present. I served as its newsletter editor, secretary of the association, and member of the board of directors.

MemberVincent van Gerven Oei

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei received his Ph.D. in Media & Communications from the European Graduate School and Ph.D. in Modern Thought from the University of Aberdeen. He is a philologist and co-director of independent open-access publishing platform punctum books. He is a specialist of the Old Nubian language and co-editor-in-chief of Dotawo, the imprint of the Union for Nubian Studies. He also directs project bureau for the arts and humanities The Department of Eagles and is editor of the New World Summit. Van Gerven Oei’s recent publications include Cross-Examinations (MER. Paper Kunsthalle, 2015), and the edited volumes Beta Exercise: The Theory and Practice of Osamu Kanemura (2019, with Marco Mazzi) and ‘Pataphilology: An Irreader (2018, with Sean Gurd). His three-volume work Lapidari (punctum books, 2015) provides the first complete overview of socialist monumentality in Albania. As a translator, Van Gerven Oei works mostly with anonymous Medieval Nubian scribes and more recent authors such as Jean Daive, Hervé Guibert, Werner Hamacher, Dick Raaijmakers, Avital Ronell, and Nachoem M. Wijnberg. His writings have appeared in Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry; ART PAPERS; Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics; postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies; Theory & Event; and tripwire, a journal of poetics, among other venues.

MemberKristy Beers Fägersten

I received my PhD in 2000 from the University of Florida, with the dissertation A Descriptive Analysis of the Social Functions of Swearing in American English. My dissertation supervisor was Diana Boxer. My research interests include pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and discourse and conversation analysis. I’m member of the networks SwiSca (Swearing in Scandinavia) and NNCoRe (Nordic Network for Comics Research), which relate to my specialization on the use of English swear words in Sweden and the oral, conversational aspects of contemporary Swedish comic strips. Some projects already under way include: Advances in Swearing Research: New Contexts, New Languages, co-edited with Karyn Stapleton from the University of Ulster (under review). This volume includes my chapter, FUCK CANCER, Fucking Åmål, Aldrig fucka upp: The Standardization of fuck in Swedish Media. Linguistic and pragmatic outcomes of contact with English, special issue co-edited with Liz Petersen, University of Helsinki (in preparation). This issue includes my article, “What’s so funny about swearing? English swearwords as Swedish humor.” Other articles in preparation include: “The role of English-language swearing in creating an online persona: The case of Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie” “Taking turns and taking drinks: The integration of drinking in comic strip conversation’

MemberTyler Bradway

I am a scholar of contemporary literature, queer studies, affect, and experimental writing. Currently, I am Assistant Professor of English and Graduate Coordinator at SUNY Cortland. I am the author of Queer Experimental Literature: The Affective Politics of Bad Reading (Palgrave, 2017) and co-editor of After Queer Studies: Literature, Theory, and Sexuality in the 21st Century (Cambridge, 2019). I guest edited “Lively Words: The Politics and Poetics of Experimental Writing,” a special issue College Literature 46.1 (2019). My work has appeared or are forthcoming in venues such as GLQ, Mosaic, American Literature in Transition, 1980-1990, Postmodern Culture, Stanford Arcade, and The Comics of Alison Bechdel: From the Outside In.

MemberRebecca Bodenheimer

I am a freelance writer, editor, and independent scholar with a PhD in ethnomusicology. I have conducted research on Afro-Cuban folkloric and popular musical practices since 2004, primarily in the cities of Havana, Matanzas, and Santiago. My dissertation, entitled “Localizing Hybridity: The Politics of Place in Contemporary Cuban Rumba Performance”, focused on recent innovations in rumba performance in the cities of Havana and Matanzas. My book, Geographies of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba, examines various Cuban musical practices – rumba, timbason, and folklore oriental (eastern Cuban folklore) – and draws on recent fieldwork conducted in Santiago. My theoretical focus has centered on the entanglements of race and place in contemporary Cuba and their impact on musical performance. Beyond Cuban music, I am interested in African-derived practices from various sites throughout the diaspora, including Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and black American popular genres such as hip-hop and soul.