Workshop: Linguistic Intuitions, Evidence, and Expertise

Workshop date: October 25th-27th, 2017

Linguists working within the generative framework traditionally use intuitive judgements about the well-formedness of utterances (also known as acceptability judgements) as evidence for theories of grammars. Usually, linguists use their own judgements or informally elicit judgements from their colleagues.

In recent years, however, this practice has been criticized for failing to uphold minimal scientific standards. As a result, new, experimental approaches have emerged that have urged the systematic gathering of data from non-linguists.

At this conference we want to bring together linguists and philosophers interested in the methodological foundations of linguistics. In particular, we want to better understand whether linguistic intuitions can legitimately be used as evidence for theories of grammar. How big is the risk of bias and distortion when linguists use their own intuitions? Can the evidential value of linguistic intuitions be improved by systematically studying the intuitions of non-linguists? Or are there good reasons to prefer the judgements of expert linguists? Although we solicit work concerning syntactic intuitions in particular, we also welcome work concerning other kinds of linguistic intuitions.


Workshop location: meeting room M 2 at Studenterhuset (see here)


Preliminary programme (updated)

Wednesday, October 25:
9:00-9:15 Welcome and introduction by Samuel Schindler
9:15-10:05 Carson Schütze (UCLA) TBA
10:20-11:10 Sam Featherston (University of Tübingen) TBA
11:25-12:15 Colin Phillips (University of Maryland) TBA
13:30-14:20 John Collins (University of East Anglia) TBA
14:50-15:40 Anna Drożdżowicz (Aarhus University) TBA
15:55-16:45 Jon Sprouse (University of Connecticut)The things we abstract away from: gradience, effect sizes, and qualia
17:00-17:30 Edward (Ted) Gibson (MIT) - via SkypeTBA
Thursday, October 26:
9:15-10:05 Georges Rey (University of Maryland) Evidence of a Perceptual Voice of Competence
10:20-11:10 Steven Gross (Johns Hopkins University) Linguistic Intuitions: Error Signals and the “Voice of Competence”
11:25-12:15 Michael Devitt (City University of New York)


13:30-14:20 Karen Brøcker (Aarhus University) TBA
14:50-15:40 Frederick Newmeyer (University of Washington) The relevance of introspective data
15:55-16:45 Benjamin Bruening (University of Delaware)

The Importance of Verifying Grammaticality Judgments with Corpora

Friday, October 27:
9:15-10:05 Ken Ramshøj Christensen (Aarhus University Using intuition to address the counter-intuitive
10:20-11:10 Jana Häussler (University of Wuppertal) and Tom S. Juzek (Nuance Communications Gradience in Formal Acceptability Judgments versus Informal Introspective Judgments

Carlos Santana (University of Utah)

A non-evidential case for the use of intuitions in linguistics

12:15-13:30 Lunch