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Workshop: Linguistic Intuitions, Evidence, and Expertise

Workshop date: October 25th-27th, 2017

Pictures from the event.

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)



Wednesday, October 25:
9:00-9:15 Welcome and introduction by Samuel Schindler
9:15-10:05 Sam Featherston (University of Tübingen) Data and interpretation: Why better judgements are important, but better theory is perhaps more importan
10:20-11:10 Colin Phillips (University of Maryland) Fast and slow judgments
11:25-12:15 John Collins (University of East Anglia) The Role of Interpretation in Syntactic Intuition
13:30-14:20 Anna Drożdżowicz (Aarhus University)

Speakers’ intuitive judgements about meaning and why trust them? - the voice of performance view


Carlos Santana (University of Utah)

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

18:30For those who are interested: dinner at AmoRomA (at own expense)
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)

Linguistic Intuitions: A Response to Rey and Gross

13:30-14:20 Karen Brøcker (Aarhus University) Do generative linguists believe in a Voice of Competence?
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

18:30Workshop dinner at restaurant ET
Friday, October 27:
9:15-10:05 Jon Sprouse (University of Connecticut) The things we abstract away from: gradience, effect sizes, and qualia
  10:20-11:10 Ken Ramshøj Christensen (Aarhus University) Using intuition to address the counter-intuitive
11:25-12:15  Jana Häussler (University of Wuppertal) and Tom S. Juzek (Nuance Communications) Gradience in Formal Acceptability Judgments versus Informal Introspective Judgments
12:15-13:30 Lunch