Mayfest 2011: The interpretation of pronouns


Mayfest is a workshop that brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines and perspectives to discuss fundamental issues in linguistics. Over the course of two days, participants engage in talks and discussion sessions to stimulate new insights and collaboration. This year's workshop will center on the interpretation of pronouns.

Talks at this year's workshop will center on the interpretation of pronouns. Pronouns serve as tools of reference, and as markers of semantic and syntactic dependencies. In either role, their interpretation is guided by complex constraints, both grammatical and extralinguistic. The talks at this year's Mayfest, each in a distinct way, will explore these constraints. What are they, how does their expression develop in the child, and how are they deployed in real-time processing? Bringing together scholars from diverse subfields, they aim to foster discussion of how answers to each of these questions might inform the others, advancing an integrated perspective. Given all the evidence, what is the right way to represent pronouns? More broadly, we would like to understand how the analysis of pronouns should shape linguistic theory, and the theory of how language relates to other aspects of the mind.