Hacquard at Penn

April 21 in Philadelphia, Valentine Hacquard gives a colloquium talk, Grasping at Factivity, at Penn Linguistics, the department that was founded by Zellig Harris in 1947, and which granted Noam Chomsky every one of his non-honorary degrees. Here is the abstract for the talk:

  • Speakers mean more than their sentences do, because they can take a lot about their audience for granted. This talk explores how presuppositions and pragmatic enrichments play out in acquisition. How do children untangle semantic from pragmatic contributions to what speakers mean? The case study I will focus on is how children learn the meaning of the words think and know. When and how do children figure out that think but not know can be used to report false beliefs? When and how do they figure out that with know, but not think, speakers tend to presuppose the truth of the complement clause? I will suggest that the path of acquisition is traced by the child’s understanding both of where such verbs occur, and of why speakers use them.