Emerita of Linguistics
The Ohio State University
My main areas of
specialization within linguistics are formal semantics and pragmatics and the
dynamic interaction between semantic content and context in the course of
interpretation. Within these fields, my principal research interests are:
- Anaphora, definiteness, and specificity. Indexicals and
- Formal models of the context of utterance and its role in
interpretation: Presupposition, focus, implicature,
I retired from the Linguistics
Department at The Ohio State University in 2016, and
have since resided in New York City, where I am fortunate to be a member of a
lively community of researchers working on linguistic semantics and
pragmatics and the philosophy of language. Thanks so much to my colleagues at
Barnard College, NYU, and Rutgers University, and especially the NY Philosophy of Language
Workshop, who have made me feel at home here.
perspective, domain restriction, and dynamic pragmatics.
- The semantics and pragmatics of modality, mood, tense, and
I’ll be teaching
a short course on Anaphora
Resolution in Formal Pragmatics at the LSA
2023 Summer Institute at UMass/Amherst this coming July. Come join us!
Right now I'm working
on several projects:
I gave the Beth Lecture at the 2022 Amsterdam
architecture of interpretation: Auxiliary content and pragmatic competence'',
an extension of my earlier paper on ''Linguistic
content and the architecture of interpretation'', which focused on
discourse anaphora. Auxiliary content yields what Chris Potts
(2005) called conventional implicatures. Setting aside Potts'
multi-dimensional analysis, I argue that such phenomena provide both
empirical and conceptual support for a rich, dynamic pragmatics for the
update of local context, and a particular view of the nature of pragmatic
competence as it bears on natural language semantics.
I've been collaborating
2006 to study projective meaning: presupposition, conventional implicature, and other non-assertoric aspects of
utterance meaning. We gave a paper on ''Preconditions, presuppositions, and
projection'' at the 2022
Amsterdam Colloquium, focusing on the projective content of factive and
change of state verbs, and are working on a paper for publication.
I've also been working
for several years on how indexicality and doxastic perspective influence
interpretation in natural languages. My paper "The
Character of epistemic modality'' has been accepted by Linguistics
and Philosophy. Another paper ''Character study: de se semantics
for indexicals'' needs
revision after review and I'll post a new version when it's ready.
I've extended the
framework I proposed in my 1996 paper on Questions Under Discussion to
consider the semantics and pragmatics of imperatives and directive speech
acts. That paper, "Imperatives in dynamic pragmatics",
has been revised and resubmitted.
I first gave ''Coherence,
salience and anaphora: The role of the QUD'' as an invited lecture at the
workshop on Coherence and Anaphora organized by Daniel Altshuler and Sam
Cumming at NASSLLI 2016, Rutgers. It still needs work on a couple of points,
but if you're interested and read it, I'd appreciate any feedback.
I'm a member of
the editorial board of Semantics and
Pragmatics, and the Executive Board of
Linguistics and Philosophy.
Email: roberts DOT 21 AT osu.edu