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,
perspective, domain restriction, and dynamic pragmatics.
- The semantics and pragmatics of modality, mood, tense, and
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.
a short course on
Resolution in Formal Pragmatics at the LSA
2023 Summer Institute at UMass/Amherst this past July (2023). The lecture
notes from that course are linked on the menu at the left. I've also
linked lecture notes from an earlier course on Indexicality taught at NYU
I have three papers newly accepted for publication:
My paper "The
indexical Character of epistemic modality'' is now published on-line in Linguistics
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. "Imperatives in dynamic pragmatics"
has now been published on-line in Semantics and Pragmatics.
I've been collaborating
2006 to study projective meaning: presupposition, conventional implicature, and other non-assertoric aspects of utterance
meaning. Our joint paper "Preconditions
and Projection: Explaining Non-Anaphoric Presupposition",
focusing on the projective content of factive and change of state verb, has
been accepted by Linguistics and Philosophy.
Right now I'm working
on several projects:
I'll be giving comments on Jeff King's recent book Felicitous
Underspecification at the upcoming 2024 Eastern APA in NYC.
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 working
for several years on how indexicality and doxastic perspective influence
interpretation in natural languages. The recently published paper on epistemic
modality is part of that project, as is the work on conventional
implicature. I'm currently working on two papers: "Capturing the de se"
addresses the question of how to formally represent that class of
"Indexicality and perspective" addresses the issue of shifting
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