Florian Schwarz

Assistant Professor

PhD, Linguistics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Office Location: 
613 Williams Hall
Phone: 
215-898-8183
CV (file): 
Research Interests: 

Language and Communication

Specific Research Areas: 

My main interests are in formal semantics and pragmatics of natural language, which I study from both theoretical and experimental perspectives, the latter specifically using psycholinguistic methods including eye tracking and behavioral measures.

Research Synopsis: 

While my original background is in formal semantics and pragmatics, much of my ongoing research involves the use of
experimental methods from psycholinguistics in studying phenomena related to meaning in natural language. For example, I have investigated how presupposed content (i.e., content that is taken for granted by discourse participants) is processed, using the self-paced reading paradigm (Schwarz 2007). Current research, in collaboration with Sonja Tiemann at the University of Tuebingen, extends this work by looking at a broader range of expressions and by using eye tracking in reading (Schwarz and Tiemann 2012). Definite descriptions (expressions of the form 'the NP') are another area of interest of mine, and I have recently run a series of visual world eye tracking studies investigating how the referent of these expressions is identified, given varying contextual information, in real time. Other recent projects include work on collective vs. distributive interpretations of noun phrases (with Dimka Atanassov, Christine Boylan, and John Trueswell), as well as conversational implicatures with quantifiers and modals (the latter with Dimka Atanassov and John Trueswell). As my work is based on a highly interdisciplinary perspective, I am always looking for connections (to both people and research) in fields beyond linguistics, such as psychology, philosophy, and computer science.

Selected Publications: 

2015. Experimental Perspectives on Presuppositions, Florian Schwarz (ed.),  Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics , Springer International Publishing. ISBN: 978-3-319-07979-0

2014. False but slow: Evaluating statements with non-referring definites (draft; accepted with minor revisions to Journal of Semantics)

2014. Presuppositions are Fast, whether Hard or Soft – Evidence from the visual worldProceedings of SALT 24, pp. 1-22.

2014. [Cory Bill, Jacopo Romoli, Florian Schwarz and Stephen Crain] Presuppositions vs. Scalar Implicatures in Acquisition. Proceedings of PLC 38.

2013. Different Types of Definites Crosslinguistically.  Language and Linguistics Compass Volume 7, Issue 10,pages 534–559. (pre-final draft)

2013. [Florian Schwarz and Sonja Tiemann] The Path of Presupposition Projection in Processing – The Case of ConditionalsProceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 17, E. Chemla, V. Homer, G. Winterstein (eds), pp. 527-544.

2013. Maximality and Definite Plurals – Experimental Evidence.  Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 17, E. Chemla, V. Homer, G. Winterstein (eds), pp. 509-526. (Poster version)

2012. Presupposition Processing – The Case of German wieder. [Florian Schwarz and Sonja Tiemann]. Post-Proceedings of the  Amsterdam Colloquium 2011 (pre-print version)

2012. Situation pronouns in Determiner Phrases.  Natural Language SemanticsDecember 2012, Volume 20,Issue 4, pp 431-475 (DOI: 10.1007/s11050-012-9086-1)

2010.  Affective ‘this’. [Potts, Christopher and Florian Schwarz] Linguistic Issues in Language Technology3(5):1-30.

2009.  The pragmatics of expressive content: Evidence from large corpora. [Constant, Noah; Christopher Davis; Christopher Potts; and Florian Schwarz.] Sprache und Datenverarbeitung 33(1-2):5-21.

2007. Processing Presupposed Content. Journal of Semantics 24(4): 373-416; doi: 10.1093/jos/ffm011 [Full paper freely available from Journal website if you click here]

Courses Taught: 

LING 255: Formal Semantics and Cognitive Science

Seminar on Experimental Semantics & Pragmatics