jesse harris

I am an assistant professor at Pomona College in the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, and director of the Language Processing Lab. My research investigates how language users develop a sufficiently rich linguistic meaning during online comprehension, concentrating in particular on three related areas: (a) the formal semantics of context sensitive expressions, (b) the semantic processing of contextually dependent terms, and (c) the pragmatic and processing defaults engaged when generating a semantic or discourse representation for an utterance or phrase.

I am committed to using experimental methods in my research, including Internet based questionnaires, corpora, and online methods such as self-paced reading and eye tracking. See this page for a description of the various methods and data collection tools used in the lab.

Past areas of research include the semantics, pragmatics, and processing of concealed questions, event structure in coordinated verb complexes, and issues in the syntax-semantics interface of relative clauses.

I received my PhD in Linguistics from UMass Amherst in early 2012. I received my Masters in Logic from the University of Amsterdam, Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation, served as lab manager for the NYU Neurolinguistics Lab under the direction of Liina Pylkkänen, and received a joint BA/MA in Linguistics from the University of Chicago.

jesse harris
Levitated Mass
c/o Susan Arthur

Publications

Frazier, Lyn, Charles Clifton, Jr., Katy Carlson, & Jesse A. Harris (2013, in press). Standing alone with prosodic help. Language and Cognitive Processes. BibTeX

Harris, Jesse A. (2013, in press). Interjective 'what'. In The Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 23, pp. 19-39. Anca Chereches et al (eds.). Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications. BibTeX

Harris, Jesse A. (2012). On the Semantics of Domain Adjectives in English. In The Proceedings of the 30th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics. Arnett, Nathan and Ryan Bennett (eds.) University of California, Santa Cruz. BibTeX

Harris, Jesse A., Charles Clifton, Jr., & Lyn Frazier (2012). Processing and domain restriction: Quantificational variability effects. Language and Cognitive Processes. BibTeX

Cable, Seth & Jesse A. Harris (2011). On the Grammatical Status of PP-Pied-Piping in English: Results from Sentence-Rating Experiments. In University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics: Processing Linguistic Structure. Volume 38, pp. 1 - 22. Harris & Grant (eds.) GLSA Publications, Amherst, MA. BibTeX

Harris, Jesse A. (2011). Extraction from Coordinate Structures: Evidence from Language Processing. In Proceedings from the 45th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. BibTeX

Harris, Jesse A. & Christopher Potts (2011). Predicting perspectival orientation for appositives. In Proceedings from the 45th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. BibTeX

Harris, Jesse A. & Christopher Potts (2009). Perspective-shifting with appositives and expressives. Linguistics & Philosophy 32(6):523-552. BibTeX

Harris, Jesse A. (2009). Epithets and perspective shift: experimental evidence. In University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers: Papers in Pragmatics. Volume 39, pp. 49 - 76. Biezma & Harris (eds.) GLSA Publishing. Amherst, MA. BibTeX

Harris, Jesse A. (2008). On the syntax and semantics of Heim's ambiguity. In the Proceedings of the 27th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics. University of California, LA. BibTeX

Harris, Jesse, Liina Pylkkänen, Brian McElree, & Steven Frisson (2008). The Cost of Question Concealment: Eye-tracking and MEG evidence. In Brain and Language, 107(1):44-61. BibTeX

Harris, Jesse & Terry Regier (2004). The Associative Origin of Words. In Proceedings from the 38th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, Andronis et al (eds.), Volume 38-1.



Manuscripts

Fishbein, Joel & Jesse A. Harris (under revision). Making sense of Kafka: Structural biases induce early sense commitment for metonyms. Submitted to Journal of Memory and Language.

Harris, Jesse A. (submitted). Processing let alone coordination in silent reading. Submitted to Syntax.

Harris, Jesse A. (in progress). Alternatives on demand: Processing d-linked phrases in sluices. Draft length: 42 pp.

Harris, J. A. (2007). Revealing Concealment: A (Neuro-)Logical Investigation of Concealed Questions. MSc Thesis, Logic (148 pp). Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. Under the supervision of Paul Dekker, Liina Pylkkänen, and Martin Stokhof.
Note: The syntactic account of this thesis has been improved on in Harris (2008). The psycholinguistics work presented here has been published as Harris et al (2008).



Selected Presentations and Posters

That's, what, an approximation? A formal semantics for approximative what. (2013). Harris, J.A. Talk presented at Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 23, held at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Figuring out Kafka: Structural biases induce early sense commitment for metonyms. (2013). Fishbein, J. & Harris, J.A. Poster presented at the 26th Annual CUNY Human Sentence Processing Conference, held at the University of South Carolina.

Discourse accessibility and structural bias: Processing d-linked phrases in sluices. (2013). Harris, J.A. Poster presented at the 26th Annual CUNY Human Sentence Processing Conference, held at the University of South Carolina.

The cost of unexpected contrast: processing let alone. (2013). Harris, J.A. Poster presented at the 26th Annual CUNY Human Sentence Processing Conference, held at the University of South Carolina.

Using Structural Cues in Processing Polysemes. (2013). Fishbein, J. & Harris, J. A. Poster presented at the 87th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in Boston, MA.

Voltaire was More Easily Duped than Forged: Structural Cues in Processing Polysemy. (2012). Fishbein, J. & Harris, J.A. Talk presented at the Experimental Psycholinguistics Conference (ERP), Madrid, Spain.

On the semantics of domain adjectives in English. (2012). Harris, J.A. Poster at the 30th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL), held at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Processing and domain selection: Quantificational variability effects. (2011). Harris, J. A., Clifton, C. & Frazier, L. Poster presented at the 24th Annual CUNY Human Sentence Processing Conference, held at Stanford University.

The Pragmatics of Free Indirect Discourse: a questionnaire study. (2010). Harris, J. A. Poster presented at PEPA 2, held at the University of British Columbia.

Perspective-shifting with appositives and expressives. (2009). Harris, J. A. & Potts, C. Paper presented at the OSU Workshop on Projective Meanings.

Locality, Event-Construal & Extraction: Evidence from Language Processing. (2009). Harris, J. A. Poster presented at the 22nd Annual CUNY Human Sentence Processing Conference, held at UC Davis.

On the Event-Extraction Correlation: Evidence from Coordinate Structures. (2009). Harris, J. A. Presented at the Proceedings of the 45th Chicago Linguistic Society.

On the syntax and semantics of Heim's ambiguity. (2008). Harris, J. A. Presented at the 27th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, held at UCLA.

How do you answer a concealed question? A flexible approach. (2007). Harris, J. A. Presented at Southern New England Workshop on Semantics, held at MIT.

The Interpretation of Concealed Questions. (2006). Harris, J., Pylkkänen, L., McElree, B. & and Frisson, S. Presented at the 19th Annual Human Sentence Processing Conference.

The roles of the right hemisphere and the anterior midline field in semantic processing: MEG studies. (2005). Pylkkänen, L., Murphy, G. L., McElree, B., Harris, J. A., Francis, J., Martin, A. E. & Llinás, R. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society.



Volumes Edited

Harris, Jesse A. & Margaret Grant (2011). University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics: Processing Linguistic Structure. Volume 38. GLSA Publishing. Amherst, MA. BibTeX

Biezma, Maria & Jesse A. Harris (2009). University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics: Papers in Pragmatics. Volume 39. GLSA Publishing. Amherst, MA. BibTeX



The Embedded Appositives Corpus

Embedded appositives. An annotated collection of 278 sentences containing appositives embedded syntactically in the complement of propositional attitude predicates and verbs of saying, drawn from 177 million words of novels, newspaper articles, and TV transcripts. Intended to inform work on appositives, conventional implicatures, and textual entailment. Includes a Javascript interface, an XML corpus, and a short write-up describing the data and their theoretical relevance.