Maho Takahashi

Linguistics PhD Student at UC San Diego





Ongoing projects:

Island sensitivity of Japanese double relatives


  • For my dissertation project, I have run a series of factorial-design acceptability experiments to examine (i) whether relativization out of a relative clause island (double relative) in Japanese exhibits an island effect, and (ii) which factors modulate the size of the relative clause island effect in English and Japanese.
  • Results presented in multiple conferences (CUNY 34, CAMP 4, CLS 58, HSP 36).

Presupposition of ‘only’


  • I conducted multiple experiments to find out what is presupposed by English focus marker ‘only’; is it the prejacent of the sentence (e.g., “John ate only bananas” presupposes that “John ate (at least) bananas”), or something else? My focus is on whether a certain experimental paradigm, namely the one that proffers alternative propositions in the form of response options, can change the presuppositional component of ‘only’.
  • Presented at AMLaP 2021 (slides)

Scalar implicature in online experiments


  • I examined the effect of presentation modality (video/picture/text), as well as the presence of an in-person experimenter, on the way participants engage in pragmatic reasoning, with a focus on the well-known “some-but-not-all” implicature.
  • Presented at 2022 Experiments in Linguistic Meaning (slides)

computational modelling of island constraints in Japanese


  • I evaluated neural language models like LSTM and GPT-2 to find out if they are capable of capturing grammatical constraints like islands in Japanese.
  • Findings to be presented at SCiL 6 (link to proceedings)

Past projects: