The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, November 29th, 2010

Phonology Circle 11/29 - Patrick Jones  

Speaker: Patrick Jones
Title: Tonal Opacity and Paradigm Structure in Kinande (RUMMIT practice talk)
Time: Monday 11/29, 5pm, 32-D831

Upcoming talks:
Dec 6: Suyeon Yun (MIT)

You can view the current, up-to-date version of the schedule here (click ‘agenda’ to see the schedule as a list), or subscribe via iCal here.


Syntax Square 11/30 - Sam Steddy  

Please join us for Syntax Square this week. Sam Steddy will be discussing joint work with Vieri Samek-Lodovici.

Speaker: Sam Steddy
Title: On the Ungrammaticality of Remnant Movement in the Derivation of Greenberg’s Universal 20 (with Vieri Samek-Lodovici)
Time: Tuesday, November 30, 1-2PM
Place: 32-D461

We propose an analysis that derives Cinque’s 2005 typology of fourteen linear orders (from a theoretical twenty-four) involving a Demonstrative, Numeral, Adjective, and Noun through four Optimality Theory constraints requiring leftward alignment of these items. We show that remnant movement is ungrammatical whenever it produces universally suboptimal alignments, compared to remnant-movement-free structures. Any movement is permitted, but only the best alignment configurations surface as grammatical. Our analysis need not make similar structural stipulations to Cinque’s, as the different attested structures emerge from exhaustive constraint reranking.

Please note I’ll only present the OT analysis of the typology from our paper, along with a few of its interesting predictions and problems, rather than go into the indepth comparison of our analysis to Cinque’s.


LFRG 12/1 - Peter Graff, Jeffrey Lim, & Sophie Monahan  

Speakers: Peter Graff, Jeffrey Lim and Sophie Monahan (MIT)
Title: The Determiner Complexity Hierarchy (practice talk for LSA)
Time: December 1, 1:30PM-3:00PM
Location: 32-D831

We present experimental evidence for a hierarchy of complexity for possible denotations of determiners that goes beyond the traditional constraint of conservativity (Keenan and Stavi 1986). Conservative determiners obey the bi-conditional D(A,B) iff D(A, A?B) where A is the restrictor and B is the nuclear scope and thus only predicate over individuals in set A. Results from three online artificial determiner learning studies (N=454) are consistent with a hierarchy of learnability for determiners depending on the set they predicate over where (A?B)>(A-B)>(B-A)>(A?B)c. These results support a learnability-based account of the patterning of determiner typology and exceptions to Conservativity.

Upcoming LFRG meetings:
Dec 8: Luka Crnic, more on “even” and different kinds of intensional verbs


RUMMIT @ MIT - Sat 12/4  

The semi-annual Rutgers-UMass-MIT Phonology Meeting (RUMMIT) will take place at MIT on Saturday 12/4, in 32-D461, from mid-morning until around 6pm. Stay tuned for further details- all are welcome!