The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, March 11th, 2013

Phonology Circle 3/11 - Juliet Stanton

Speaker: Juliet Stanton
Title: Positional restrictions on prenasalized stops: a perceptual account
Date/Time: Monday, Mar 11, 5pm
Location: 32-D831

Previous studies on prenasalized stops have focused mainly on issues of derivation and classification, but little is known about their distributional properties. The current study is an attempt to fill this gap. I present results of two surveys documenting positional restrictions on NCs, and show that there are predictable and systematic constraints on their distribution. The major finding is that NCs are optimally licensed in contexts where they are perceptually distinct from plain oral and plain nasal stops. I propose an analysis referencing auditory factors, and show that a perceptual account explains all attested patterns.


Syntax Square 3/12 - Coppe van Urk

Coppe van Urk will be reporting on a paper from ACAL 44.

Title: On Object Marking in Kikuria
Original Presenters: Rodrigo Ranero, Michael Diercks, and Rebekah Cramerus (Pomona College)
Date/Time: Tuesday, March 12th, 1-2pm
Location: 32-D461

The talk presents data regarding object marking in Kikuria and an interesting pattern of interaction between cliticization and clitic-doubling.


Ling-Lunch 3/14 - Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine and Hadas Kotek

Speakers: Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine and Hadas Kotek
Title: Blocking in English causatives
Date/Time: Thursday, Mar 14, 12:30-1:45p
Location: 32-D461

There is much work on the two causative constructions in Japanese: *lexical* causatives, which are monoclausal constructions with listed, unproductive morphological forms; and *analytic* causatives, which are biclausal and utilize a productive causative suffix -(s)ase. In particular, Japanese causatives exhibit a *blocking effect*, where for verbs which have a listed, lexical causative form, this lexical causative can “block” the use of the more general analytic causative. In this talk we present new data on causatives in English and argue that “make” causatives and lexical causatives in English are the same as (or at least strikingly similar to) the two causatives in Japanese, in terms of syntactic structure, semantics, and also the blocking of “make” causatives by corresponding lexical causatives. However, in English this “blocking” is often not apparent, because the causee can intervene between “make” and the verb. This data provides evidence for certain spellout processes (such as fusion, in DM terms) being sensitive to linear adjacency, and also is an argument for post-syntactic construction of derivational morphology as in DM and contra the Lexicalist Hypothesis.


LSA Institute Fellowships for Brillman, Stanton

First-year students Ruth Brillman and Juliet Stanton have been awarded Linguistic Society of America Fellowships to attend the 2013 LSA Summer Institute, hosted by the University of Michigan.  Congratulations Ruth and Juliet!!


MIT at African Linguistics Conference

Norvin Richards and 3rd-year student Coppe van Urk were in our nation’s sequestered capital this weekend to present a joint paper on “Dinka and the Syntax of Successive-Cyclic Movement” at the Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL 44), hosted by Georgetown University.  Also presenting at ACAL was our very recent alum Claire Halpert (PhD 2012), now an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota.  Her talk was entitled “Revisiting the Zulu Conjoint/Disjoint Alternation: Mismatches in Prosody/Syntax Mapping”.


ESSL Meeting 3/14 - Turkshop part 3

What: Turk workshop, part 3
When: Thursday, March 14, 5:30-7
Where: 32-D461

This week will be the third part of the Turkshop. Our goal for this session is to cover the technical details of everything you need to know in order to set up your own experiment: creating an items file, randomizing using the Turkolizer, creating an HTML template, approving and rejecting subjects on Turk. Please remember to install Python 2.7.3 on your computer; you can download Python here. Materials and slides from the Turkshop can be found here.


Richards paper on Lardil case-stacking published

Norvin Richards’ paper “Lardil ‘Case Stacking’ and the Timing of Case Assignment” has appeared in the latest issue of Syntax.  Highly recommended to everyone interested in case or the grammar of Lardil (Tangkic, Australia)!