The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, April 29th, 2013

Syntax Square 4/30 - Isa Bayirli

Speaker: Isa Bayirli
Title: On an Impossible Affix
Date/Time: Tuesday, Apr 30, 1-2pm
Location: 32-D461

This talk presents a new argument to substantiate the view that the morphological identity of a grammatical object is not lexical idiosyncrasy and that it reflects the syntactic behavior of this object. The empirical claim of this talk will be:

A topic or focus associated morpheme is never an affix.

I will argue that this follows from the syntactic fact that a syntactic head with topic or focus feature cannot trigger head movement. Evidence will be provided from Turkish, Bulgarian, Japanese, Finnish and Pazar Laz. I will show that when we translate these ideas into a non-lexical based implementation of Mirror Theory, we make the prediction that in those languages where there is always a suffix on the verb, this suffix cannot be a topic-focus associated morpheme. I will finally show that the prediction seems to be true.

Catalyst Conversation - 5/1 - Kai von Fintel

Who: Matthew Brand, Randal Thurston, Kai von Fintel
What: “The Language of Forms”
Where: Monadnock Room, Broad Institute, 7 Cambridge Center
When: May 1, 6–7pm, Reception to follow

This Wednesday evening, Kai will join two artists in the latest event in a series of events (Catalyst Conversations) bringing together artists and scientists. Learn more at http://www.catalystconversations.net/events/.

NB: Two more linguistics connections: Matt Brand is the husband of Amy Brand (née Pierce), 1989 PhD from MIT BCS (with Ken Wexler as chair) and former linguistics editor at MIT Press. Amy is now Assistant Provost for Faculty Appointments and Information at Harvard. Plus, the assistant to the director of the Catalyst Conversations is 2008 MIT Linguistics PhD Sarah Hulsey.

Please don’t be confused: the event series is titled “Catalyst Conversations”, but it takes place at the Broad Institute, not at Catalyst restaurant.

No Ling-Lunch This Week

Ling-Lunch will not meet this week. There will be a session next week with a talk by Neil Myler (NYU).

MIT News article on Wexler’s work on autism and grammar

Ken Wexler’s recently-published work on grammar and autism was featured by the MIT news office.

ESSL meeting 5/2

Title: More Turkshop results
Date/Time: Thursday, May 2, 5:30
Location: 32-D831 (Note room!)

This week’s lab meeting will be dedicated to results of projects created by Turkshop participants. Stay tuned for more details.