The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, November 11th, 2013

Ling-Lunch 11/14 - Dennis Ott

Speaker: Dennis Ott (HU Berlin/MIT)
Title: Deletion in disjunct constituents
Date/Time: Thursday, Nov 14, 12:30-1:45p
Location: 32-D461

Parenthesis has received little attention in linguistic theory, despite the fact that the phenomenon raises fundamental questions concerning the division of labor between “sentence grammar” and “discourse grammar.” Some researchers (e.g., Haegeman 1991, Espinal 1991, Peterson 1999) have argued tha parentheticals are syntactically “orphan” constituents (or “disjuncts”), and hence beyond the purview of syntax, whereas other approaches take the linear intercalation of parentheticals into their host clauses to be a sign of syntactic integration (e.g., Emonds 1976, Potts 2005, de Vries 2012). Integration analyses invariably rely on construction-specific machinery, hence imply a prima facie undesirable enrichment of UG. Non-restrictive appositives in particular are often taken to be syntactically integrated, either implicitly (Espinal 1991) or explicitly (Heringa 2012). In this talk, I contest this view and develop a novel argument for taking the relation between non-restrictive appositives and their host clauses to be non-syntactic (established in “discourse grammar”). Building on Burton-Roberts’ (2006) intuitive characterization of appositives as “reduplicative reformulations,” I show that appositive disjunct constituents are sentential fragments, derived by familiar mechanisms of PF-deletion (Merchant 2004, Ott & de Vries in press). Crucially, the fact that the antecedent of appositive-internal ellipsis is the host clause itself entails that deletion is antecedent-contained, and hence irresolvable, on the assumption that the appositive fragment is syntactically integrated into the host. Ellipsis being resolvable, appositives must be taken to be separately generated expressions whose linear insertion into the host is a matter of discourse/production rather than syntax proper.


Did we really forget to tell you about this?

For shame!


MIT phonologists at UMass

Several students, faculty, visitors and alumni were at UMass Amherst for Phonology 2013 over the weekend. Presenting were:

Aron Hirsch: Is the domain for weight computation the syllable or the interval?

Gillian Gallagher (PhD 2010, NYU): Identity preference without the identity effect in Cochabamba Quechua

Eduard Artés Cuenca (visitor from CLT – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona): Valencian hypocoristics: when morphology meets phonology

Jonah Katz (PhD 2010, UC Berkeley): Against a unified sonority scale

Juliet Stanton: A cyclic factorial typology of Pama-Nyungan stress

Michelle Fullwood: The perceptual dimensions of sonority-driven epenthesis

Giorgio Magri (PhD 2009, CNRS, Paris): Error-driven versus Batch models of the early stage of the acquisition of phonotactics: David defeats Goliath.

Tara McAllister Byun (PhD 2009, New York University), Sharon Inkelas (UC Berkeley) and Yvan Rose (Memorial University of Newfoundland): Explaining child-specific phonology with a grammar of articulatory reliability: The A-map model.

SNEWS at MIT, 11/16

The Southern New England Workshop in Semantics (SNEWS for short) will be held on Saturday November 16th at MIT, in room 32-D461. The tentative program can be found here.


As you may remember, on September 20 and 21 of this year, MIT Lingustics hosted M@90, a Workshop on Metrical Structure, Stress, Meter and Text Setting — to celebrate Moris Halle’s 90th birthday.

Thanks to Tim Halle and his colleagues at Video Visuals, the workshop was recorded (both talks and discussion) and can now be watched in its entirety on Youtube at http://goo.gl/XETSLA. Our deepest thanks to Tim and to all the speakers and participants!


MIT morphologists at UC San Diego

The 2nd American International Morphology Meeting (AIMM 2) was also held this weekend, at UC San Diego. Faculty member Adam Albright headed a tutorial session on modeling analogical inference and change, and 2nd year grad student Isa Kerem Bayirli gave a talk entitled On An Impossible Affix.