The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, December 1st, 2014

Phonology Circle 12/1 - Gretchen Kern (postponed to next semester)

Speaker: Gretchen Kern
Title: Syllables or Intervals? Welsh cynghanedd lusg rhymes
Date/Time: 1 Dec. (M), 5:00 - 6:30
Location: 32D-461

This talk will present my data and some preliminary analysis on my ongoing work on cynghanedd lusg, a type of line-internal, word-internal rhyme in Welsh poetry, based on a corpus of the works of Dafydd ap Gwilym. In these rhymes, the stressed penultimate vowel of a polysyllabic line-final word (and some number of following consonants) will correspond to the final vowel and any following consonants of a word earlier in the line.

(1) Ganed o’i fodd er goddef (Credo, line 25)

In many examples, the rhyme domain consists of the entire interval (even in consonant clusters) but some will have unanswered consonants in the line-final word:

2) a. Mi a wn blas o lasgoed (Merch Gyndyn, line 31)
b. I waered yn grwm gwmpas, (Gwahodd Dyddgu, line25)
c. ‘Nychlyd fardd, ni’th gâr harddfun, (Cyngor y Bioden, line65)

This is similar, but not exactly like skaldic rhyme, where the unanswered consonants appear in the word on the left (3c):

(3) a. hann rekkir lið bannat (from Háttatal, by Sturluson)
b. ungr stillir sá, milli (via Ryan 2010:5)
c. Gandvíkr, jǫfurr, landi

Ling Lunch 12/04 - Heidi Klockmann

Speaker: Heidi Klockmann (MIT/Utrecht)
Title:Case, Agreement, and Hierarchies: Fitting in Inherent Case
Date/Time: Thursday, December 4, 12:30-1:45pm
Location: 32-D461

In this talk, I consider the variation found in systems of case and agreement cross-linguistically, focusing specifically on languages which show accusativity or ergativity in their case or agreement. There are in principle four language types, for which it has been claimed that only three exist (cf. Bobaljik 2008): ergative case with ergative agreement (e.g. Hindi, Gojri), ergative case with accusative agreement (e.g. Nepali, Bantawa), accusative case with accusative agreement (e.g. Polish), and accusative case with ergative agreement (the gap). I present data from the case-agreement systems of these languages, as well as a discussion of the nature of structural and inherent case assignment. I propose that inherent case is actually the realization of some form of a P-head and that languages can differ in their inventory of P-headed cases. I treat these PP-cases as being generally opaque to external processes, such as agreement (see Rezac 2008), and show how this assumption can be used to model the case-agreement systems discussed here.

Kotek’s two probe paper has appeared in NLLT

“Wh-Fronting in a two-probe system”, a paper by newly minted PhD Hadas Kotek, has just appeared in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. Hadas is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill. Great paper — congratulations!