The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling Lunch 4/28 - Aron Hirsch

Speaker: Aron Hirsch (MIT)
Title: Coordination and constituency paradoxes
Time: Thursday, April 28th, 12:30-1:50 pm
Place: 32-D461

In Hirsch (2015), I discuss empirical diagnostics for hidden structure in examples like (1a), and argue for a “conjunction reduction” analysis, where (1a) involves vP conjunction rather than DP conjunction, (1b) (CR, cf. Schein 2014). Diagnostics involve the distribution of adverbs (cf. Collins 1988), available interpretations of VP ellipsis, and observed scope readings (cf. Partee & Rooth 1983).

(1) a. John saw every student and every professor.
b. John [t saw every student] and [t (saw) every professor].

In this talk, I employ these same empirical tests to identify a class of constituency paradoxes. I consider cases where `DP and DP’ appears to be singled out as a constituent — (pseudo)-clefts (2a), right node raising (2b), and examples with `both’ apparently adjoining to `DP and DP’ (2c) — and demonstrate that tests for hidden structure still come out positive in these cases.

(2) a. It’s a table and a chair that John saw.
b. John likes and Mary hates a table and a chair (respectively).
c. John saw both a table and a chair.

To resolve the paradoxes, I propose derivations of (2a)-(2c) which again involve hidden structure above the DP. Finally, I show how the proposal for (2c) may extend beyond apparent DP conjunction to provide an explanation for certain data involving apparent `CP coordination’: (3), where `or’ is interpreted as scoping above the intensional predicate, and observations from Bjorkman (2013).

(3) CNN believes either that Trump will be president or that Hillary will be. (or > believe, *believe > or)