The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Extended Visit and Minicourse: Laura Kalin (Princeton)

We are happy to announce that Laura Kalin will be visiting the department this week and will teach two mini courses (details below). Laura has asked that attendees read section 4 of McCarthy & Prince 1993 Generalized alignment (with the rest being optional) and chapter 3 up until the end of section 3.2 of Yu 2007 A Natural History of Infixation (the rest being optional) in preparation for the course.

Speaker: Laura Kalin (Princeton University)
Title: Theoretical approaches to infixation
Time: Wednesday, 1:00-2:30 and Thursday, 12:30-2:00
Location: 32-D461

Abstract: This mini-course will discuss a number of different theoretical approaches to infixation, and bring data from a variety of languages to bear on these approaches. More specifically, we will differentiate approaches to infixation along the following two dimensions: 
(i) Is morphology (in particular, exponent choice/suppletive allomorphy) evaluated alongside phonology, or does morphology precede phonology?
(ii) Does an infix linearly concatenate with the stem it combines with (i.e., as following or preceding the stem) before taking its surface (infixed) position inside the stem, or does an infix slot directly into its infixed position without a preliminary step of linear concatenation? 
Crossing these two dimensions gives us four logically-possible types of approaches to infixation, three of which are well-attested in the literature. On the one hand are accounts that take morphology to be simultaneous with phonology, all of which also lack a step of linear concatenation prior to infixation (e.g., McCarthy & Prince 1993, Hyman & Inkelas 1997, Wolf 2008, Samuels 2009), though these accounts do differ with respect to whether/how infixes are specified as (wanting to be) prefixes/suffixes. On the other hand are accounts that separate morphology from phonology; some such accounts take infixes to slot directly into their surface position (e.g., Yu 2007), while others include a step of linear concatenation prior to infixation (e.g., Bye & Svenonius 2012, Embick 2010). 
Using novel typological data that catalogues interactions between allomorphy and infixation, I will argue that only this last approach to infixation makes the right empirical predictions, and further, that this data supports a cyclic, serial, realizational morphological grammar.