The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 3/3 - Masha Privizentseva (Leipzig University)

Speaker: Masha Privizentseva (Leipzig University)
Title: Nominal ellipsis reveals concord in Moksha Mordvin
Time: Tuesday, March 3rd, 1pm – 2pm
Location: 32-D461

Abstract: In some languages nominal modifiers generally do not show concord with the noun, but are inflected if the noun is elided. This inflection is often analyzed as stranded and cliticized affixes of an elided noun (see Dékány (2011), Saab & Lipták (2016), Ruda (2016), Murphy (2018), and Saab (2019)). On the basis of original data from Moksha Mordvin (Finno-Ugric), I argue that inflection under nominal ellipsis is best analyzed as nominal concord and that features are regularly present on a nominal modifier, but remain without morphological realization in non-elliptical contexts. The distribution of features follows from conditions on Spell-Out and types of features that can be spelled out. In particular, I suggest that shortly after valuation probe features are still identifiable as such and are therefore not subject to Vocabulary Insertion. Spell-Out applies to nominal modifiers right after probes responsible for concord are valued, so that features are exempt from realization. Concord is morphologically realized under ellipsis, because in this case there is an additional feature on a nominal modifier, which postpones Spell-Out.