The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Minicourse 2/15, 2/17: Bronwyn Bjorkman (Queen’s University)

Speaker: Bronwyn Bjorkman (Queen’s University)
Title: Morphological realization and multiple valuation
Time: Tuesday (February 15th) and Thursday (February 17th), 12:30pm – 2pm both days
Place: 32-D461 or Zoom

Abstract: Current theories of Agree assume quite commonly that probes can be valued by more than one goal in some syntactic configurations. But on the morphological side, the realizations available to multiple valuation are far from uniform: a multiply-valued head may realize only its most “marked” values, may realize all values via a portmanteau morph, may realize all values via two or more morphs, or even (in a small number of cases) may be ungrammatical unless both values can be realized by a single syncretic form.

In this mini-course we’ll explore cases where morphological syncretism seems to be able to “rescue” structures where a single item receives conflicting feature valuations, and what such cases tell us about both the syntactic representation of valued features and the process of morphological realization. In particular, we’ll examine the proposal from Bjorkman (2016) and Coon & Keine (2020) that resolution-via-syncretism arises only when conflicting features happen to be spelled out via the same Vocabulary Insertion rule, and explore whether this account can extend to cases where accidental morphological identity (arising from phonological neutralization) appears sufficient for resolution. Our primary empirical focus will be on resolution via syncretism in Finnish (Zaenan and Karttunen 1984) and Hungarian (Szamosi 1976), contrasted with portmanteau agreement in Hungarian (Bárány 2015) and Anishinaabemowin (Oxford 2019, Hammerly 2020).

No advance readings are required, though I have attached Szamosi 1976 as to my knowledge it is not available online.

(Please see the announcement email for the reading material.)