The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 9/27 - Peter Grishin (MIT)

Speaker: Peter Grishin (MIT)
Title: Passamaquoddy subordinative clauses are TPs
Time: Tuesday, September 27th, 1pm – 2pm

Abstract: Algonquian languages are known for their distinct inflectional paradigms that have different syntactic distributions, something that has received quite a bit of interest in the theoretical literature (Campana 1996, Brittain 2001, Richards 2004, Cook 2014, Bogomolets, Fenger, and Stegovec 2022, a.o.). However, one inflectional paradigm/clause type has not received much (if any) attention: the subordinative, an Eastern Algonquian innovation. In this talk I’ll present some fieldwork and corpus data on the subordinative in Passamaquoddy, proposing that the seemingly-unrelated syntactic contexts it appears in—clausal complements to certain verbs and modal particles, some clausal coordinations, and polite imperatives—can all be unified if we take subordinative clauses to be TP sized, lacking a CP layer. While I think the broad picture I sketch is compelling, there are some loose ends and problems that will emerge—I’m looking for help with figuring out how to deal with them.