The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Wu defends!

A tardy report, but a happy one:  on August 15, Danfeng Wu successfully and eloquently defended her dissertation entitled “Syntax and Prosody of Coordination”. The dissertation focuses on what she calls “correlative coordination ” — coordinate structures such as “either … or …” in which each element contains a coordinator. Danfeng defends the hypothesis that “the coordinator, traditionally considered to be the head of coordination (e.g., or and but), may not be the actual head, but just the daughter of a [conjunct]”. This idea in turn motivates analyses of situations in which the coordinator appears to be located in a surprising place as involving instances of ellipsis. The second half of her dissertation reports experimental research on the syntax-prosody interface that tests for the existence of some of these proposed ellipsis sites. An extremely interesting body of work, that also suggests a new tool for ellipsis detection, above and beyond its usefulness to the central problems of the dissertation. As we mentioned in an earlier post, Danfeng’s next stop is Oxford University, where she takes up a three-year Fellowship at Magdalen College.
Congratulations Danfeng!
And of course, after the defense, there was the usual gathering with food and champagne — jointly celebrating Danfeng’s defense and Christopher Baron’s (reported earlier here), which took place concurrently. The party photos below celebrate both events!