The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Giovanni Roversi @ NYU!

Giovanni Roversi presented at NYU’s Ling-Lunch on Oct 13, 2022! 

Title: Where can probes be? Evidence from asymmetric adjectival concord

Abstract: We currently don’t have a theory telling us what kind of probes should or shouldn’t be where; I’m not going to propose one either. In this talk I will make an indirect argument for not wanting too restrictive a theory: the empirical landscape, when looked at carefully, is too varied for us to be able to afford a restrictive theory of probe distribution. The domain I will concentrate on is asymmetric adjectival concord, that is, languages where the morphological patterns on attributive adjectives and predicative ones (“the red car” vs “the car is red”) are different. Concretely, I will look at German, North Sámi and Northern Norwegian, which I argue exhaust the logically possible space of variation for the matter in question (that is: (i) only concord on attributive but not on predicative; (ii) the opposite of that; (iii) concord on both but of different kind). I will try to convince you that especially the North Sámi and Northern Norwegian patterns are real, and will exclude alternative analyses. In other words: the typology of attested patterns does in fact cover all logically possible asymmetries, and our theory should therefore be able to derive all of them.