The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LingLunch (12/1) — Norvin Richards (MIT)

Speaker: Norvin Richards (MIT)

Title: Finding Something to Lean On

Date & Time: Thursday 12/1, 12:30—:40PM

Location: 32-D461, https://mit.zoom.us/j/96057548137


A number of conditions have the effect that certain phrases are required to end with their heads (even in languages in which heads are not generally required to be final).  One such condition is the Head-Final Filter of Williams (1982), which requires APs modifying nouns to end in A:
1.  a proud (*of her daughter) woman
2.  a tough (*to solve completely) problem
Another condition, applying to languages in which nominal complements and APs both follow the noun, requires AP to immediately follow the noun (Giurgea 2009, Adger 2012, Belk and Neeleman 2017).  Adger (2012) gives the following Scottish Gaelic examples:
3.  an dealbh mòr brèagha [de Mhàiri]
  the picture big beautiful [of Mary]
4.  *an dealbh [de Mhàiri] mòr brèagha
A third such condition is the FOFC of Holmberg (2000), Biberauer et al (2014), and much other work, which bans a head-final phrase from having a head-initial phrase as its complement.  The complement of the head-final phrase, like the AP in (1-2) and the material preceding AP in (3-4), must end in its head.
In this talk I will outline an account of requirements of this kind, using conditions independently developed in Contiguity Theory (Richards 2010, 2016).  One of the goals will be, not only to account for the patterns described above, but to capture the exceptions; the existing literature on the FOFC, for example, has uncovered a number of apparent counterexamples, and the Head-final Filter is quite widespread but has some well-known exceptions (including Greek and Russian).​