The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, January 16th, 2023

Grishin published in Glossa

We are delighted to announce the publication in Glossa of (dissertating student) Peter Grishin’s paper “Omnivorous third person agreement in Algonquian”.  Congratulations Peter!! Here’s the abstract:

I argue that third person is not underspecified: there must be a distinct third person feature. I add to the existing body of morphological arguments for this conclusion (Nevins 2007; Trommer 2008, a.o.) a syntactic argument: I show that there is omnivorous third person agreement in Algonquian languages. I focus here on two, Blackfoot (Plains Algonquian) and Plains Cree (Central Algonquian), demonstrating that they have an agreement suffix (the peripheral suffix, analyzed as a probe in C) that indexes the number, animacy, and obviation of the structurally-highest third person argument, skipping over first and second person if it has to. I argue that alternative analyses of this agreement pattern in terms of animacy, obviation, and the categorial feature [D] do not work; thus, third person must be specified even in the syntax (contra Preminger 2019).

Glossa is an open-access journal so everyone can access the paper here: https://www.glossa-journal.org/article/id/8874/



The 53rd annual meeting of the North East Linguistics Society was held at the University of Göttingen on January 12-14, 2023. Here are the presentations made by current MIT linguists:

  • Ido Benbaji (4th year), Omri Doron (4th year) and Adèle Hénot-Mortier (4th year): Distinguishing levels of morphological derivations in world-embedding models
  • Janek Guerrini (visiting student): Keeping ‘fake’ simple: a similarity-based theory
  • Ido Benbaji (4th year) and David Pesetsky (faculty): E-extension and the Uniformity of Silence
  • Peter Grishin (5th year): How to covertly move: Evidence from Passamaquoddy-Wolastoqey
  • Haoming Li (1st year): The Syntax and Semantics of Asymmetrical ATB Wh-constructions in Mandarin Chinese
  • Zhouyi Sun: Mixed probe, competing for licensing and information-structural neutrality in Shiluk

Other recent alumni who presented their work include:

  • Bronwyn M. Bjorkman (Phd 2011), Elizabeth Cowper, Daniel Currie Hall, Daniel Siddiqi and Isabelle Boyer: Limits on pronominal gender: A semantic account of a morphologicla pattern
  • Carol Rose Little, Scott Anderbois and Jessica Coon (PhD 2010): The iota type-shifter in headless relative clauses: Implications from Mayan 
  • Andrew Nevins (PhD 2005) and Diane Stoianov: Word Order and Differential Object Marking in Three Cohorts of CENA Signers
  • Yağmur Sağ & Ömer Demirok (PhD 2019): Getting even without “even” in Turkish
  • Coppe van Urk (PhD 2015) and Adam Chong: On the preference for nonconcatenative morphology in Dinka
  • Jessica Coon (PhD 2010) and Martina Martinović: Predication, Specification, and Equation in Ch’ol
  • Gaurav Mathur (PhD 2000) and Christian Rathmann: Constraints on interactions between morphological processes and gesture in signed languages 
  • Suzana Fong (PhD 2021): Pronouncing PRO in Wolof
  • Michela Ippolito (PhD 2002): The Hell Bias
  • Aron Hirsch (PhD 2017) and Bernhard Schwarz: Type disambiguation and logical strength