Speaker: Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine Title: Focus and reconstruction Time: Monday, 12-1:30 Room: 66-148
The focus operator ‘only’ must c-command its focus associate at LF, and therefore cannot associate with material which has moved out of its scope. In most cases, this is true even if scope reconstruction of the moved associate into a position under ‘only’s scope at LF is independently possible. I will discuss various potential solutions to this puzzle, and their own problems. Audience participation welcome.
Speaker: Juliet Stanton
Title: Factorial typology and accentual faithfulness
Date/Time: Monday, Mar 3, 5:30pm
(This is a practice talk for WCCFL.)
In many languages, the phonology of morphologically complex words is influenced by their morphological composition. This influence can be manifested as accentual faithfulness, where the stress of a complex word resembles the stress of its base or another related word. The question I address is the following: what types of constraints evaluate accentual faithfulness? I show that a modified version of Benua’s (1997) theory of Base-Derivative (BD) correspondence models accentual faithfulness effects in a large group of accentually similar Australian languages, and makes accurately restrictive predictions regarding the broader typology of BD correspondence.
Speaker: Laura Grestenberger (Harvard)
Title: Two voice mismatch puzzles in Sanskrit and Greek
Date/Time: Tuesday, Mar 4, 1-2p
Sanskrit and Greek both have binary voice systems in which active morphology alternatives with non-active (middle) morphology. In this talk I will present two problems in the morphosyntax of these languages, both of which concern exponence of voice morphology in unexpected syntactic environments (“voice mismatches”).
The first one comes from deponent verbs, which take non-active morphology, but syntactically and semantically behave exactly like active agentive verbs. The second problem arises in contexts in which a distinct passive morpheme is available. Contrary to what is expected in standard approaches to Voice, this passive morpheme obligatorily co-occurs with middle morphology (Sanskrit) or active morphology (Greek). I propose that both puzzles can be solved by adopting an approach in which only active and middle are values of vP, while passive is a distinct functional head. In this approach, only passive is valency-changing, while active/middle are sensitive to their syntactic environment but do not operate on it. I will show that this predicts the distribution of active and middle morphology in languages like Sanskrit and Greek, as well as where potential mismatches can occur.
Speaker: Ted Gibson
Title: A pragmatic account of complexity in definite Antecedent-Contained-Deletion relative clauses
Date/Time: Thursday, Mar 6, 12:30-1:45p
(Joint work with Pauline Jacobson, Peter Graff, Kyle Mahowald, Evelina Fedorenko, and Steven T. Piantadosi.)
Hackl, Koster-Hale & Varvoutis (2012; HKV) provide data that suggest that in a null context, antecedent-contained-deletion (ACD) relative clause structures modifying a quantified object noun phrase (NP; such as every doctor) are easier to process than those modifying a definite object NP (such as the doctor). HKV argue that this pattern of results supports a “quantifier-raising” (QR) analysis of both ACD structures and quantified NPs in object position: under the account they advocate, both ACD resolution and quantified NPs in object position require movement of the object NP to a higher syntactic position. The processing advantage for quantified object NPs in ACD is hypothesized to derive from the fact that – at the point where ACD resolution must take place – the quantified NP has already undergone QR whereas this is not the case for definite NPs. Although in other work it is shown that HKV’s reading time analyses are flawed, such that the critical effects are not significant (Gibson, Mahowald & Piantadosi, submitted), the effect in HKV’s acceptability rating is robust. But HKV’s interpretation is problematic. We present five experiments that provide evidence for an alternative, pragmatic, explanation for HKV’s observation. In particular, we argue that the low acceptability of the the / ACD condition is largely due to a strong pressure in the null context to use a competing form, by adding also or same. This pressure does not exist with quantified NPs either because the competing form is absent (*every same) or because the addition of also actually degrades the sentence. In support of this interpretation, we show that the difference between the the / ACD and every / ACD conditions (a) persists even when the relative clause contains no ellipsis and thus nothing is forcing QR; (b) disappears when either also or same is added; and (c) disappears in supportive contexts. Together, these findings show that HKV’s QR hypothesis should be rejected in favor of a pragmatic account.
Speaker: Aron Hirsch
Title: Covert vs. overt exhaustification and polarity mismatch
Date/Time: Monday, February 24, 12-1:30p Location: 66-148
When can the answer to a constituent question be interpreted as exhaustive, and when can’t it? This paper establishes a link between exhaustivity and polarity, both for covert exhaustification with exh and overt exhaustification with only. I report two sets of experimental data. Exp. 1 shows that an answer can be parsed with exh only if it and the question match in polarity (following Spector 2005, Uegaki 2013): (1/2a) can be interpreted exhaustively; (1/2b) can only be interpreted as partial answers.
(1) Which of the officers have a beard? a. (exh) Ryan has a beard. b. (*exh) Ryan doesn’t have a beard. c. Only Ryan doesn’t have a beard.
(2) Which of the officers don’t have a beard? a. (exh) Ryan doesn’t have a beard. b. (*exh) Ryan does have a beard. c. Only Ryan does have a beard.
Exp. 2 shows that only has a less restricted distribution than exh, but still shows subtle effects of polarity-sensitivity: only can exhaustify an answer which mismatches the question in polarity, (1/2c), but only if the dialog takes place in the right kind of context. I argue that exh and only both carry a presupposition which requires polarity match. When only occurs with polarity-mismatch, a question of the opposite polarity to the question actually asked is accommodated. I claim that accommodation incurs a cost that economy considerations regulate. Economy differentiates between exh and only, as well as between different contexts with only to predict the full distribution of the operators.
Speaker: Michelle Fullwood
Title: Asymmetric correlations between English verb transitivity and stress
Date/Time: Monday, Feb 24, 5:30p
It is well-known that lexical categories affect phonological behavior (Smith 2011). Perhaps the best-known example is that English disyllabic nouns are likely to be trochaic (94%), while disyllabic verbs are likely to be iambic (69%) (Chomsky & Halle 1968, Kelly & Bock 1988). In this talk, I will show that the asymmetry goes further: English disyllabic intransitive verbs are more likely to be trochaic than transitive verbs, even after controlling for morphological category and syllabic profile. I then explore possible explanations for the asymmetry and sketch a grammar that, based on the influence of prosodic environments, would result in the observed stress patterns.
Speaker: Norvin Richards
Title: Contiguity Theory and Pied-Piping
Date/Time: Tuesday, Feb 25, 1-2p
Cable (2007, 2010) argues, on the basis of data from Tlingit, that wh-questions involve three participants: an interrogative C, a wh-word, and a head Q, which is visible in Tlingit but invisible in English. In Cable’s account, QP standardly dominates the wh-word, and wh-movement is always of QP. The question of how much material pied-pipes under wh-movement, on Cable’s account, is essentially a question about the distribution of QP. Cable offers several conditions and parameters governing the distribution of QP.
I will try to derive Cable’s conditions on the distribution of QP from Contiguity Theory, a series of proposals about the interaction of syntax with phonology that I have been developing in recent work.
Time: Thursday, February 27, 5-6:30 Place: 32-D831 Speaker: Leon Bergen Title: Pragmatic reasoning as semantic inference
A number of recent proposals have used techniques from game theory to formalize Gricean pragmatic reasoning (Franke, 2011; Jäger, 2013). In this talk, I will discuss two phenomena that pose fundamental challenges to game-theoretic accounts of pragmatics. The first are manner implicatures, such as the following contrast (Horn, 1984):
1) a. John started the car. b. John got the car started.
While both sentences are (plausibly) truth-conditionally equivalent, 1b. receives a marked interpretation due to its more complex form. The second set of phenomena are embedded implicatures which violate Hurford’s constraint (Hurford, 1974; Chierchia, Fox, & Spector, 2009):
2) a. Some of the students passed the test. b. Some or all of the students passed the test. c. Some or most of the students passed the test.
Standard game-theoretic models do not have the resources to explain the contrast between 2b. and c., as these sentences differ neither in their semantic content nor in their syntactic complexity. In order to account for these phenomena, I propose a realignment of the division between semantic content and pragmatic content. Under this proposal, the semantic content of an utterance is not fixed independent of pragmatic inference; rather, pragmatic inference partially determines an utterance’s semantic content. This technique, called lexical uncertainty, derives both M-implicatures and the relevant embedded implicatures, and preserves the derivations of more standard implicatures.
Speaker: Hedde Zeijlstra (University of Goettingen) Title: Universal Quantifier NPIs and PPIs: Evidence for a convergent view on the landscape of polarity-sensitive elements Date/Time: Thursday Feb. 27, 12:30-1:45p Location: 32-D461
Most known NPIs and PPIs, such as NPI/PPI quantifiers over individuals (like the any and some-series in English) are existentials/indefinites and never universal quantifiers. No PPI or NPI meaning ‚everybody’ or ‚everything’ has been reported. However, in the domain of modals, the picture seems to be reverse. Most attested NPIs and PPIs are universal quantifiers (cf. Homer t.a., Iatridou & Zeijlstra 2013) . Why have Positive Polarity Items that are universal quantifiers only been attested in the domain of modal auxiliaries and never in the domain of quantifiers over individuals? I first argue that universal quantifier PPIs actually do exist, both in the domain of quantifiers over individuals and in the domain of quantifiers over possible worlds, as is predicted by the Kadman & Landman (1993) – Krifka (1995) – Chierchia (2006. 2013) approach to NPI-hood. However, since the covert exhaustifier that according to Chierchia (2006, 2013) is induced by these PPIs (and responsible for their PPI-hood) can act as an intervener between the PPI and its anti-licenser, universal quantifier PPIs often appear in disguise; their PPI-like behaviour only becomes visible once they morpho-syntactically precede their anti-licenser. A conclusion of this paper is that Dutch iedereen (‚everybody’), opposite to English everybody, is actually a PPI. A second claim made in this paper is that universal quantifier modals that are NPIs are so because they have a lexical requirement that requires some abstract negation to be spelled out elsewhere in the structure (after Postal 2000). The question as to why NPIs that result from this mechanism only surface in the domain of modal auxiliaries and not elsewhere is due to their particular syntactic properties and the way how this lexical/syntactic requirement is acquired. Most discussion on the nature of NPIs and PPIs concerns two questions: (i) why are such elements are sensitive to the polarity of the clauses they appear in; and (ii) what is the range of variation in their licensing contexts? The general conclusion of this talk is that different NPIs/PPIs of different strengths are only superficially similar and that the underlying reasons as to why they are NPIs/PPIs can be quite different: some ill-licensed NPIs/PPIs give rise to contradictory assertions, whereas others violate syntactic or lexical requirements.
Speaker: Coppe van Urk
Title: Intermediate movement is regular movement: Evidence from Dinka
Date/Time: Tuesday, Feb 18, 12-1p (Note special time)
One problem in a derivational view of syntax is how intermediate steps of a successive-cyclic movement are triggered. To deal with this, several authors have suggested that intermediate movement is a special operation, not triggered like regular movement, either because it is not feature-driven or because it happens at a different point in the derivation (e.g. Heck and Mu ̈ller 2000, 2003; Chomsky 2000). This talk brings facts from Dinka (Nilotic; South Sudan) to bear on this issue, a language in which the left periphery interacts morphosyntactically with A ‘-movement in a number of ways. I show that, in these interactions, intermediate movement behaves just like regular movement. In particular, both consistently feed phi-agreement. I argue that this similarity can be captured if terminal and intermediate movement are established in the same way, and are feature-driven (Chomsky 1995; McCloskey 2002; Preminger 2011; Abels 2012).
Speaker: Takashi Morita
Title: Prominence correspondence
Date/Time: Tuesday, Feb 18, 5:30p (Note special date)
Prominent phonological units are likely to appear in metrically prominent positions. For instance, syllables with a more sonorous nucleus tend to constitute the head of a foot, receiving stress (de Lacy, 2002a,b, 2004; Kenstowicz, 1997). Likewise, high-toned syllables, considered more prominent than low- toned ones, tend to be placed in foot-head positions (de Lacy, 2002b).It has been suggested that syllables, just as feet, also contain a metrically prominent position: the first mora of their nucleus by default (Kager, 1993). Syllable-internal metrical prominence gives an explanation for preference of falling diphthongs over rising diphthongs. Given a language with the default falling metrical prominence contour, rising diphthongs in the language cause disagreement between metrical prominence and sonority; sonority rises in the diphthongs while metrical prominence falls in the domain. This is a motivation that syllable-internal metrical prominence also requires sonority to correspond just as in feet. Since sonority is sensitive to metrical prominence in both feet and syllables, tone, whose relation to foot-internal metrical prominence has been reported (de Lacy, 2002b), is also expected to be associated with syllable-internal metrical prominence. The present paper provides detailed evidence from Tokyo Japanese (TJ) for the mora-level correspondence between tone and metrical prominence, and gives an formal analysis of it within the framework of Optimality Theory (OT) (Prince and Smolensky, 1993/2004). Based on this evidence, we can com- plete the claim that metrical prominence, segmental prominence (or sonority), and tonal prominence must all agree, or at least must not disagree.
Speaker: Wataru Uegaki Title: Emotive factives and the semantics of question-embedding Date/Time: Monday, Feb 10, 12:00pm Room: 66-148
At least since Karttunen (1977), it has been observed that emotive factives such as “surprise”, “amaze” and “annoy” exhibit puzzling embedding behavior. As in (1) below, they embed declaratives and constituent wh-complements, but don’t embed polar questions (PolQs) and alternative questions (AltQs).
(1) a. It is surprising that they served coffee for breakfast. (declarative) b. It is surprising what they served for breakfast. (constituent question) c. *It is surprising whether they serve breakfast. (PolQ) d. *It is surprising whether they served coffee or tea for breakfast. (AltQ)
This fact poses an interesting challenge for the semantics of question-embedding. First of all, since this embedding behavior holds across predicates of similar intuitive semantic class cross-linguistically (e.g., German, French and Japanese), it is desirable if it can be derived from the semantics of these predicates, rather than from idiosyncratic selection restrictions. However, in the standard treatment of question-embedding, where embedded questions are converted to some form of their answer, it is not clear why emotive factives are incompatible with PolQs and AltQs. This is so because there is no semantic anomaly in the predicted truth-conditions of surprise + PolQ/AltQ sentences: ‘x is surprised by the answer of whether p’ or ‘x is surprised by the answer of whether p or q’.
In this talk, I propose a solution to this puzzle employing the independently established distinction between strongly exhaustive and weakly exhaustive readings of questions (Heim 1984; Beck & Rullmann 1999). According to the proposal, a strongly exhaustive reading is ruled out in questions embedded under emotive factives as it would violate a principle similar to Strongest Meaning Hypothesis (Dalrymple et al. 1998). On the other hand, AltQs and PolQs are inherently strongly exhaustive (George 2011, Nicolae 2013), which conflicts with the requirement against strong exhaustivity under the relevant predicates. After giving the detailed account of the embedding behavior of emotive factives, I lay out the general typology of attitude predicates that the proposed view entails, and discuss some open issues.
Phonology Circle will meet on Mondays at 5pm in 32-D831 this semester. Today’s meeting will be an organizational one to plan the schedule. Please contact Michael Kenstowicz if you cannot attend but would like to reserve a date.
There is no Syntax Square meeting this week. Please contact the organizers, Mia Nussbaum and Michelle Yuan, if you would like to present. The following dates are still open: Feb 25, Apr 1, Apr 8, May 6, and May 13.
Speaker: Elena Anagnostopoulou (University of Crete) Title: Approaching the PCC from German Date/Time: Thursday Feb. 13, 12:30-1:45p Location: 32-D461
“In this talk, I focus on a lesser known/studied case arguably falling under the PCC, namely PCC with weak pronouns, addressing some issues one is confronted with in an attempt to characterize the phenomenon. Based on previous research (Anagnostopoulou 2008), I present evidence that the weak PCC does arise in German, contra Cardinaletti (1999), Haspelmath (2004), under two conditions: (i) The PCC arises only when weak pronouns occur in the Wackernagel position. (ii) In addition, the subject must follow the weak pronoun cluster in order for the effect to become visible. I explore how the weak PCC can be analyzed in German, pointing to some questions concerning a) the relative order of Wackernagel pronouns, and from there to clitics showing the PCC in Romance and to other weak pronouns in Germanic languages and b) the order of the subject relative to the pronouns showing PCC effects.”
The ESSL will be meeting this Thursday at 5:00 PM in the 8th floor seminar room. We will be having an informal discussion of Kent Johnson’s paper “Gold’s Theorem and cognitive science”. The paper and discussion should appeal to anyone with an interest in language acquisition or learnability. The conversation will be most useful if as many people as possible have read the paper, so if you are interested in participating, please use the Stellar website for the ESSL (https://stellar.mit.edu/S/project/hackl-lab/index.html) for access to this paper, as well as Gold’s original paper. If you are unable to access the Stellar site, please contact Erin Olson, ESSL Lab Manager (email@example.com) or Martin Hackl (firstname.lastname@example.org). Dinner will be provided.
Speaker: Elena Anagnostopoulou (University of Crete)
Title: Decomposing adjectival/ stative passives
Time: Friday February 14th, 3:30-5pm
This talk argues for a decomposition analysis of different types of adjectival/stative passives in terms of the following domains (Kratzer 1996, Marantz 2001, Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou & Schäfer 2006, forthcoming, Ramchand 2010 and others):
(1) [VoiceP [vP [ResultP ]]]
I focus on the distribution of Voice in adjectival/stative passives. Three views have been expressed in the literature:
a) Adjectival/stative passives never contain Voice (Kratzer 1994, 1996, Embick 2004).
b) Adjectival/stative passives sometimes contain Voice (Anagnostopoulou 2003).
c) Adjectival/stative passives always contain Voice (McIntyre 2013, Bruening to appear).
The diagnostics I employ for Voice are by-phrases, instruments, agent-oriented and manner adverbs and crucially not the Disjointness Restriction (Kratzer 1994 building on Baker, Johnson & Roberts 1989), which is linked to the type of passive hidden in the structure (passive vs. middle; Spathas, Alexiadou & Schäfer 2013, Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou & Schäfer, forthcoming).
On the basis of these diagnostics, I argue that stative passives may contain Voice in all languages under investigation, and parametrization in the properties of Voice should be traced to the nature of the underlying event: specific event (Greek, Russian, Swedish; Anagnostopoulou 2003, Paslawska & von Stechow 2003, Larsson 2009) or event kind (English, German; Gehrke 2011).
I furthermore argue that Kratzer’s (2000) resultant state vs. target state dichotomy is important for understanding the distribution of Voice and, more generally, for understanding the properties and architecture of stative passives within and across languages. The stativizing morpheme may embed Voice only in resultant state adjectival passives and not in target state adjectival passives (Anagnostopoulou 2003). In target state adjectival passives, Voice, when present, is necessarily external to the stativized vP. I present evidence from verb classes in favor of the claim that target state passives systematically lack Voice and offer a potential reason for why Voice is absent in target state passives based on a phenomenon of coercion of participles formed by manner verbs from resultant-/manner to target-state/result readings. This phenomenon has implications for our understanding of “manners”, “results” and the “manner-result complementarity hypothesis” (Rappaport Hovav & Levin 1998, 2008 and related literature).
The colloquium series talks are held on Fridays at 3:30pm. Please check the Colloquium webpage for any updates.
February 7: Raj Singh, Carleton
February 14: Elena Anagnostopoulou, University of Crete
March 14: Marcel den Dikken, CUNY
March 27: Sharon Inkelas, UC Berkeley
April 4: Adamantios Gafos, Haskins Laboratories, Universität Potsdam
April 25: Richard Kayne, NYU
May 2: Matthew Gordon, UCSB
May 9: Julie Legate, UPenn
Syntax Square will continue at its regularly scheduled time on Tuesdays 1-2pm in 32-D461. The organizers for the term are Mia Nussbaum and Michelle Yuan. The following dates are open for presentaton: Feb 11, 25, Mar 18, Apr 1, 8, May 6 and 13. Please contact the organizers to claim a date.
LFRG will be kicking off the semester with an organizational meeting in the 8th floor conference room on Thursday, February 6 at 5 PM.
Ling-Lunch, the weekly informal talk series for all linguistics topics will be held at its usual time and location (Thursdays 12:30pm, 32-D461) this semester. The first talk is scheduled for this week and will be by Danny Fox. The organizers are Juliet Stanton and Athulya Aravind. Please contact them to reserve a presentaton spot — they report that the following dates are still open: Feb 20, 27, Mar 6, 13, Apr 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8, and 15.
Speaker: Danny Fox (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem / MIT)
Title: Extraposition and scope: evidence for deeply embedded late merge
Date/Time: Thursday, Feb 6, 12:30-1:45p
In this talk I will address various puzzles that pertain to the syntactic and semantic representations associated with ‘extraposition from NP’. I will argue for a resolution of these puzzles based on the assumption that “late merge” (of the sort postulated by Lebeaux and further motivated by Fox and Nissenbaum) can apply in deeply embedded positions.
Speaker: Raj Singh (Carleton)
Title: Implicature and free-choice signatures: embedding, processing complexity, and child development
Time: Friday February 7th, 3:30-5pm
Scalar implicatures are inferences that strengthen what is sometimes called the “basic meaning” of the sentence:
(1) John ate some of the cookies
(1a) Basic Meaning: that John ate some, possibly all, of the cookies
(1b) Scalar Implicature: that John did not eat all of the cookies
(1c) Strengthened Meaning: that John ate some but not all of the cookies (BM + SI)
This strengthening has been shown to generate various detectable “signatures,” some of which are highlighted in (2):
(2) SI Signatures
(2a) SIs tend to disappear in DE environments (e.g., the restrictor of “every”).
(2b) SIs are detectable, but not very robust, in non-DE environments (e.g., the scope of “every”).
(2c) SIs are processed slow: (1a) is processed faster than (1c) (cf. Bott & Noveck, 2004; and much work since).
(2d) SIs show up late in acquisition: There is a stage of development at which children behave as if they assign (1a) to (1) but do not assign (1c) to (1) (cf. Noveck, 2001; and much work since).
So-called “free-choice” inferences, exemplified in (3), have been shown to also disappear in negative environments. Taking this to be one of the signatures of an SI (cf. (2a)), it has been argued that free-choice inferences should be derived in the cognitive system that computes SIs (e.g.,Kratzer & Shimoyama, 2002; Schulz, 2005; Alonso-Ovalle, 2005).
(3) John may eat the cookies or the pie
(3a) Basic Meaning: that John is allowed to eat one, and possibly both, of the cookies and the pie
(3b) Free-Choice: that John is allowed to eat the cookies and he is allowed to eat the pie
In stark contrast with the SI in (1), however, free-choice (3b) is not processed slower than (3)’s basic meaning (3a) (cf. (2c); Chemla & Bott, 2014), and free-choice (3b) is preferred to the basic meaning (3a) in positive embeddings, such as in the nuclear scope of “every” (cf. (2b); Chemla, 2009).
In this talk, I present evidence that free-choice and SIs also have diverging developmental signatures (cf. (2d)). Specifically, I present evidence that children (3;9-6;4, M = 4;11) compute conjunctive free-choice SIs for disjunctive sentences (reporting on joint work with Ken Wexler, Andrea Astle, Deepthi Kamawar, and Danny Fox). Our finding replicates earlier results showing that children often interpret disjunctions as if they were conjunctions (Paris, 1973; Braine and Rumain, 1981), and extends this to embedding in the scope of “every.” We argue that this conjunctive SI follows from: (i) Katzir’s (2007) theory of alternatives in the steady state, (ii) the assumption that children differ from adults by not accessing the lexicon when generating alternatives, and (iii) Fox’s (2007) mechanism for free-choice computation in the steady state. We further provide evidence that children at this stage of development share the adult preference for free-choice SIs in matrix and embedded positions.
These data raise the challenge of explaining why free-choice and SIs both disappear in negative environments but differ with respect respect to developmental trajectories, embeddability, and processing complexity (see Chemla & Singh, 2014 for generalizations to other scalar items). I will explore strategies for addressing this challenge.
Speaker: Morgan Sonderegger (McGill)
Title: Phonetic and phonological variation on reality television: dynamics and interspeaker variation
Date/Time: Monday, Dec 9, 5:30p
This talk examines two types of variability in phonetics and phonology about which relatively little is known: (1) the dynamics of the accents of individuals from day to day, and (2) differences among speakers of the same language in the structure of variability. We examine a number of variables (focusing on VOT and t/d deletion) in a corpus of spontaneous speech from a setting which is particularly well-suited to examining (1) and (2) — a British reality television show (Big Brother UK) where individuals live in a house with no outside contact for three months — using statistical models of synchronic variability across speakers, and dynamics within individual speakers. Speakers show several qualitatively different types of dynamics; the most common types are day-by-day variability and absolute stability in the use of a variable. There is a surprising degree of variability across speakers in the quantitative strength of each variable’s conditioning factors, e.g. the effect of place of articulation on VOT. However, nearly all speakers show the same qualitative effects of each conditioning factor (e.g., bilabials < velars for VOT). We discuss the relevance of these findings for theories of language change, phonetics, and phonology, as well as directions for future work with this corpus.
Speaker: Sandrien van Ommen (Utrecht Institute of Linguistics, OTS) (joint study with Rene Kager)
Date/Time: Friday, Dec 13, 3 pm (please note unusual time)
Title: Language-specific metrical segmentation in Dutch, Turkish, Polish and Hungarian
With the current study we investigated the role of stress as a boundary marker in processing. Previous studies have shown that listeners interpret stressed or strong syllables as potential word-beginnings in a.o. English (Cutler & Norris, 1988), and Dutch (Quené & Koster, 1998; Vroomen & de Gelder, 1995). This is interpreted as evidence for the Metrical Segmentation Hypothesis, which predicts that listeners have and use a parsing ability based on edge-aligned stress. Unfortunately, most empirical evidence supporting this hypothesis comes from languages with (statistically dominant) word-initial stress. Evidence for a facilitatory effect of right-edge aligned stress is sparse and inconclusive (see a.o. Toro-Soto et al., 2007, Cunillera et al. 2008, Kabak et al., 2010). We designed a cross-linguistic experiment to address the question of language-specificity in metrical segmentation. In this experiment, we measured response latencies in a non-word spotting task with six different metrical conditions. The participants were speakers of Dutch (penultimate word-stress, variable), Polish (penultimate word-stress, fixed), Turkish (word-final stress, variable) and Hungarian (word-initial stress, fixed).
Besides finding the expected overall effect of facilitation of the native canonical stress pattern in (non-)word segmentation, we conclude to have found a language-specific anticipitory use of stress in segmentation. Furthermore, the results invite us to further investigate the role of peripherality and variability of stress in processing. To gain more insight into what role these factors may have, we recently started designing a computational model for the acquisition and use of metrical patterns. This is a very recent and tentative project that we welcome discussion on.
Speaker: Yusuke Imanishi
Title: Default ergative: A story of Ixil
Date/Time: Tuesday, Dec 3, 1-2p
I will discuss the unexpected emergence of the ergative in intransitive clauses of Ixil (Mayan). This occurs when an instrumental phrase is fronted to a clause-initial position (Ayres 1983, 1991; Yasugi 2012). I will argue that the intransitive subject receives ergative Case as syntactic default Case because it would be otherwise Case-less. It will be shown that a fronted instrumental phrase blocks the assignment of absolutive Case to the intransitive subject. In other words, the unexpected instance of the ergative indicates failure of absolutive Case assignment. To formulate this analysis, I will propose (i) a model of default ergative Case assignment and (ii) the Absolutive Case Parameter in Mayan (cf. Aldridge 2004, 2008; Legate 2008; Coon et al. 2012).
Speaker: Juliet Stanton
Title: Constraints on English preposition stranding
Date/Time: Thursday, Dec 5, 12:30-1:45p
In this talk, I discuss an asymmetry in English preposition stranding, illustrated by the following contrasts:
(1) Which bench were you sitting on?
Which holiday do you eat lamb on?
(2) Not a single bench will I ever sit on.
*Not a single holiday will I ever eat lamb on.
I show that the ability of a given preposition (P) to be stranded is partially dependent on whether or not P accepts a pronoun as its complement, i.e. whether or not P is an antipronominal context (Postal 1998). Certain A-bar extractions permit stranding of antipronominal Ps, while others do not.
I extend the theory of wholesale late merger (Takahashi 2006, Takahashi & Hulsey 2009) and propose that while a subset of A-bar extractions obligatorily leave full copies in the base position, others don’t. I show that this proposal derives the observed restrictions on P-stranding, and present some additional evidence in support of the analysis.
Speaker: Gillian Ramchand (University of Tromsø/CASTL)
Time: Friday December 6th, 3:30-5pm
Title: Minimalism and Cartography (joint work with Peter Svenonius)
While many current syntacticians have felt queasy about embracing the full extent and number of the functional decompositions as proposed in classic cartography (e.g. Cinque 1999), we believe that cartography in the broad sense is essential for any generative theory - it consists in establishing what the category labels of the symbolic system are, how they are hierarchically organized, and how rigidly. We too find it implausible that extremely fine-grained functional sequences of highly abstract heads with no deterministic relationship to compositional semantics is either universal or innate. However, we do think that the parts of the functional sequence that are universal and driven by innate mechanisms are directly related to pressure from the interfaces, and in particular to the facts about human concept formation. So we will push a strong semantically grounded thesis about why templatic effects of a certain sort emerge. It is an empirical question how fine-grained the universal spine is (cf. also Wiltschko, to appear), although we suspect with Wiltschko that it is rather abstract. In this talk I will first outline the basis for a methodological reconciliation between the practice and results of cartography, and more minimalistic pressures to explain and ground the complex ordering effects we see on the surface. Secondly, I will exemplify with a case study. Using the domain of English auxiliary orders, I argue that one cannot ignore the detailed mapping evidence, and that understanding it is crucial to making progress on the more theoretical questions of universality vs. language particularity, locality effects/phases, and the mapping to the cognitive-intentional systems of mind/brain.
In this talk therefore, I will offer entertainment both for those who like to talk about the ‘big picture’ and and for those who like to get their hands dirty: (i) an articulation of distinctive kind of research programme which many are actually embarked on but which needs a name and some more visibility, (ii) a novel compositional semantic take on aspectual auxiliaries and the modal circumstantial/epistemic distinction and (iii) a new perspective on ‘affix’-hopping.
Speaker: Juliet Stanton
Title: Factorial typology and accentual faithfulness
Date/Time: Monday, Nov 25, 5:30p
I investigate the nature of accentual faithfulness constraints and their rankings relative to markedness constraints, starting from an analysis of stress in 23 Pama-Nyungan (PN) and neighboring Australian aboriginal languages (e.g. Pintupi, Diyari, Warlpiri). In many of these systems, unsuffixed forms are stressed identically, but suffixed forms differ according to the type of paradigmatic uniformity effect observed. The proposed account differs from prior work (e.g. Crowhurst 1994, Kager 1997, Kenstowicz 1998) as it does not appeal to feet and uses directional base-derivative (BD) identity constraints (Benua 1997) to model cyclic effects.
Predictions of the constraint set are explored through a factorial typology. To constrain the typology’s predictions, I introduce the visibility hypothesis: constraints backed by positive evidence from frequent forms dominate constraints that lack such evidence. Integrating the visibility hypothesis into the factorial typology results in accurately restrictive predictions for the typology of stress-morphology interactions.
Speaker: Ryo Masuda
Title: The morphophonology of verb doubling in Chechen/Ingush
Date/Time: Monday, Nov 18, 5:30p
As described by Conathan & Good (2001) and Nichols (2011), Chechen and Ingush (Northeast Caucasian) exhibit a case of word-level reduplication, henceforth verb doubling, in which the presence of a clause chaining clitic ‘a on a simple intransitive verb triggers insertion of an infinitival form of the verb (1).
(1) Ahwmad sialxana wa ‘a wiina dwa-vaghara
Ahmed yesterday stay.INF & stay.ANT DEIX-go.WP
‘Ahmed, having stayed yesterday, left.’ (Chechen)
The doubling is blocked in complex verb constructions with a preverbal particle (2), object, or deictic marker in the verb phrase.
(2) Ahwmada, kiexat jaaz ‘a dina, zheina
Ahmed.ERG letter write & do.CVANT book read.PRES
‘Ahmed, having written a letter, reads a book.’ (Chechen)
I argue that this instance of verb doubling is a consequence of a prosodic requirement on the chaining clitic, namely to be enclitic to a non-final stressed element (cf. Good 2005). I then situate the Chechen/Ingush case within a larger body of clitic placement and verb doubling phenomena, whose accounts have included appeals to the syntactic component of the grammar (Franks and Bošković 2001), and discuss consequences for the syntax-phonology interface.
Speaker: Ruth Brillman
Title: Too tough to see
Date/Time: Tuesday, Nov 19, 1-2p
This talk argues for a deep syntactic similarity between gapped degree phrases (GDPs) and tough-constructions (TCs). Building on novel observations as well as previous findings (Akmajian 1972, a.o.), I argue that GDPs contain a tough-movement structure within them, plus an additional layer of syntactic structure particular to GDPs. I argue that TCs, and the TC core within GDPs, involve both an A-step and an A-bar step (cf. Hicks 2007, Hartman 2012). This explains the syntactic and semantic similarities and differences, between the two constructions.
Speaker: Aron Hirsch
Title: Presupposition projection and incremental processing in disjunction
Date/Time: Thursday, Nov. 21, 12:30-1:45p
Presupposition projection in conjunction shows asymmetries sensitive to the linear order of the conjuncts: presuppositions project cumulatively out of the first conjunct, and out of the second conjunct only if not entailed by the asserted content of the first conjunct. One possibility is that this asymmetry is linked to general processing considerations. This predicts similar asymmetries to be observable in complex sentences with other sentential connectives. A well-known counter-example is disjunction. The existence presupposition triggered by the definite description the bathroom does not project in (1) (Partee 2005), independent of order:
(1) Either there is no bathroom, or the bathroom is in a funny place.
Either the bathroom is in a funny place, or there is no bathroom.
The aim in this talk is to show that disjunction in fact does show linear order asymmetries consistent with conjunction, and is directly supportive of presupposition evaluation being integrated with incremental parsing.
We build the argument in three steps. (i) We identify a confound in (1) which interferes with projection in both orders, making (1) not a fair test case for global projective asymmetry (Gazdar 1979). (ii) We construct new examples which remove the confound, and show that to the extent that these elicit a stable intuition, the intuition is asymmetric. (iii) We report experimental results demonstrating that even with the confound in place, examples like (1) show traces of asymmetry at an intermediate stage of parsing, predicted by the processing account we advocate.
Faculty member Donca Steriade will be giving a talk at Harvard’s GSAS Workshop on Indo-European and Historical Linguistics this Friday.
Speaker: Donca Steriade
Title: Latin t-participles and t-derivatives: a new analysis
Date/Time: Friday, Nov 22, 4:30p
Location: Boylston Hall 103
Full abstract is available here (pdf).
Speaker: Dennis Ott (HU Berlin/MIT)
Title: Deletion in disjunct constituents
Date/Time: Thursday, Nov 14, 12:30-1:45p
Parenthesis has received little attention in linguistic theory, despite the fact that the phenomenon raises fundamental questions concerning the division of labor between “sentence grammar” and “discourse grammar.” Some researchers (e.g., Haegeman 1991, Espinal 1991, Peterson 1999) have argued tha parentheticals are syntactically “orphan” constituents (or “disjuncts”), and hence beyond the purview of syntax, whereas other approaches take the linear intercalation of parentheticals into their host clauses to be a sign of syntactic integration (e.g., Emonds 1976, Potts 2005, de Vries 2012). Integration analyses invariably rely on construction-specific machinery, hence imply a prima facie undesirable enrichment of UG. Non-restrictive appositives in particular are often taken to be syntactically integrated, either implicitly (Espinal 1991) or explicitly (Heringa 2012). In this talk, I contest this view and develop a novel argument for taking the relation between non-restrictive appositives and their host clauses to be non-syntactic (established in “discourse grammar”). Building on Burton-Roberts’ (2006) intuitive characterization of appositives as “reduplicative reformulations,” I show that appositive disjunct constituents are sentential fragments, derived by familiar mechanisms of PF-deletion (Merchant 2004, Ott & de Vries in press). Crucially, the fact that the antecedent of appositive-internal ellipsis is the host clause itself entails that deletion is antecedent-contained, and hence irresolvable, on the assumption that the appositive fragment is syntactically integrated into the host. Ellipsis being resolvable, appositives must be taken to be separately generated expressions whose linear insertion into the host is a matter of discourse/production rather than syntax proper.
Ruth writes: “There’s no Syntax Square this week. But never fear, the talk will regularly resume next Tuesday (with talks each week until the end of the semester!)”
Speaker: Coppe van Urk
Title: A’-movement, case and “marked nominative” in Dinka
Date/Time: Thursday, Nov 7, 12:30-1:45p
“In this talk, I examine a type of ”marked nominative” system that is found in many African languages (e.g. Koenig 2006, 2008), and has the following two characteristics:
1. Non-initial subjects occur in a morphosyntactically marked case, which may be used for obliques elsewhere.
2. Initial subjects are in the unmarked case, used also for objects and in default contexts.
This is an unusual system, both because of the case alternation and because the subject case described in (1) is unlike ergative (it shows no sensitivity to properties of the verb) and unlike nominative (it can be used to mark obliques).
I study ”marked nominative” in Dinka (Nilotic; South Sudan) and argue that it arises when C, and not T, is responsible for licensing the subject. I propose that, as a result of this, A’-movement may interfere with structural licensing of the subject. In this situation, an adposition may be merged directly with the subject, so that it requires no outside licensing, following Halpert’s (2012) treatment of augment morphology in Zulu. The presence of this adposition causes the subject to be look like an oblique. I show that this analysis makes sense of the Dinka pattern, and the profile of such ”marked nominative” systems in a diverse set of languages (Koenig 2006, 2008; Dimmendaal 2007).”
Speaker: Eduard Artes Cuenca (MIT/Barcelona)
Title: Valencian hypocoristics: when morphology meets phonology
Date/Time: Monday, Oct 28, 5:30pm
This talk aims to present evidence in favor of a grammar governed by strong interactions between morphology and phonology. Valencian hypocorostics demonstrate that the need to conform to certain prosodic patterns forces the insertion of morphologically meaningful vowels (inflectional exponents), i.e., ‘morphological epenthesis’ (Cardinaletti & Repetti 2008). Instead of creating new phonological material, the grammar chooses an exponent already listed in the lexicon, thus resorting to Lexical Conservatism (Steriade 1994).
Speaker: Pauline Jacobson (Brown)
Title: The Myth of Silent Linguistic Material
Date/Time: Thursday, Oct 31, 12:30-1:45p
The literature abounds with arguments for the claim that there is actual silent (or deleted) linguistic material in a variety of “ellipsis” constructions - call this the Silent Linguistic Material (SLM) hypothesis. While obviously not all such arguments can be deconstructed over lunch, this talk aims to show that the reasoning behind many of them is fallacious, and that there is no reason to think there is linguistic material which is silenced or deleted under identity.
First we begin with the broader question at issue. The reason for doubting the SLM hypothesis is not driven by a stubborn allergy to silent material; rather we will put this hypothesis in the context of Direct Compositionality. Direct compositionality (see, e.g., Montague’s English as a Formal Language) maintains that the syntax and semantics work in tandem locally building expressions and assigning them a meaning. While mapping an expression into a silent version of that expression can be done quite locally, what is difficult to reconcile with this architecture is the idea of material being silenced under some sort of identity with something else in the discourse context, as this kind of identity condition is not a local property of an expression. I will briefly mention alternative accounts of both fragment answers and VP Ellipsis that don’t make use of SLM, although time precludes details arguments for the alternatives. Here then I can only level the playing field and show that SLM has no real advantage.
The arguments for SLM to be considered (and deconstructed) here fall into two classes. The first is based on the idea that the “remnant” acts as if it were surrounded by additional material with respect to certain grammatical processes/generalizations. But I will show that this itself relies on non-direct compositional and non-local account of the relevant generalizations, and that for an interesting class of such cases there are indeed alternative accounts “on the market” which undermine the rationale for SLM. Moreover, facts about indexicals known about since at least as early as Hankamer and Sag (1984) make it clear that the requisite “identity” condition cannot be formal. But if that is the case, some of the arguments for SLM also collapse as they crucially assume formal identity. The second type of argument is often implicit but seems to underlie much of the reason that SLM seems at first glance like a commonsense view: this is that the “meaning” of constructions with ellipsis becomes trivial to account for if there is SLM. But we don’t know the actual meaning - only the likely understanding in a discourse context, so this view only makes sense if put in terms of processing. But I will argue that positing SLM makes the job of the processor no easier than not positing SLM. In fact, work on processing often (or at least occasionally) makes the mistake of assuming that there is SLM, that the processor has access to the quiet material, and that processing proceeds from there. In other words, some claims about the processing of ellipsis make sense only if the processor already knows what it meaning it is “trying” to compute. As a case study I will consider an argument from Hackl, Koster-Hale and Varvoutis (2010) concerning the interaction of ACD, processing, QR, and de re vs. de dicto readings. My discussion of this point is based on joint work with Ted Gibson, Ev Fedorenko, Steven Piantadosi and Peter Graff.
Speaker: Wataru Uegaki
Date/Time: Friday 1 November, 1 pm
Title: Exhaustive inferences and intonation-discourse congruence
[This is a revision of the talk I presented last semester at LFRG.]
It has been observed that an exhaustive inference (hereafter ExhInf) of question-answers arises only when the polarity of the answer matches that of the question (Schulz and van Rooij 2006; Spector 2007). E.g., although the answer “I will invite Sue” to the question “Who will you invite?” gives rise to the inference that Sue is the only person that the speaker will invite, the answer “I won’t invite Sue” to the same question does not readily give rise to the inference that Sue is the only person that the speaker will not invite (pace von Stechow and Zimmermann 1984).
Previous approaches to this phenomenon stipulate mechanisms that are specific to polarity (or monotonicity)-mismatching question-answer pairs (Schulz and van Rooij 2006; Spector 2007) and largely ignored the role of intonation. In this presentation, I provide an account of the phenomenon in terms of a general constraint on the alternatives to be used in the derivation of ExhInfs, taking into account the discourse structure modelled as a tree of Question under Discussions (Roberts 1996, Büring 2003). Specifically, the constraint states that the alternatives are restricted to be members of the Hamblin-denotation of the immediate QUD of the utterance (the mother of the utterance in terms of the discourse tree representation).
Taking a closer look at the data, we see that there is a restriction on the felicitous intonations in a polarity-mismatching answer. The only available intonation involves a contrastive topic intonation on the item corresponding to the wh and a focus intonation on the item indicating polarity. I argue that this reflects the general intonation-discourse interface conditions (in particular, Question-answer congruence and CT congruence by Rooth 1992, Büring 2003), and the uniquely available intonation reflects a discourse structure in which the wh-question is divided into multiple polar questions. Given the general constraint on alternatives stated above, such a discourse structure is predicted not to give rise to an exhaustive inference.
Speaker: Eric Reuland (Utrecht)
Date/Time: Friday November 1st, 3:30-5pm
Title: Why reflexivity is (not) so special
Cross-linguistically one sees a variety of ways in which languages express reflexivity. Languages use bodypart reflexives, self-anaphors, clitics, special verbal markings, but one also sees simplex anaphors, pronominals, and verb forms that have been characterized as ‘detransitivized’. The vast majority of languages does ‘something special’ to express reflexivity. In my talk I will address two major questions that keep intriguing me:
i. Why would this domain be special? Why would the prima facie simplest way to express reflexivity, namely a structure where the subject just binds an object pronominal (‘brute force’ reflexivization, BFR) be so generally avoided?
ii. Are there nevertheless commonalities underlying the various ways in which reflexivity is expressed, and if so what principles of grammar do they follow from?
For an answer, we need sufficiently detailed analyses of languages that prima facie exhibit non-standard properties. In this talk I will focus on the way reflexivity is expressed in languages of two rather different types, namely Tegi Khanty (an Uralic language), and Bahasa Indonesia (Malay), and related languages. I will show that each in its own way raises intriguing issues, from having locally bound pronominals to having multiple ways of expressing reflexivity.
I will briefly review some current approaches to binding, and show that despite their merits they are unable to capture and explain the patterns of variation we find. I will show how the facts discussed follow from the interplay between the effects of binding per se and independent properties of the grammatical system, along the lines proposed in Reuland (2011). Thus, what appeared to be special turns out to be not so special after all.
Date/Time: Monday, Oct 21, 5:30pm
Anthony Brohan: A case study in assimilation: The view from PBase
This talk will explore the hypothesis that the directionality of assimilation in a given language may be affected by typical stress location in a language. Data from PBase (Mielke 2008) and StressTyp (Goedmans et. al 1996) are used to develop a model of the characteristic behavior of features, which is then used to probe for directionality biases in languages based on stress systems. Second, a case study of lenition is presented, aiming to sharpen the findings of the stress/assimilation interaction. The “lattice” of leniting changes (Hock 1999) is empirically filled in with patterns from PBase and functional pressures of contrast preservation in lenitions (Gurevich 2004) are explored in this lattice.
Ezer Razin: An evaluation metric for Optimality Theory (joint work with Roni Katzir, Tel Aviv University)
Our goal is to develop an evaluation metric for OT, a criterion for comparing grammars given the data. Using this criterion, the child can try to search through the space of possible grammars, eliminating suboptimal grammars as it proceeds. Our empirical focus is the lexicon and the constraints, and our evaluation metric is based on the principle of Minimum Description Length (MDL). We wish to model aspects of knowledge such as the English-speaking child’s knowledge that the first segment in the word ‘cat’ involves aspiration, that [raiDer] is underlyingly /raiter/, and that [rai:Der] is underlyingly /raider/. We take it that any theory of phonology would require this knowledge to be learned rather than innate, making this a convenient place to start. The learner that we present succeeds in obtaining such knowledge, which, to our knowledge, makes it a first. The generality of the MDL-based evaluation metric allows us to learn additional parts of the grammar without changing our learner. We demonstrate this by learning not just the lexicon and the ranking of the constraints but also the content of the constraints (both markedness and faithfulness constraints) from general constraint schemata. The learner that we present succeeds in obtaining this knowledge, making it a first in this domain as well.
Sam Zukoff: On the Origins of Attic Reduplication
In Ancient Greek, the perfect tense is marked by reduplication. The default pattern of reduplication for consonant-initial roots is to have a CV reduplicant, and the default pattern for vowel-initial forms is to show lengthening of the initial vowel. However, for a subset of (synchronically) vowel-initial roots, there exists a different pattern, known as Attic Reduplication. Attic Reduplication forms have a reduplicant of the shape VC with concomitant lengthening of the root-initial vowel. For example, √ager- ‘gather together’ : perfect ἀγήγερμαι [agɛ̄germai], √eleuth- ‘go, come’: perfect ἐλήλουθα [elɛ̄loutha], √ol- ‘destroy’ : perfect ὄλωλα [olɔ̄la].
In this talk, I will argue that Attic Reduplication is a well-motivated outcome of the regular phonology of a Pre-Greek system that still contained laryngeals, rather than an analogical development or a stipulated alternative pattern.
The account that will be developed here uses independent evidence from the process of “vowel prothesis” and other alternative reduplication patterns, both in Greek and the other Indo-European daughter languages, to demonstrate that the normal CV reduplication pattern was blocked for laryngeal-initial roots due to markedness considerations. In avoiding these markedness violations, an alternative copying pattern emerges. This new pattern turns out to involve reduplicant-internal epenthesis and copying of both the root-initial laryngeal and the second root-consonant. The ranking which ultimately selects this repair is consistent with, and may even directly follow from, the intersection of the independent rankings necessary to generate vowel prothesis and the default reduplication pattern.
Speaker: Despina Ikonomou
Title: Middle morphology in Modern Greek: Same mechanism in different environments
Date/Time: Tuesday, Oct 22, 1-2p
Many languages (Germanic, Romance, Slavic, Albanian, Hebrew, Modern Greek, et al.) use the same morphology (usually described as Middle or Non-Active morphology) in a range of argument structure phenomena that usually involve i) anticausatives, ii) verbal reflexives and iii) generic middles (see Kemmer (1993) for a typology). Despite the large amount of work on each of the above phenomena, it has been proven hard to provide a unified account for all of them (cf. Embick 1997, Reinhart 2000, Alexiadou & Doron 2012). In this talk, I focus on Modern Greek and I propose a unified analysis of Middle Voice across the different structures that appears. Namely, I argue that in all cases Middle Voice can be analyzed as a functional head that existentially binds the external argument variable (as it has been proposed for the English Passive by Bach (1980), Roberts (1987), Bruening (2011)). The default structure that arises from this operation is a passive structure. However, each of the structures in (i)-(iii) involves an additional component that differentiates them from passives. More particularly, i) anticausatives involve an additional cause event, ii) verbal reflexives carry a reflexivity feature in their verbal root and iii) generic middles involve a generic operator that universally quantifies over events. If there is no additional component, then a passive structure arises by existential binding over the external argument. If time permits, I will also discuss verbs that appear only in Middle Voice (the so-called deponent verbs) suggesting that most of them fall into the class of either reflexive or anticausative verbs (cf. Zombolou & Alexiadou 2012, Kallulli 2013).
Speaker: Barbara Partee (UMass Amherst)
Date/Time: Friday October 25th, 3:30-5pm
Title: The Starring Role of Quantifiers in the History of Formal Semantics
The history of formal semantics is a history of evolving ideas about logical form, linguistic form, and the nature of semantics. This talk emphasizes parts of the history of semantics where quantifiers played a major role, including the “Linguistic Wars” of the late 1960’s and the conflicts in the philosophy of language between the Ordinary Language philosophers and the Formal Language philosophers. Both conflicts resulted in part from the mismatch between first-order logic and natural language syntax. Both were resolved in part once Montague applied his higher-order typed intensional logic to the analysis of natural language, as illustrated most vividly by the treatment of noun phrases as generalized quantifiers. In subsequent developments, generalized quantifier theory led to the first substantive ideas in formal semantics about semantic universals (Barwise and Cooper, Keenan), and the failure of Barwise and Cooper’s universal provoked some of the earliest work in formal semantic typology. Quantifiers have also been central in debates about dynamic approaches to semantics, and about the nature of anaphora.
Reference: Partee, Barbara H. In Press. The starring role of quantifiers in the history of formal semantics. In The Logica Yearbook 2012, eds. Vit Punčochár and Petr Svarny. London: College Publications.
The Northeast Computational Workshop (NECPhon) will be held this Saturday, Oct 26, 2013, at MIT. The program is below. All events will be held in the Stata Center in 32-D461.
12:00 Ezer Rasin (MIT) An evaluation metric for Optimality Theory (joint work with Roni Katzir, Tel Aviv University)
12:30 Joe Pater and Robert Staubs (UMass) Modeling Learning Trajectories with Batch Gradient Descent
1:00 Tal Linzen and Gillian Gallagher (NYU) Modeling the timecourse of generalization in phonotactic learning
1:45 Jane Chandlee (University of Delaware) Strictly Local Phonological Processes
2:15 Anthony Brohan (MIT) A case study in assimilation: The view from PBase
3:00 Naomi Feldman (UMD), Caitlin Richter (UMD), Josh Falk (U Chicago), and Aren Jansen (JHU) Predicting listeners’ perceptual biases using low-level speech features
3:30 Sean Martin (NYU) Phonetic category learning with unsupervised cue selection
4:15 Tamas Biro (Yale) Title TBA
4:45 Adam Jardine (University of Delaware) Computationally, tone is different
End: 5:15 pm
Speaker: Jennifer L. Smith (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Time: Friday October 18th, 3:30-5pm
Title: Lexical-category effects in phonology: Whence and why?
Please see the full abstract (pdf).
Speakers: Sam Steddy and Coppe van Urk
Title: A Distributed Morphology View of Person-driven Auxiliary Selection
Date/Time: Tuesday, Oct 8, 1-2p
We examine the BE vs. HAVE auxiliary splits of Upper-Southern Italian, which differ from familiar Romance languages in being conditioned not by verb type (Burzio 1986), but by person. Building on the work of D’Alessandro (2012 et. prev) and Manzini & Savoia (2005, 2011), we apply the methodology of Arregi & Nevins (2012) to the auxiliaries of Ariellese (Chieti, Abbruzzo) and other languages. Specifically, splits arise because subject clitics and a prepositional head, which turns BE into HAVE (Freeze 1992; Kayne 1993), compete to reach T. This proposal provides support for the idea that HAVE is derived from BE in syntax, and for Arregi & Nevins’ (2012) account of the PCC in Basque.
Speaker: Alexander Podobryaev
Title: Context and assignment in indexical shifting
Date/Time: Thursday, Oct 10, 12:30-1:45p
Recently, there has been a lot of work done on “shifting” of indexical pronouns in embedded contexts, in various languages. In this talk I examine some novel data from Mishar Tatar (MT<Turkic). There seems to be two kinds of indexical pronouns in MT: indexicals that are context-dependent (cf. Anand 2006), and those that are are only assignment-dependent (cf. Sudo 2012). It is only the latter that can get “shifted” interpretation in embedded contexts (because the monster operator in MT presumably can only manipulate the assignment function but not the context). Crucially, it is also only the latter that can appear as “fake” (semantically bound) indexicals. What’s more, it also happens that context-dependent pronouns are phonologically overt, while assignment-dependent pronouns are null. Time permitting, I will discuss why this would be the case.
Speaker: Aron Hirsch
Date/Time: Thursday 10 October, 5 pm
Title: Incremental presupposition projection in disjunction
Presupposition projection in conjunction shows left-to-right asymmetries, sensitive to the linear order of the conjuncts. Theories have been proposed linking such asymmetries to general processing considerations, predicting similar asymmetries to be observable across sentential connectives. We address an apparent counter-example – disjunction – which in the classic examples in the literature appears projectively symmetric. We argue that the classic examples are confounded, and show (i) that once the confound is resolved, disjunction is projectively asymmetric, and (ii) that even with the confound in place, there are experimentally observable traces of asymmetry consistent with a processing-based approach.
Speaker: Gaja Jarosz (Yale/MIT)
Title: Inductive Bias in the Acquisition of Syllable Structure in Polish
Date/Time: Monday, Sept 30, 5:30pm
(Joint work with Shira Calamaro and Jason Zentz, Yale University.)
A growing body of recent computational and experimental work investigates the kinds of constraints or inductive biases that are needed to explain adult learning outcomes and artificial language learning results. This paper contributes to this discussion by investigating the extent to which inductive biases are needed to explain phonological development. Our focus is on modeling development of production to probe the learning biases that affect the acquisition process in a naturalistic setting. We use statistical modeling to make and test predictions for learning based on properties of the language input. In particular, on the basis of a longitudinal corpus of spontaneous productions of four Polish-learning children, we present detailed analysis of the acquisition of syllable structure in Polish and the phonological factors underlying the observed development. We subsequently construct a variety of phonotactic probability models estimated from a corpus of spontaneous speech spoken to these children and examine the abilities of these input-based models to explain the observed acquisition effects. Our findings indicate that, while certain phonotactic probabilities are highly predictive of acquisition, none can explain the full range of observed acquisition effects. We show that development of syllable structure is sensitive to phonological factors not recoverable from the phonotactic probabilities, suggesting a crucial role for inductive biases. We also show that access to abstract phonological representations plays a key role in explaining the developmental effects. We discuss implications of these results for theories of phonological learning.
Speaker: Ted Levin
Title: On the structure of Japanese passive constructions
Date/Time: Tuesday, Oct 1, 1-2p
Please see the full abstract (pdf).
Speaker: Hadas Kotek
Title: What moves where when you process wh-in-situ
Date/Time: Thursday, Oct 3, 12:30-1:45p
Recent theories of interrogative syntax/semantics adopt two strategies for the interpretation of in-situ wh-phrases: covert movement (Karttunen 1977, a.o.) and in-situ interpretation (Hamblin 1973, a.o.). The availability of covert movement is traditionally assumed to be all-or-nothing: the in-situ wh covertly moves to C or else stays in its base-generated position and is interpreted without movement at LF. In this talk I argue that this assumption cannot be maintained. I present evidence from real-time sentence processing of English multiple wh-questionswhich shows that wh-phrases require both covert movement and in-situ interpretation for their derivation. I propose a new syntax-semantics for multiple questions that can derive the experimental data.
The Experimental Syntax and Semantics Lab (ESSL) is resuming its regular lab meetings on Thursday evenings at 5 pm in 32-D831. The organizers are currently looking for people to present their research at these meetings (ongoing and finished projects are equally welcome). If you are interested in presenting, please email Erin Olson with a preferred presentation date and a title/short description of what you’d like to present.
The organizers of LFRG would like to arrange a few meetings around the theme of exhaustivity and scalar implicatures this semester. If anyone would like to present so if anyone would like to present a paper or ideas of their own on these topics, please contact Edwin Howard or Chris O’Brien.
Speaker: Chris O’Brien
Date/Time: Friday 10/4, 1-2.30 pm
Topic: Experimental evidence for embedded scalar implicatures (Chemla & Spector 2011)
Chris O’Brien will discuss Chemla & Spector’s 2011 paper “Experimental evidence for embedded scalar implicatures”. Abstract of the paper:
“Scalar implicatures are traditionally viewed as pragmatic inferences which result from a reasoning about speakers’ communicative intentions (Grice 1989). This view has been challenged in recent years by theories which propose that scalar implicatures are a grammatical phenomenon. Such theories claim that scalar implicatures can be computed in embedded positions and enter into the recursive computation of meaning—something that is not expected under the traditional, pragmatic view. Recently, Geurts and Pouscoulous (2009) presented an experimental study in which embedded scalar implicatures were not detected. Using a novel version of the truth value judgment tasks, we provide evidence that subjects sometimes compute embedded scalar implicatures.”
Speaker: Michael Wagner (McGill)
Date/Time: Friday October 4th, 3:30-5pm
Title: Additivity and the Syntax of ‘Even’
Whether ‘even’ carries an additive presupposition remains controversial. While Horn (1969), Karttunen and Peters (1979), Wilkinson (1996) and many others have argued that it does, Stechow (1991), Krifka (1992) and Rullmann (1997) reached the opposite conclusion. This talk identifies a restriction on the focus alternatives that additive operator may range over: They cannot entail or be entailed by what is asserted. Based on tests relying on this restriction and more conventional arguments, the talk then develops a novel syntactic generalization about the circumstances under which even triggers an additive presupposition which reconciles apparently contradictory evidence from the earlier literature. Consequences for our understanding of the syntax of focus operators are explored.
Speaker: Gaja Jarosz (Yale/MIT)
Date/Time: Monday, Sept 23, 5:30p
Gaja Jarosz will lead a discussion of her recent Phonology paper, “Learning with hidden structure in Optimality Theory and Harmonic Grammar: beyond Robust Interpretive Parsing.”
Speaker: Sam Steddy
Title: The syntax of distributive and collective pluralities
Date/Time: Tuesday, Sept 24, 1-2p
I argue that distributivity, over collectivity, is a linguistic primitive. DPs which convey some plurality, whether transparently (“the cats”) or obliquely (“the team”), may be ‘distributivised’ by a syntactic head ‘#’, merged at the top layer of their DP, which acts as a plural goal for morphological agreement. I will present a number of ‘agreement mismatches’ that show that # is not solely a semantic operator but has an influence on syntax. The optionality of merging #, combined with LF-raising operations creates nuanced semantic interpretations. Finally, #’s phonology will also be shown to cause the different agreement of British and USA English.
Speaker: Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (University of Arizona/MIT)
Title: Steps to the Physics of Language
Date/Time: Thursday, September 26, 12:30-1:45p
The study of complex systems seems to affirm the Thompson-Turing claim that “some physical processes are of very general occurrence.” Notably, those involving Fibonacci-based “golden” forms, ubiquitous in nature, and a number of mathematical models standard in modern physics (matrix representation of operators, with associated eigenvalues and eigenvectors expressing directional stability). This lends immediate interest to the observation that the repeated structural motif in the human syntactic system, the X-bar schema, is likewise a “golden” form (Piattelli-Palmarini and Uriagereka 2008, Medeiros 2008, Piattelli-Palmarini and Medeiros in preparation) and leads us to inquire whether whatever is behind the natural ubiquity of such phenomena, in other domains, might possibly be at work in language as well. If so, this peculiar aspect of human phrase structure (the X-bar configuration) would fall under Chomsky’s (2005) “third factor”, a factor about language which is neither encoded in the particulars of our genome, nor learned from the environment, but determined by domain-general principles beyond the organism.”
Date/Time: Thursday, 26 September, 6 pm
Location: 32-G449 (Kiva)
Speaker: Ted Gibson
language@mit, a new group aimed at bringing together researchers investigating various aspects of language across the Institute, will hold its inaugural meeting on 26 September at 6 pm in 32-G449. Ted Gibson will give an overview of his lab’s research, followed by general discussion, including canvassing ideas for future events. All are welcome. Pizza will be served.
LFRG meetings are scheduled for Friday 1 pm in 32-D831 this semester. There are still multiple slots open this semester. Please contact the organizers Edwin Howard and Chris O’Brien if you would like to give a presentation.
Title: Factorial typology and metrical faithfulness (poster rehearsal for m@90)
Speaker: Juliet Stanton
Date/Time: Monday, Sept 16, 5:30-7:30p
In Pintupi, Diyari, Dyirbal, and Walpiri, four Pama-Nyungan (PN) languages, unsuffixed forms are stressed identically but suffixed forms are not. I argue, following Kenstowicz (1998), that these divergences reflect differences in the type and strength of morphological influence on stress in derivatives. This account differs from prior work as it uses directional base-derivative (BD) correspondence constraints to account for all paradigmatic uniformity effects. I assess the predictions of the constraint set via a cyclically evaluated factorial typology. An analysis of PN stress invoking BD correspondence makes tighter typological predictions than competing alternatives (cf. Alderete 2009).
Syntax Square is not meeting this week. There are still multiple slots open, including the next three weeks, so please contact the organizers (Ruth Brillman and Miriam Nussbaum) if you would like to give a presentation.
Speaker: Julia Horvath (Tel Aviv University)
Title: Phrasal Idioms and the Architecture of Grammar
Date/Time: Thursday, Sept 19, 12:30-1:45p
(Joint work with Tal Siloni, Tel Aviv University.)
The investigation of idioms is important not only per se but also because it has consequences with regard to our choice of theory and for the architecture of grammar. The focus of this talk will be phrasal idioms, as defined by the Type-Sensitive Storage Model (H&S), such as the verb phrase idioms “shoot the breeze,” “spill the beans,” “put (something) on the back burner,” namely idioms headed by a lexical category (not by clausal functional material).
Idioms exhibit an inherent duality. On the one hand, they are complex entities whose internal makeup reflects structural properties of phrasal units. They have syntactic structure similar to phrases built in the syntax. On the other hand, they have conventionalized meanings that cannot be predicted by semantic composition. This means that they must be stored. Since they involve syntactic structure, the question as to how they are stored is especially intriguing and important.
The talk will report three studies (one corpus-based study and two psycholinguistic studies) that help us decide between the various possible hypotheses as to how phrasal idioms are stored in mental representations.
Theoretically, the studies to be discussed provide evidence against theories such as Construction Grammar, as developed by Goldberg 2006 a.o. Such theories advance the claim that our knowledge of language is nothing but a stored set of constructions (their “Construct-i-con”) — a construction being the association of form and semantic-pragmatic function including abstract patterns, idioms, words and morphemes. Constructions on this view are formed on the basis of general cognitive mechanisms, reflect functional needs, and they are all stored. Our study of idioms turns out to offer an elegant argument against such views. Moreover, the findings on phrasal idioms provide evidence with regard to the nature of the lexical component.
There will be an organization meeting of the Phonology Circle on Monday, Sept 9 at 5:30pm in 32-D831. If you would like to reserve a date but cannot attend, please contact Michael Kenstowicz.
Syntax Square will be held on Tuesdays 1-2p this semester. This informal student-run talk series is for all kinds of presentations including works in progress and recaps of articles/conference talks. The organizers for this term are Ruth Brillman and Miriam Nussbaum — contact them if you’re interested in giving a presentation.
Speaker: Ted Levin
Title: Balinese Pseudo-Noun Incorporation: Licensing under Morphological Merger
Date/Time: Tuesday, Sept 10, 1-2p
Head Movement of a nominal into a verb (Noun Incorporation) has two consequences. The nominal is adjacent to the verb and is (possibly) licensed without Case (Baker 1988). This raises the question of whether Head Movement or the head-head adjacency it creates is responsible for licensing. In this talk, I argue for the latter based on properties of Balinese (Austronesian) Pseudo-Noun Incorporation (PNI). Balinese PNI exhibits properties problematic for previous account of the phenomenon; only Agents including some definite ones (pronouns and Proper Names) undergo PNI. Themes, unexpectedly, never do (contra Farkas & de Swart 2004 inter alia). Furthermore, Balinese PNI is sensitive to nominal-internal word order. As such, it can neither be described as an instance of string-vacuous Head Movement (Baker 2012) or a bare NP (Massam 2001). I posit that Balinese PNI occurs when a caseless nominal head (N or D) happens to be adjacent to V. Head-head adjacency licenses that nominal via Morphological Merger (Marantz 1984).
Ling-Lunch is an informal setting for presenting talks on any linguistic topic, scheduled for Thursdays 12:30-1:45p. If you would like to present, please contact the organizers for this term, Isa Bayirli and Juliet Stanton, at email@example.com.
Speaker: Ruth Brillman
Date/Time: Friday, 13 September, 1 pm
Topic: Parasitic Degree Phrases (Nissenbaum & Schwarz 2011)
I’ll discuss Nissenbaum & Schwarz’s (2011) Natural Language Semantics paper “Parasitic Degree Phrases” (available here), which argues that sentences like “John is too rich for the monastery to hire ___,” dubbed gapped degree phrases, contain an instance of null-operator movement identical to the null operators which arguably appear (Chomsky 1986, Nissenbaum 2000) in parasitic gap constructions like “Who did the monastery hire without talking to ___?”). Since gapped degree phrases, unlike their parasitic gap counterparts, don’t appear dependent on a prior instance of A-bar movement, this sort of construction at first appears at odds with a null operator analysis. In fact however, N&S claim that exactly this kind of structure is predicted by Nissenbaum’s (2000) analysis.
Title: Language, reasoning, and commonsense knowledge
Speaker: Noah Goodman (Stanford University)
Date: Tues 9-3-2013
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Singleton Auditorium, MIT 46-3002
Host: Prof. Joshua B. Tenenbaum; Tim O’Donnell
Human reasoning is a beautiful puzzle: it is productive, extending to new situations without bound, and it is uncertain, dealing gracefully with noisy evidence and shades of belief. Reasoning is also a key window on cognition, providing some of our best evidence about the structures that underly everyday, commonsense thought. I will argue that the core representations that support reasoning can be understood as a ‘probabilistic language of thought’, and that reasoning is an approximation to probabilistic inference. I will illustrate this claim with examples of reasoning about games and property induction. However, I will suggest that the bridge between the probabilistic language of thought and empirical data is a firm understanding of natural language. I will sketch a model of natural language pragmatics and semantics, and describe experimental evidence from communication games and quantity implicature. I will then describe how we can extend this framework to encompass vague language, focussing on scalar adjectives (like “tall”). I will conclude by coming back to reasoning, explaining two puzzling patterns: the sorites paradox and the effect of additional premises when reasoning general-to-specific. Time permitting, I will discuss possible process-level implementations in a short coda.
The MIT Linguistics Colloquium schedule for this academic year is below. All talks are on Fridays, 3:30-5:00 p.m. in room 32-141. For further information, please contact the organizers for this year, Sam Steddy and Wataru Uegaki. This schedule is subject to change, especially for Spring 2014 — please visit the Colloquium webpage for updates.
February 7: Raj Singh, Carleton
February 14: Elena Anagnostopoulou, University of Crete
March 14: Marcel den Dikken, CUNY
April 4: Adamantios Gafos, Yale, Potsdam
April 25: Richard Kayne, NYU
May 2: Matthew Gordon, UCSB
May 9: Julie Legate, UPenn
Speaker: Michelle Fullwood
Title: The perceptual dimensions of sonority-driven epenthesis
Time/Date: Monday, May 20, 2pm (Note special time)
Vowel epenthesis often appears to preferentially target consonant clusters with rising sonority. One explanation for this tendency is perceptual faithfulness (Fleischhacker 2002, Steriade 2006): rising sonority clusters are more susceptible to epenthesis because the perceptual distance between the underlying /C1 C2/ sequence and its correspondent output sequence [C1 V C2] is small, thus incurring a smaller faithfulness cost.
This raises the question of how to compute the perceptual distance between two sonority contours. I propose that the appropriate metric is Sonority Angle, defined to be the angle formed by C1-C2 and C1-V. Given a standard sonority scale mapping classes of consonants to numerical sonority, this metric predicts a certain hierarchy of susceptibility to epenthesis for consonant clusters.
I present two case studies of sonority-driven epenthesis in Chaha (Ethiopia; Southern Semitic) and Irish (Celtic) that demonstrate the correctness of certain rankings of clusters in the hierarchy, in contrast with alternative proposals.
Speaker: Suyeon Yun
Title: Two Types of Right Dislocation in Korean
Date/Time: Tuesday, May 14, 1-2pm
This paper proposes that right dislocation of an argument to the post-verbal position in Korean involves two different structures, rightward movement and bi-clausal adjunction following ellipsis, based on prosodic and syntactic evidence. Focusing on Seoul Korean, I also argue that rightward movement is triggered by a focus effect, achieved by the movement of non-focused element bearing old information, and bi-clause adjunction expresses afterthoughts through repetition of a clause.
Speaker: Aniruddh D. Patel (Dept of Psychology, Tufts)
Title: Speech-music rhythmic relations: empirical studies
Date/Time: Thursday, May 16, 12:30-1:45p
Rhythm is widely acknowledged to be an important aspect of speech and music, and theoretical work on rhythm within each domain has long expressed interest in possible connections with the other domain. Yet empirical studies comparing rhythm in speech and music are rare. In this talk I will argue that the paucity of research reflects a fixation on periodic rhythms in human auditory cognition, and that meaningful connections between linguistic and musical rhythm are more likely to be found in the domain of nonperiodic rhythms, i.e., in systematic patterns of timing, accent, and grouping which have nothing to do with periodicity. Two lines of cross-cultural empirical research will be used to support this argument, one concerning differences in how Americans vs. Japanese listeners hear simple nonlinguistic rhythms, and one concerning reflections of speech rhythm in instrumental classical music.
What: Even more Turkshop results
Who: Benjamin Storme
When: Thursday, May 16, 5:30
The final lab meeting of the year will be dedicated to results of projects created by Turkshop participants. We will hear from Benjamin Storme about his project on wh long extraction in French.
The final linguistics colloquium of the semester takes place this Friday.
Speaker: Emmanuel Chemla (LSCP-CNRS Paris)
Date/Time: May 17 (Friday), 3:30-5pm
Title: Polarity items are acceptable in subjectively monotone environments (Based on joint work with Vincent Homer and Daniel Rothschild)
This talk is part of a reflection about the status of linguistic generalizations of the form: “Sentence S is acceptable to the extent that it satisfies property P”, where a linguistic intuition is related with an abstract, objective, mathematical property P. As a case study, we will defend the following version of the good-old generalization about the distribution of NPIs: “NPIs are acceptable *to the extent that* they are in an environment that is recognized as downward entailing”. We will present two sets of results in favor of this subjective version of the generalization. First, we will show that the acceptability of an NPI for a given speaker best correlates with the ability of this particular speaker to recognize that the environment is downward-entailing (Chemla, Homer, Rothschild, 2011). Second, we will show that the presence of a polarity item influences inferences comprehenders are willing to draw. Roughly, they create illusions of monotonicity (contra Szabolcsi, Bott, McElree, 2008). We will show that the shape of these illusions provides further direct evidence in favor of the generalization we defend and against previous approaches (in particular, they go against the idea of local licensing of NPIs under double negations, see Chemla, Homer, Rothschild, in preparation). We will conclude with a discussion about: (a) the position of our generalization with respect to critical configurations discussed in the literature about polarity items (Schwarz/Heim puzzle, non-assertive environments such as questions, etc.), (b) what such results teach us about the linguistic ability and its interface with other abilities.
Speaker: Neil Myler (NYU)
Title: Building and interpreting possession sentences in Cochabamba Quecha
Date/Time: Tuesday, May 7, 1-2pm
The full abstract is available here (pdf).
This talk develops an analysis of the syntax and semantics of three different predicative possession constructions in Cochabamba Quechua, a Quechuan language of Bolivia, and draws out the consequences of that analysis for the theory of thematic roles and their place in the grammar.
Speaker: Neil Myler (NYU)
Title: Building and interpreting HAVE sentences in (mostly) English
Date/Time: Thursday, May 9, 12:30-1:45p
The full abstract is available here (pdf).
The literature on the syntax and semantics of possession sentences is vast. However, much of it can be seen as trying to deal with two major puzzles: what we might call the too many meanings puzzle (why do possession constructions across languages have the ability to convey a myriad of seemingly unrelated meanings, like kinship, body parts, permanent ownership, abstract attributes, etc.?), and the too many (surface) structures puzzle (why do possession constructions vary so much in their surface syntax across languages, from transitive HAVE constructions, to existential BE constructions containing an oblique possessor, to copular BE constructions containing a PP possessee?; Why is the transitive HAVE pattern relatively rare?).
I suggest that a solution to both of these puzzles is forthcoming if we take thematic roles out of the syntax, and instead have them be read off from the output of syntax in the semantic component (a conclusion argued for already on different grounds by Schäfer 2008; Wood 2012; Bruening 2013; Marantz 2009, 2013). The post-syntactic conception of thematic roles has an important consequence: whether a given argument-introducing head takes a complement or specifier is determined in the syntax, but whether it assigns a thematic role or not is determined in the semantics. This means that the notion of “syntactic argument of head X” is potentially independent of the notion of “semantic argument of head X”. I argue that this independence is key to understanding the syntactic structures of possession sentences and how they give rise to the gamut of apparently unrelated “possessive” interpretations. In particular, I argue for the following hypotheses, which rely on this conception:
- HAVE and BE are realizations of the same abstract light verb ‘v’. Semantically, this ‘v’ is a type-neutral identity function, which will simply pass the denotation of its complement up the tree (this follows a long tradition of proposals that BE and HAVE are meaningless in themselves).
- This ‘v’ is spelled out as HAVE only if it occurs in the environment of Kratzer’s (1996) Voice, and Voice takes a specifier. Otherwise, this ‘v’ is spelled out as BE. (i.e., HAVE is simply the transitive form of BE- much in the spirit of Hoekstra 1994. The analysis also follows the tradition of Freeze 1992 and Kayne 1993 in taking HAVE to be BE+”something else”, but takes the “something else” to be something other than an incorporated preposition).
- The thematic roles associated with permanent ownership and the various inalienable possession relations (the part-of relation, kinship, etc) are associated with distinct DP-internal argument-introducing heads, but languages may vary in whether they first-merge the possessor in a possession sentence into the specifier of one of these DP-internal positions, or somewhere higher up in the tree.
- The main source of cross-linguistic variation in the syntax of possession sentences is thus the position in which the possessor is introduced into the structure. If the possessor is introduced in spec-VoiceP, we have a HAVE construction/language. If the possessor is introduced anywhere lower than spec-VoiceP (e.g. in a spec position inside the possessee DP itself, in the spec of a pP which takes the possessee as its complement, in the spec of an applicative head, etc.), then we have a BE construction/language.
What: Even more Turkshop results
When: Thursday, May 9, 5:30
Who: Despina Oikonomou, Ruth Brillman, Wataru Uegaki, Paul Marty
This week’s lab meeting will be dedicated to results of projects created by Turkshop participants. We will hear from Despina Oikonomou, Ruth Brillman, Wataru Uegaki and Paul Marty.
Speaker: Andrew Nevins (University College London)
Date/Time: Friday May 10th, 3:30-5pm
Title: Agree-Link, Derivational Sandwiching, and Agree-Copy
Recent work on agreement with coordinated DPs has largely converged on the hypothesis that agreement is established in two steps (a move anticipated in Pesetsky & Torrego 2004). Adopting the terminology in Arregi and Nevins 2012, we can refer to these as Agree-Link, or the syntactic establishment of an Agree relation between Probe and one or more Goals, and Agree-Copy, or the postsyntactic (PF) copying from Agree-Linked Goal(s) onto the Probe. Evidence for this split of Agree into two separate steps comes from the fact that they can be derivationally intercalated by postsyntactic operations such as Linearization in Hindi and Slovenian (Bhatt and Walkow, to appear; Marusic, Nevins and Badecker, to appear) postsyntactic morpheme displacement in Bulgarian (Arregi and Nevins, to appear), and Vocabulary Insertion in West Germanic (van Koppen 2005).
Further evidence for this two-step analysis of agreement comes from a different empirical domain, namely, variation in the interaction of agreement with case syncretisms due to postsyntactic impoverishment in Basque dialects and Indo-Aryan languages. In both cases, variation in the realization of agreement is due to a uniform establishment of syntactic Agree-Link relations, coupled with dialect- or language-particular differences in the application of Agree-Copy and its derivational interaction with postsyntactic impoverishment rules. The variation found is thus largely reduced to familiar feeding and counterfeeding interactions among operations in a derivational theory.
The interaction of agreement and case syncretism in these languages thus converges with crosslinguistic coordination patterns in providing evidence for a strongly derivational theory of Agree in which the latter is established in two steps: hierarchically defined syntactic Agree-Link, followed by postsyntactic Agree-Copy, which can interact in different derivationally defined ways with other postsyntactic operations. As such, it provides converging evidence for the view that minimalist and Distributed Morphology approaches to inflection involve sequenced derivational ordering of specific elementary operations (Müller 2008, Epstein & Seely 2002).
Speaker: Isa Bayirli
Title: On an Impossible Affix
Date/Time: Tuesday, Apr 30, 1-2pm
This talk presents a new argument to substantiate the view that the morphological identity of a grammatical object is not lexical idiosyncrasy and that it reflects the syntactic behavior of this object. The empirical claim of this talk will be:
A topic or focus associated morpheme is never an affix.
I will argue that this follows from the syntactic fact that a syntactic head with topic or focus feature cannot trigger head movement. Evidence will be provided from Turkish, Bulgarian, Japanese, Finnish and Pazar Laz. I will show that when we translate these ideas into a non-lexical based implementation of Mirror Theory, we make the prediction that in those languages where there is always a suffix on the verb, this suffix cannot be a topic-focus associated morpheme. I will finally show that the prediction seems to be true.
Who: Matthew Brand, Randal Thurston, Kai von Fintel
What: “The Language of Forms”
Where: Monadnock Room, Broad Institute, 7 Cambridge Center
When: May 1, 6–7pm, Reception to follow
This Wednesday evening, Kai will join two artists in the latest event in a series of events (Catalyst Conversations) bringing together artists and scientists. Learn more at http://www.catalystconversations.net/events/.
NB: Two more linguistics connections: Matt Brand is the husband of Amy Brand (née Pierce), 1989 PhD from MIT BCS (with Ken Wexler as chair) and former linguistics editor at MIT Press. Amy is now Assistant Provost for Faculty Appointments and Information at Harvard. Plus, the assistant to the director of the Catalyst Conversations is 2008 MIT Linguistics PhD Sarah Hulsey.
Please don’t be confused: the event series is titled “Catalyst Conversations”, but it takes place at the Broad Institute, not at Catalyst restaurant.
Ling-Lunch will not meet this week. There will be a session next week with a talk by Neil Myler (NYU).
Title: More Turkshop results
Date/Time: Thursday, May 2, 5:30
Location: 32-D831 (Note room!)
This week’s lab meeting will be dedicated to results of projects created by Turkshop participants. Stay tuned for more details.
Speaker: Sam Zukoff
Title: The Phonology of Verbal Reduplication in Ancient Greek
Date/Time: Monday, Apr 22, 5pm
In this talk I put forward an analysis of reduplication in Ancient Greek, focusing on the behavior of consonant-initial roots in perfect-tense reduplication. Particular attention will be paid to two questions. First, how are we to analyze the underlying representation of reduplication in Ancient Greek? I will propose two potential analyses, and consider their theoretical and empirical implications, including asking briefly what is reduplication? Both potential analyses will promote the notion that Ancient Greek reduplication displays morphological fixed segmentism, and that we can explain the reduplicative patterns without referencing reduplicative templates or templatic constraints. Second, how are we to explain the differences in the shape of the reduplicant between roots beginning with different sorts of clusters (namely stop + sonorant versus other clusters)? I will propose a solution based on syllabification. Consideration of certain additional facts about syllable weight will require us to adjust the account slightly by appealing to minor re-ranking within a stratal OT model.
Speaker: Gary Thoms
Title: Remnant movement and discontinuous deletion
Date/Time: Tuesday, Apr 23, 1-2p
In this paper I propose that chains are subject to a constraint that bans discontinuous deletion of copies. Initial motivation for this constraint comes from consideration of the properties of regular cyclic movement chains (considering data from Boskovic 2002), but then the rest of the paper is devoted to showing that this constraint is active in constraining remnant movement. Remnant movement is in principle possible, but only if it derives a representation which does not require discontinuous chain reduction. Evidence for this comes from two main sources: (i) a pervasive left-right asymmetry in possible RM derivations; (ii) variation in the availability of “true” VP-fronting. The former is supported by an analysis of the availability of “headless fronting” and extraposition-fed leftward movement, all of which fails to follow from existing theories of RM. The latter is supported by consideration of when fronted VPs behave like moved categories, with novel data showing that the ban on reconstruction into fronted VPs (Barss’ generalization) is lifted when the relevant representation does not fall foul of the discontinuous deletion constraint. I describe a few ways in which languages get around the RM problem presented by VP-fronting (“matching”” analyses, spelling out traces and not leaving traces) and indicate that this may in fact derive us a plausible typology of its language-internal and cross-linguistic distribution. I conclude by considering what kind of theory of movement and deletion this kind of constraint requires.
LFRG will meet twice this week.
Speaker: Ciro Greco (University of Milan-Bicocca)
Date/Time: Wed 24 April, 11:30 am (note special time!)
Location: 32-D831 (note special location!)
Title: “Are subject islands just subject islands? Experimental evidence from Italian”
Speaker: Edwin Howard
Date/Time: Fri 26 April, 11:30 am
Title: “Superlative Degree Clauses: evidence from NPI licensing” (Practice talk for SALT 23)
Speaker: Ayesha Kidwai (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Title: EX-It: On the syntax of finite clause extraposition and pronominal correlates in Hindi and Bangla
Date/Time: Thursday, Apr 25, 12:30-1:45p
In this talk, I revisit the familiar question of finite clause extraposition in Hindi and Bangla, and the co-ocurrence of this phenomenon with pronominal correlates in the matrix clause. Examining the facts from rightward scrambling, WH-construal and bound anaphora in the two languages, I will suggest that such a non-canonical rightward positioning of finite complements is effected by a generalised, and revised, version of TH/EX (Chomsky 1999/2001). I propose that while this ‘displacement’ is driven by interface conditions holding both at the PHON and SEM interfaces . Furthermore, I will suggest that that the distribution of correlate/expletive pronominals that may occur in construction with such finite clauses is fundamentally unrelated to the extraposition operation per se, and relates instead to a SEM interface requirement on the merger of complement CPs in the verbal projection.
Speaker: Mark C. Baker (Rutgers)
Date/Time: Friday 26 April, 3:30-5pm
Title: On Dependent Ergative Case (in Shipibo) and Its Derivation by Phase
Focusing on new data from the Shipibo language (Panoan, spoken in Peru), I defend a simple “dependent case” theory of ergative case marking, where ergative case is assigned to the higher of two NPs in a clausal domain. I show how apparent failures of this rule can be explained assuming that VP is a spell out domain distinct from the clause, and this bleeds ergative case assignment for c-command relationships that already exist in VP and are unchanged in CP. This accounts for otherwise anomalous case patterns in ditransitives, reciprocals, and dyadic experiencer verbs. In contrast, applicatives of unaccusative verbs do have ergative subjects, and this is a notable success for the dependent case theory as opposed to popular theories according to which ergative is an inherent case. Finally, I show how case assignment interacts with restructuring to explain constructions in which ergative case appears to be optional. An additional theoretical implication of this work, I claim, is that it shows us more precisely where dependent case marking applies: not in the syntax proper, nor at PF proper, but precisely at Spell-Out, seen as the dynamic interface between syntax and PF.
Speaker: Bronwyn M. Bjorkman (University of Toronto)
Title: Possession and necessity: from individuals to worlds
Date/Time: Thursday, Apr 18, 12:30-1:45p Location: 32-D461
(Joint work with Elizabeth Cowper.)
The modal use of possession is well known from the “semi-modal” ‘have (to)’, but is not unique to English: the same broadening from possession to necessity is found in many languages, including Spanish, Catalan, German, and Hindi (Bhatt 1997). We argue that this grammaticalization path is available because possession and necessity are both built on a prepositional relation of containment or inclusion. In possession this relation holds between individuals, in necessity between sets of worlds corresponding to the modal base and the proposition.
Many have proposed that the syntax of possession is prepositional, and that verbal have (and its counterparts in other languages) occurs when the possessive preposition occurs where be would otherwise appear (Freeze 1992, Kayne 1993, a.o.). Levinson (2011) has recently argued that this possessive preposition should be identified as (non-locative) WITH, expressing a relation of inclusion or containment. We argue that this relation of containment or inclusion also appears in the composition of universal modality, but between sets of worlds rather than individuals. A modal operator composes first with a modal base (i.e. a set of epistemically or deontically accessible worlds), and then with a proposition (also modelled as a set of worlds). A universal modal operator requires that a proposition be true in all accessible worlds—-i.e. the set of worlds corresponding to the modal base must be a subset of the set of worlds corresponding to the proposition.
This subset relation mirrors the inclusion/containment relation expressed by possessive WITH. It is this common semantic core, we propose, that is reflected by the grammaticalization of ‘have’ from possession to necessity.
As announced earlier Friday, this colloquium talk will be held Saturday (4/20), 12:00pm, in room 32-D461.
Speaker: Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (University of Toronto Mississauga)
Date/Time: 19 April (Fri), 3:30 - 5pm
Title: Phases as domains of linguistic computation: Second position clisis in Eastern Armenian
This talk explores the relevance of phases as domains of linguistic computation by bringing evidence from the positional distribution of an auxiliary clitic in Eastern Armenian. After a brief discussion of my general framework, I will turn to the distribution of the Eastern Armenian auxiliary in focus-neutral contexts. I will show that the auxiliary can best be analyzed as a second position clitic in the vP phase domain (akin to other second position clitics in the CP domain). I will then look at the distribution of the auxiliary in sentences involving focused constituents, wh-phrases and negation and will provide a syntactic account of these facts based on movement of the auxiliary to the focus head (similar to other cases of verb movement to focus heads in other languages). I will finally argue that in order to unify the distribution of the auxiliary in these two contexts, the notion of phasehood should be extended to include focus heads. I will show how this proposal may pave the way for an analysis of the distribution of the auxiliary in sentences involving multiple foci. This talk draws heavily on the parallelism between CP and vP both in terms of their status as phases, but also their structural make-up. To the extent that it succeeds in accounting for the presented facts, it provides further support for this parallelism.
(The bulk of this talk is based on joint work with Karine Megerdoomian.)
Speaker: Ciro Greco (University of Milan-Bicocca)
Date/Time: Wed 24th April 11:30 (note special time!)
Location: 32-D831 (note special location!)
Title: Are subject islands just subject islands? Experimental evidence from Italian
Speaker: Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero (University of Manchester)
Title: Lexical storage and the cyclic reapplication of phonological processes
Date/Time: Monday, Apr 8, 5-6:30p
This talk seeks to describe and explain the peculiar properties of phonological processes applying in cyclic domains smaller than the word, i.e. in sublexical domains. In stratal-cyclic phonological frameworks such as Lexical Phonology and Stratal Optimality Theory, such processes are assigned to the highest stratum in the grammar: the stem level. To characterize the stem-level syndrome, rule-based Lexical Phonology imposed special conditions on rule application at the stem level: stem-level rules were claimed to exhibit stratum-internal cyclic reapplication, to be structure-preserving, and to undergo blocking in nonderived environments. English stress assignment provides a classic example of cyclic reapplication within the same stratum: in a word like [WL [SL [SL imàgin-] átion-] less-ness], foot creation applies twice in the two inner stem-level cycles, and does not apply in the outer word-level domain.
The Lexical Phonology approach to the stem-level syndrome made a number of incorrect predictions. Notably, English has a large set of phonological processes whose domain excludes word-level suffixes, but which nonetheless do not show cyclic reapplication, structure preservation, or blocking in nonderived environments. The GOAT split in the London vernacular is a particularly salient example. In contrast, the stem-level syndrome has altogether dropped off the agenda in current optimality-theoretic frameworks relying on output-output correspondence. Such frameworks do not recognize the notion of cyclic domain, and so cannot sort phonological processes into classes according to domain size. This stance is also unsatisfactory insofar as it fails to account for striking generalizations: in particular, cyclic reapplication within the same stratum is only found at the stem level.
This talk outlines an alternative approach to the stem-level syndrome, where the special properties of stem-level phonological processes emerge from more fundamental grammatical mechanisms. I propose that the distinguishing trait of stem-level linguistic expressions is that they are stored nonanalytically, i.e. as whole output forms generated by the stem-level morphology and phonology. In contrast, word-level and phrase-level constructs are either not stored, or stored analytically (i.e. decomposed as strings of stem-level pieces). Given independently motivated assumptions about morphological blocking, together with the input-output faithfulness technology of Optimality Theory, these postulates about lexical storage make accurate predictions about the behaviour of stem-level phonological processes. Notably, cyclic reapplication turns out to be closely correlated with neutralization (Chung’s Generalization).
Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2012. The architecture of grammar and the division of labour in exponence. In Jochen Trommer (ed.), The morphology and phonology of exponence, 8-83. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [See pp. 15-40.]
Speaker: Coppe van Urk
Date/Time: Tuesday, Apr 9, 1-2pm
This week’s Ling-Lunch will feature two shorter talks.
Date/Time: Thursday, Apr 11, 12:30-1:45pm
Speaker: Benjamin Storme
Title: Hittite present tense and its interaction with aspect
In this talk, I will show that Hittite, which has a present tense (PRES) and an asymmetric imperfective morphology (IPFV versus zero), patterns basically as English and Japanese.
When PRES refers to the utterance time, IPFV and zero are in complementary distribution: IPFV associates with eventives, and zero with statives (cf English examples in (1)). IPFV has a wider use than the English progressive, though: it must also be used in generic sentences with an eventive predicate.
(1a) *John builds a house (now).
(1b) John is building a house (now).
(1c) John is in his office (now)
(1d) *John is being in his office (now).
When PRES does not refer to the utterance time but to an interval in the future, the restriction on eventives no longer holds, as in Japanese.
When PRES refers to an interval in the past in its so-called « historical present» use, the situation is more contrasted: in one text, it behaves as PRES referring to the utterance time (eventives have to associate with IPFV) ; in another text, it behaves as PRES referring to an interval in the future or as PAST (eventives don’t need to associate with IPFV, as it is the case for English historical presents).
Speakers: Anthony Brohan and Sudheer Kolachina
Title: Backward Control in Telugu: An illusion?
(Based on squib for 24.951)
The phenomenon of Backward control is evidence of crucial importance when it comes to choosing between the two dominant approaches to control discussed in the literature- Hornstein’s movement theory of control (Hornstein, 1999) and Landau’s empty category-PRO coreferenced with the controller through Agree (Landau, 2001).In recent years, there have been claims about the existence of Backward control in Telugu, a Dravidian language (Haddad, 2007, 2009a,b) and a movement-based analysis has also been proposed to account for these structures. In this squib, we evaluate these claims by taking a closer look at the data on which they are based. The results of our study suggest that what appear to be backward control structures in Telugu are the result of a combination of constraints on the distribution of pro and scrambling effects. We also present an alternate analysis of the structures discussed in previous work which is supported by additional evidence from the language.
Y.A. Haddad. Adjunct control in Telugu and Assamese. PhD thesis, Citeseer, 2007.
Y.A. Haddad. Adjunct control in Telugu: Exceptions as non-exceptions. Journal of South Asian Linguistics, 2:35–51, 2009a.
Y.A. Haddad. Copy Control in Telugu. Journal of linguistics, 45(1):69–109, 2009b.
N. Hornstein. Movement and control. Linguistic inquiry, 30(1):69–96, 1999.
I. Landau. Elements of control: Structure and meaning in infinitival constructions, volume 51. Springer, 2001.
What: Turk workshop, part 4
When: Thursday, April 11, 5:30-7
This week will be the fourth part of the Turkshop. Our goal for this session is to discuss some basics of data visualization and data analysis. For this session, please download and install R 3.0: http://cran.r-project.org/ and R Studio 0.97.x: http://www.rstudio.com/ide/download/desktop. Materials and slides from the Turkshop can be found here: http://web.mit.edu/hackl/www/lab/turkshop/.
Title: Question-answer congruence and (non-)exhaustivity
Speaker: Wataru Uegaki
Date/time: Fri April 12, 11:30am
It has been observed that the exhaustive inference of question-answers arises only when the polarity of the answer matches that of the question (Spector 2005; Schulz and van Rooij 2006). For example, although B’s answer in (i) gives rise to the inference that Sue is the only person that B will invite, B’s answer in (ii) does not readily give rise to the inference that Sue is the only person that B will not invite.
(i) A: Who among Sue, Bill and Mary will you invite?
B: I will invite Sue. [Exhaustive inference: I will not invite Bill and Mary.]
(ii) A: Who among Sue, Bill and Mary will you invite?
B: I won’t invite Sue. [No exhaustive inference: I will invite Bill and Mary.]
Previous approaches to this phenomenon stipulate mechanisms that are specific to the polarity-mismatching question-answer pairs (Spector 2005; Schulz and van Rooij 2005). In this talk, I provide an account of the phenomenon in terms of an arguably general constraint on the generation of alternatives to be used in the calculation of exhaustivity. The idea relies on the assumption that an answer can be congruent to a question in different “degrees of strength”, extending the notion of question-answer congruence by Rooth (1992). The constraint requires that an alternative for an utterance given a question be at least as congruent to the question as the original utterance. I will discuss how this mechanism accounts for the basic paradigm while leaving several issues currently unresolved. If time permits, I would also like to compare the proposed constraint on alternatives with Katzir’s (2008) and Fox and Katzir’s (2011) mechanism for the generation of structural alternatives.
Speaker: Ted Levin
Title: Successive-Cyclic Case Assignment: Case Alternation and Stacking in Korean
Date/Time: Tuesday, Apr 2, 1-2p
In general, Case theory excludes the option of a DP receiving more than one Case. However, certain constructions arguably demonstrate that this is possible (e.g. see McCreight 1988, Bejar & Massam 1999, Richards 2013, and Pesetsky in press). In this talk, I will examine two separate, but related, phenomena which are problematic for theories which do not permit multiple case assignment - case alternation and case stacking. Case Alternation occurs when a DP displays one of two (or more) case markers in the same structural position. Case Stacking occurs when those two case morphemes are realized simultaneously. Korean demonstrates both phenomena as seen in (1).
(1a) Cheli-eykey/-ka/-eykey-ka ton-i iss-ta
Cheli-DAT/-NOM/DAT-NOM money-NOM exist-DEC
‘Cheli has money.’
(1b) Swunhi-ka Yenghi-eykey/-lul/-eyekey-lul chayk-ul cwu-ess-ta
Swunhi-NOM Yenghi-DAT/ACC/-DAT-ACC book-ACC give-PST-DEC
‘Swunhi gave Yenghi a book.’
In (1a), the subject Cheli displays dative-nominative alternation and stacking. Similarly, the indirect object Yenghi in (1b) displays dative-accusative alternation and stacking. I posit that the examples in (1) and related constructions can be captured if we adopt a cyclic view of case assignment. In Korean (and maybe in fact all languages) DPs receive case in every case assignment domain (i.e. phase) they occupy. Case alternation is captured in this system by restricting the pronunciation of stacked case morphemes via morphological rules.
RUMMIT, the Rutgers-UMass-MIT phonology meeting, will be held at UMass Amherst on Saturday, Apr 6. The program is available here (pdf). This week’s Phonology Circle will feature two practice talks for RUMMIT.
Date/Time: Wednesday, Apr 3, 3-5p (Note special date/time)
Speaker: Aron Hirsch
Title: Weight effects on stress placement: syllables or intervals?
The distribution of stress is sensitive to the weight of rhythmic units such that heavier units more strongly attract stress. In this talk, we address the question as to what is the “unit” of weight. The traditional approach has been to link weight to syllable structure, with the domain over which weight is computed being the syllabic rime (i.e. nucleus + coda). Steriade (2012), however, has recently argued for an alternative non-syllable-based approach under which the domain for weight computation is the total vowel-to-vowel interval, i.e. the distance from the beginning of one vowel to the beginning of the next vowel. This talk reports preliminary results from a nonce word production experiment designed to arbitrate between the two approaches: is the unit of weight the syllable, or is it the interval?
Speaker: Juliet Stanton
Title: Predicting distributional restrictions on prenasalized stops
Previous studies on prenasalized stops have focused mainly on issues of derivation and classification, but little is known about their distributional properties. The current study fills this gap. I present results of a survey documenting positional restrictions on NCs, and show that there are predictable and systematic constraints on their distribution. The major finding is that NCs are optimally licensed in contexts where they are perceptually distinct from plain oral and plain nasal stops. (This is a shorter version of 3/11’s Phonology Circle talk.)
Speaker: Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero (University of Manchester)
Title: Lexical storage and cyclic locality in phonologically driven allomorph selection
Date/Time: Thursday, Apr 4, 12:30-1:45p
If exponence proceeds cyclically, so that cycles define local domains for allomorph selection, then empirical evidence from the size of allomorph selection domains can be used to determine the size of lexically stored exponents. Spanish, for example, exhibits a well-known instance of phonologically driven allomorph selection in which allomorphs containing stressed [jé] and [wé] alternate with allomorphs containing unstressed [e] and [o]: e.g. cué nta ‘count/tell.3 SG’ ~ contámos ‘count/tell.1PL ’. In the deverbal adjective [N [V co ntá ] ble] ‘countable’, the monophthongal allomorph c onta- is chosen during the second cycle of the derivation, when stress moves to the second syllable. This instance of allomorphy must therefore involve competition between stems (i.e. between two exponents of the verb lexeme CONTAR), rather than between roots (i.e. between two exponents of the √-node √CONT ). Two lines of evidence support this analysis of the Spanish diphthongal alternation. First, the assumption of stem storage removes the need for declension diacritics in Spanish nominal and adjectival morphology. Secondly, it correctly predicts that, historically, lexemes that share a root but belong to different categories can cease to display the same allomorphic behaviour: e.g. the stem of the verb contár ‘count/tell’ still participates in the diphthongal alternation, whereas the stem of the noun cuénto ‘fable, fibb’ no longer does (cf. cuentéro ‘fabulist, fibber’). These results provide evidence against theories of morphology that restrict lexical storage to roots and to exponents of single functional heads.
Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2013. The Spanish lexicon stores stems with theme vowels, not roots with inflectional class features. Probus 25(1).
Because of the Smolensky talk this Thursday, we will not have a lab meeting this week. Instead, mitcho and Hadas will be in the 8th floor lounge between 4-6pm to help Turkshop participants solve any problems they may have encountered with their experiments (note unusual time/location!). The next Turkshop meeting will take place on 4/11.