The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-lunch 9/24: Kirill Shklovsky

Join us for this week’s Ling-Lunch talk:

Speaker: Kirill Shklovsky
Title: Person-Case Effects in Tseltal
Time: Thurs 9/24, 12:30-1:45
Place: 32-D461

Person-Case Constraint (PCC) is a restriction on the nature of the direct object argument in the presence of an indirect object: in many languages, the the direct object in a ditransitive construction can only be third person (Bonet, 1991). Tseltal, a Mayan language of southern Mexico, exhibits PCC restrictions not only in with ditransitive verbs but also in a construction involving non-finite complement embedded under an intransitive verb. Curiously, the restriction is not in effect when the same non-finite complement is embedded under a transitive verb. In this talk I will show that the phenomenon can be accounted for using theories of PCC in Béjar and Rezac (2003) and Anagnostopoulou (2003) in combination with inherent case theory of ergative case (Woolford (1997), Legate (2008)). This should provide support for the idea that ergative is inherent case in Tseltal. The rest of this talk will deal with case-assignment and agreement in non-finite complement clauses.