The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 11/30 - Sam Steddy

Please join us for Syntax Square this week. Sam Steddy will be discussing joint work with Vieri Samek-Lodovici.

Speaker: Sam Steddy
Title: On the Ungrammaticality of Remnant Movement in the Derivation of Greenberg’s Universal 20 (with Vieri Samek-Lodovici)
Time: Tuesday, November 30, 1-2PM
Place: 32-D461

We propose an analysis that derives Cinque’s 2005 typology of fourteen linear orders (from a theoretical twenty-four) involving a Demonstrative, Numeral, Adjective, and Noun through four Optimality Theory constraints requiring leftward alignment of these items. We show that remnant movement is ungrammatical whenever it produces universally suboptimal alignments, compared to remnant-movement-free structures. Any movement is permitted, but only the best alignment configurations surface as grammatical. Our analysis need not make similar structural stipulations to Cinque’s, as the different attested structures emerge from exhaustive constraint reranking.

Please note I’ll only present the OT analysis of the typology from our paper, along with a few of its interesting predictions and problems, rather than go into the indepth comparison of our analysis to Cinque’s.