The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 2/4 - Stanislao Zompi’ (MIT)

Speaker: Stanislao Zompi’ (MIT)
Title: On some Distinctness effects in the English DP
Time: Tuesday, February 4th, 1pm – 2pm
Location: 32-D461

Abstract: In this talk, I focus on several apparently arbitrary quirks of English nominal constructions, such as the contrasts between this tall a person and *a this tall person, between any taller a person and *an any taller person, and between what color car and *a what color car / *what color a car. I argue that all these contrasts follow straightforwardly from Richards’ (2010) Distinctness condition, banning any Spell-Out domain in which two nodes of the same type are in an asymmetric c-command relation. I also suggest that, under slightly less trivial assumptions, the Distinctness-based account might also be extended to the contrast between a three year old kid and *a three years old kid. I then conclude with a few more speculative remarks building toward a general theory of Distinctness repairs.