The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

MorPhun 4/22 - Mitya Privoznov (MIT)

Speaker: Mitya Privoznov (MIT)
Title: Partial concord and the noun phrase structure
Time: Wednesday, April 22nd, 5pm – 6:30pm

Abstract: This paper is devoted to the phenomenon of partial concord. Partial concord in a feature F is a situation when the noun phrase contains an element distinct from the head noun (e.g. a cardinal numeral or a determiner) such that modifiers c-commanding this element always realize F, while modifiers c-commanded by this element only realize F if the element itself does not. The paper assumes that this element introduces F into the noun phrase structure and calls it the locus of F. The paper argues that two well known morpho-syntactic phenomena, which have been previously treated in different ways, both fall under the same generalization and constitute a single phenomenon: partial concord. These are the lack of Number marking in noun phrases with cardinal numerals in Estonian and some other languages and the strong vs. weak distinction in adjectival paradigms in German (and Icelandic). The former phenomenon is captured as partial concord in Number and the latter phenomenon is captured as partial concord in Case. The paper puts forward a theory that derives partial concord building on the feature realization mechanism from Schlenker (1999) and the rule of feature deletion from Distributed Morphology (Halle & Marantz 1993). Building on Bayırlı (2017), the paper proposes two cross-linguistic parameters that determine whether a language has full concord, partial concord or no concord in a given feature.