March 22, 2017
  • LFRG: Itai Bassi (MIT)
    March 22, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    32-D461

    Title: Phi features on focus-bound pronouns: a semantic account

    Some researchers (Kratzer 1998, Heim 2008, a.o.) have argued that phi features on bound pronouns are not (always) semantically interpreted. Their presence, it is claimed, is a PF-only phenomenon, perhaps as a reflex of an agreement relationship with the binder of their pronoun. One motivation for this conclusion comes from focus constructions like (1). The point is that under standard assumptions about binding and about the meaning of phi features, the phi features on my better not be semantically active, or else the right interpretation of (1) would not be derived.

    1. Only I brushed my teeth.

    But other authors (Jacobson 2012, Sauerland 2013) have taken a more semantic view, capitalizing on the observation that (1) is a focus construction. On this approach the phi-features in (1) do contribute their usual meaning, but only at the level of the regular semantic value of the expression and not at the level of its focus semantic value.

    The goal of this talk is to develop a novel account of focus constructions like (1) within the semantic approach. The core of the proposal is that (1) involves F-coindexation between the two pronouns:

    2. Only [I]F1 brushed [my]F1 teeth.

    My account builds on Kratzer’s (1991) version of focus semantics, where focused phrases carry an indexed F-feature. I will propose that the grammar has a mechanism that allows a focused phrase to share its F-index to matching pronouns. The fact that phi-features contribute only to the regular semantic value will be derived in this system.

    I will show how the phenomenon of split binding (Rullmann 2004), which is problematic to PF accounts, can be handled in my theory rather straightforwardly.

    Finally, I will try to independently motivate the notion that focus dependencies like (1) makes the dependent pronoun (silently) F-marked.

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  • Talk: Loes Koring
    March 22, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    32-D461

    Title: Looking for structure in strings

    The class of intransitive verbs poses an interesting puzzle for the language-acquiring child. The child has to work out which of these verbs project an unergative and which an unaccusative syntax. The puzzle here is that, in many languages, the surface strings these verbs give rise to, do not provide any (useful) information regarding their underlying structure. A potential complicating factor is that there are reasons to think that young children are not able to project an unaccusative structure in which the internal argument has moved up to subject position. In this talk, I will use the Visual World Paradigm to probe more directly into the underlying structure children assign to sentences with unaccusative verbs by looking at children’s processing signatures for these sentences. The results from the eye-tracking experiments I present are not only informative regarding (the acquisition of) unaccusativity, but the paradigm itself opens up a new way to uncover the underlying structures of different strings (and thus to tease apart competing hypotheses about the structure). Finally, I will discuss the implications of these results with respect to how we think about (the acquisition of) constraints on structural alternations verbs can participate in.

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March 23, 2017
  • Ling-Lunch -- Michelle Yuan (MIT)
    March 23, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:50 pm
    32-D461

    Title: Against morphological diagnostics for object agreement vs. clitic doubling: Evidence from Inuktitut

    There has been much recent debate concerning the proper analysis of object agreement—whether it is true agreement (phi-feature valuation) or clitic doubling (a pronominal D0 co-referring with a DP). Various diagnostics have been put forth to determine whether a given “object-referencing morpheme” is one or the other (e.g. Preminger 2009, Nevins 2011, Kramer 2014). In this talk, I argue against the use of morphological diagnostics (as in Zwicky & Pullum 1983, also Nevins 2011) in discerning between the two, based on a comparison between Inuktitut and related Inuit languages (mostly West Greenlandic).

    In Inuit, subject- and object-referencing morphemes surface as mood-sensitive portmanteaux; this has been previously taken as an argument for true object agreement in Inuit (Compton 2014). However, novel data from Inuktitut reveal that the Inuit languages actually display a split: while in West Greenlandic the object-referencing portion of these portmanteaux is underlyingly true agreement, in Inuktitut it is clitic doubling. Unlike West Greenlandic, Inuktitut displays a number of syntactic and semantic effects that strongly parallel the behaviour of pronominal object clitics cross-linguistically (e.g. Dobrovie-Sorin 1990, Cardinaletti & Starke 1999). I will moreover show that this split is not arbitrary, but falls within a broader pattern across Inuit.

    Crucially, despite this contrast, the West Greenlandic and Inuktitut agreement paradigms are almost entirely identical; their morphological properties therefore have no bearing on the underlying syntax associated with these forms. To properly discern between agreement and clitic doubling, we must instead focus on syntactic and semantic diagnostics that specifically take into account the determiner/pronominal status of doubled clitics, i.e. that they are D0’s in a syntactic dependency with a co-referring DP (see, for example, Preminger 2009).

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March 24, 2017
  • Cleo Condoravdi (Stanford): Third Annual Joint Ling/Phil Colloquium
    March 24, 2017 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

    Title: Conditional imperatives

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March 27, 2017
March 28, 2017
March 29, 2017
March 30, 2017
March 31, 2017
April 3, 2017
  • Phonology Circle: Kevin Ryan
    April 3, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
    32-D831

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April 5, 2017
  • LFRG
    April 5, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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  • LPRG
    April 5, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
    7th floor seminar room

    https://sites.google.com/site/lingphilreadinggroup/

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April 6, 2017
  • Ling-Lunch -- Adrian Stegovec (UConn)
    April 6, 2017 @ 12:30 pm - 1:50 pm
    32-D461

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April 7, 2017
  • Colloquium: Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero (University of Manchester)
    April 7, 2017 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
    location: 32-155

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April 10, 2017
  • Phonology Circle: Benjamin Storme
    April 10, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
    32-D831

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April 12, 2017
  • LFRG
    April 12, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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  • LPRG
    April 12, 2017 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
    7th floor seminar room

    https://sites.google.com/site/lingphilreadinggroup/

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April 13, 2017
  • Ling-Lunch -- Ezer Rasin & Roni Katzir (MIT)
    April 13, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:50 pm
    32-D461

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April 19, 2017
  • LFRG
    April 19, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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  • LPRG
    April 19, 2017 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
    7th floor seminar room

    https://sites.google.com/site/lingphilreadinggroup/

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April 20, 2017
  • Ling-Lunch -- Ian Roberts (U. Cambridge/U. Connecticut)
    April 20, 2017 @ 12:30 pm - 1:50 pm
    32-D461

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