Thursday 29 November – Caitlin Meyer

Speaker: Caitlin Meyer (University of Amsterdam)
Title: Rule and order: using structure to acquire ordinal numerals
Date: Thursday 29 November
Venue: Van Eyckhof 3/002
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs
drinks: Cafe de Keyzer

Abstract:
This talk compares the acquisition of ordinals in Dutch and English, and argues that both groups of learners acquire ordinals in a rule-based fashion. This claim is based on data from 250 children (2;08–6;04), which show that children acquire irregular ordinals (such as derde ‘third’) after they acquire regular synthetic forms (such as vierde ‘fourth’) and even after analytic ordinals (e.g., boot zes ‘boat six’). This may seem unsurprising or even obvious: it only makes sense for children to prefer rule-based forms. Or does it?
This pattern is actually quite puzzling: children seem to skip a lexical learning stage before acquiring their ordinal rule. This makes ordinal acquisition unlike cardinal acquisition (where lexical learning is key, e.g., Le Corre & Carey 2007), and unlike the acquisition of inflectional or derivational morphology (where children initially store morphologically complex forms, cf. Clark 2104, Yang 2016). This begs the question: if not from stored evidence, where does this rule come from and how does this rule learning actually work? I argue that the interplay between transparent linguistic knowledge and abstract concepts is just the recipe for children to cook up ordinal meaning from structural ingredients.

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Thursday 15 November – Siavash Rafiee Rad

Speaker: Siavash Rafiee Rad (Leiden University)
Title: The Semantics of Ellipsis in Persian Complex Predicates
Date: Thursday 15 November
Venue: Van Eyckhof 3/002
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs
drinks: Cafe de Keyzer

Abstract:
The study of Ellipsis has been of special interest to scholars of linguistics. One reason for this interest is the fact that the meaning of a sentence with ellipsis cannot purely be based on its antecedent. This talk intends to discuss ellipsis in Persian Complex predicate constructions in which parts of the verbal construction along with some of its arguments are elided. I will argue that ellipsis resolution in such constructions is licensed due to the logical form of such verbal constructions and the relationship that holds amongst parallel elements in the source and the target sentence. Finally, I will discuss how distinguishing between primary and secondary occurrences of anaphoric expressions in the logical form can account for the correct and grammatical reading of intended anaphoric expressions in elliptical sites.

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Thursday 25 October – Deniz Tat

Speaker: Deniz Tat (Leiden University)
Title: Can zero-derived nominals project an argument structure?
Date: Thursday 25 October
Venue: Van Eyckhof 3/002
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs
drinks: Cafe de Keyzer

Abstract:
In this talk, I will revisit the claim that zero-derived nominals cannot have an argument structure (Grimshaw, 1990; Borer, 2003; Alexiadou and Grimshaw, 2008) by looking at a class of such nominals in Turkish that assign accusative case. These nominals are always of foreign origin, mostly Arabic, but also French and Italian, while their Semitic or Romance derivational histories have no formal status in the synchronic grammar of Turkish. They not only assign structural case, but also allow aspectual and agent-oriented modification, event control within rationale clauses and binomial each, all indicating the presence of a verbal representation. They are analogous to English nominals, such as murder, collapse, repair and defeat, as in the example “the frequent murder of judiciary and governmental officials” (Harley, 2009: 341), which are crucially of Latinate/French origin (see also Alexiadou 2009: 257). I will thus conclude that nominals of foreign origin can be exceptions to the generalization that zero-derived nominals do not project an argument structure, and that models of lexical borrowing must refer to underlying morphosyntactic representations.

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Thursday 4 October – Jan Casalicchio

Speaker: Jan Casalicchio (Leiden University)
Title: The subject/object asymmetry and the origin of Romance clitics
Date: Thursday 4 October
Venue: Van Eyckhof 3/002
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs (drinks follow)

Abstract:
In this talk I discuss the differences between object and subject clitic (OCL and SCL) pronouns in Romance, and track their origin in the Middle Ages. These two types of pronouns differ because SCL generally behave as agreement markers, object clitics as real pronouns. In technical terms, subject clitics have only φ-features (i.e., agreement features), while object clitics also have D-features (pronominal features), Roberts (2010). This is shown by various tests, e.g. coordination, negation, etc (Poletto 2000).
In our analysis we propose that this difference is due to the origin of clitics: they first emerged in Old Romance in topicalisation contexts, to resume a dislocated element. However, dislocated objects are more distant from their usual, unmarked position than dislocated subjects (technically: objects have to cross a phase boundary, subjects do not). For this reason, objects have to be resumed by a richer pronominal element than subjects. Later on, the “poorer” structure of subject clitics lead to subject doubling, a common process in Northern Italian Dialects.

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Thursday 20 September – Hedde Zeijlstra

Speaker: Hedde Zeijlstra (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)
Title: On Merge and Labeling
Date:Thursday 20 September
Venue: Van Eyckhof 3/002
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs

Abstract:

Most approaches to labelling assume that Merge does not yield a label itself, and that therefore an additional labeling algorithm needs to determine what the label of a merger is. In this talk, I present a view on merge and labelling, where the label is immediately generated. Instead of focusing on the question why some feature present on a daughter should project, I argue that the real question at stake is why not every feature projects upon Merge. Starting with the assumption that the distribution of every syntactic element is fully determined by the unordered set of its independent (previously known as ‘interpretable’) and dependent (previously known as ‘uninterpretable’) formal features, the central claim of my talk is that upon merger every feature on both of the merged elements percolates, unless an independent feature [F] and a dependent feature [uF] stand in a sisterhood relation. Then, neither of these two features percolate. This provides a proper labeling mechanism that can also account for the labeling of adjunction. The proposal further reinstalls c-selection and explains the effects traditionally attributed to abstract case in terms of DP-selection. It also reduces the set of categorial features to a few primitive independent features ([D], [T], [Pred]). In the final part of this paper, it is discussed how this proposal relates to, or even derives, syntactic operations, such as Agree, movement or valuation.

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Thursday 17 May – Jan-Wouter Zwart

Speaker: Jan-Wouter Zwart (University of Groningen)
Title: Tense in infinitives: a non-cartographic approach
Date: Thursday 17 May
Venue: Van Eyckhof 2/003
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs

Abstract:

The presence or absence of T inside infinitival clauses informs the structural analysis of infinitival complements. On a cartographic approach to syntactic structure, absence of T leads to the hypothesis of a truncated clause structure, where the infinitive fails to grow into a fullsized clause. On this approach, the structure of the clause with its functional projections is universally given, so that absence of a low functional projection necessarily implies absence of all higher projections in the universal structure.
This cartographic approach to infinitival clause structure underlies the analysis of Wurmbrand (2001) (and, to a lesser extent, also Ter Beek 2008), where the projection for licensing objects vP is lower than the projection of the tense operator TP. As we will see, objects in German and Dutch typically cannot be realized internal to an infinitival complement clause, suggesting to Wurmbrand that in those situations the truncation point is below vP, and absence of object licensing and absence of tense go hand in hand. But as we will see, an independent tense operator can be present inside the infinitival complement, even if objects cannot be licensed internal to the infinitival clause, suggesting that the cartographic approach, where size of the infinitival clause is determined by an implicational hierarchy, is unsuccessful in this domain.
This paper proposes an alternative, more dynamic approach to clause structure, capitalizing on the idea, tacitly assumed in most approaches, that a derivation must be a network of derivations (‘layered derivations’, cf. Zwart 2009), with subsidiary derivations feeding into a main derivation at various points. On this approach, infinitival tense points to the construction of a tensed verb cluster in a separate derivation.

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Thursday 7 June – Anikó Lipták and Güliz Günes

Speaker: Anikó Lipták (Leiden University) and Güliz Günes (Leiden University)
(joint work with Jason Merchant)
Title: Dutch P-stranding under sluicing
Date: Thursday 7 June
Venue: Van Eyckhof 2/003
Time: 11.15-12.30 hrs

Abstract:
This talk provides an explanation for the surprising ban on preposition stranding by R-pronominals in sluicing in Dutch. While R-pronouns can strand their preposition in non-elliptical contexts at a distance, they cannot do this when the stranded preposition is contained in an elided clause (Merchant 2001). We show that the observed ban cannot be attributed to a prosodic problem, concerning either the (de)accentuation of the stranded preposition or that of the overt R-pronoun. Pointing out some problems with an existing syntactic account of the data, we propose that the source of ungrammaticality lies entirely in the morphology.

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Wednesday 21 February – Artemis Alexiadou

speaker: Artemis Alexiadou (Humboldt University, Berlin)
Title: Some puzzles about derivational morphology
Date: Wednesday 21 February (NOT THURSDAY!!)
Venue: Van Eyckhof 2/002
Time: 15.45-17.00 hrs

Please notice the change of the time and the place!!!

Abstract

In this talk, I will address two asymmetries observed in derivational morphology across languages. The first asymmetry, discussed in Baker (2003), is that while nominalization is extensive, verbalization is limited. The second one, discussed in Borer (2013), is that there are no zero-derived verb-noun pairs that involve overt affixes. I will approach these asymmetries by adopting a view on word formation couched within the framework of Distributed Morphology.

 

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Thursday 15 March – Jenneke van der Wal

Speaker: Jenneke van der Wal (Leiden University)
Title: Topic-based flexible nominal licensing in Bantu
Date: Thursday 15 March
Venue: Van Wijkplaats 2/002
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs

Abstract:
Two typical Bantu syntactic characteristics are subject inversion and symmetrical double objects, which are both problematic for current theories of Case and agreement. I propose that both can be captured using a new concept of flexible licensing by low functional heads (Appl and v), connected to topicality.

In subject inversion the logical subject appears postverbally and a preverbal locative/patient/instrument agrees with the verb (-zi- in 1):
(1) Inzogá nti-zi-nywá abáana.
9.alcohol NEG-9SM-drink 2.children
‘It’s the children who do not drink alcohol.’ Kinyarwanda (Ngoboka 2016: 356)

In double object symmetry, either object of a ditransitive (recipient or theme) can be passivised and either can be object-marked (OM) on the verb (2):
(2) a. U-mama u-ba-nik-e in-cwadi (aba-ntwana).
1a-mama 1SM-2OM-give-PFV 9-book 2-children
‘Mama gave them a book (the children).’
b. U-mama u-yi-nik-e aba-ntwana (in-cwadi).
1a-mama 1SM-9OM-give-PFV 2-children 9-book
‘Mama gave the children it (a book).’ Zulu (Adams 2010: 11)

The challenge is how T (for inversion) or v (for object marking) can agree with a lower Goal (theme) across a higher one (subject or benefactive), given standard non-intervention locality restrictions on Agree. I explore the hypothesis that the intervening argument can be licensed by the head that introduces it (v or Appl), if and only if it is non-topical. This allows the higher head to probe past it (assuming no defective intervention).

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Thursday 1 March – Bernat Bardagil-Mas

Speaker: Bernat Bardagil-Mas (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen/UC Berkeley)
Title: Multiple exponence and patchwork paradigms
Date: Thursday 1 March
Venue: Van Wijkplaats 2/002
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs

Abstract

This talk discusses participant cross-reference in Panará, a Northern Jê language spoken in central Brazil. Previous work on the language (Dourado 2001, 2003) concluded that Panará presents a partial alignment split in the exponence of case. While DPs (both pronominal and lexical) are case-marked in an accusative pattern, the pronominal clitic system works in an alignment split: in realis mood, clitics mirror the case exponed on DPs, but in irrealis mood a different accusative alignment system emerges with the irruption of a different nominative clitic paradigm.

After introducing the existing narrative and comparing the Panará case with the existing claims for other Jê languages, I will challenge the two basic claims in the existing view of Panará alignment: there is no clitic nominative paradigm, and there is no clitic alignment split. I will argue that the illusion of a nominative clitic paradigm results from one of the instances of multiple exponence (Campbell 2012) in the Panará participant cross-reference system, and from a shift in the person features targeted by person exponence in irrealis mood.

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