ComSyn started as discussion group about Comparative Syntax at Leiden University Center for Linguistics (LUCL). Now, it is primarily a series of lectures about (Comparative) Syntax. Speakers from all over the world are welcome to present their work in an informal setting. ComSyn is the perfect place to present work in progress, do a mock defense or a dry run for a conference, or simply present a syntactic problem one would like to share with other linguists. If you have any suggestions, please contact one of the organizers—Elisabeth Kerr and Maarten Bogaards.
10 Mar | Matthijs Westera (LUCL)
31 Mar | Balthasar Bickel (University of Zurich)[POSTPONED]
21 Apr | Kristel Doreleijers (Tilburg University)
28 Apr | Justin Case (University of Ottawa/LUCL)
12 May | Jutta Hartmann (Bielefeld University)
19 May | Giuseppe Rugna (University of Florence/LUCL)
2 June | Prerna Nadathur (University of Konstanz)
In person talks are in Lipsius 121 (except for 19 May in Lipsius 123); online talks are on Zoom (please join our mailing list for the links).
Thursday 3 June – Fabienne Martin
Speaker: Fabienne Martin (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Title: Requiem for a Theme
Date: Thursday 3 June
Venue: Skype (contact us to get access to the meeting)
Conjugation classes in Romance and beyond are typically seen as not contributing anything deterministic to the syntax or semantics; they are just a morphological necessity, often encoded by theme vowels. Contrary to this view, we explore the intuition that most French “Group 2” verbs have semantic characteristics, namely that they denote change of state. We provide a first experimental test of this hypothesis and outline a formal analysis. Our conclusion is that “Group 2” contains a productive verbalizing Cause morpheme /i(s)/ which speakers are able to generalize from. French has thus no conjugation classes as such, and only limited use of theme vowels. Rather, it has regular verbs (-er, “Gr. 1”), regular verbs with the /i(s)/ suffix (“Gr. 2”) and a small set of irregulars (“Gr. 3”).