Fieldwork and Language Documentation

Do all languages make countability distinctions? Evidence from Nez Perce.

Amy Rose Deal
2016

At first glance, Nez Perce looks like a language lacking any correlate of the traditional mass-count distinction. All Nez Perce nouns behave like canonical count nouns in three ways: all nouns combine with numerals without an overt measure phrase, all NPs may host plural features, and all NPs may host adjectives like big and small. I show that Nez Perce nevertheless makes two countability distinctions in noun semantics. A sums-based (cumulativity) distinction is revealed in the interaction of quantifiers with plural; a parts-based (divisiveness) distinction is revealed in...

Outwards-sensitive phonologically conditioned allomorphy in Nez Perce.

Amy Rose Deal
Matthew Wolf
2016

Theories of allomorph selection differ in the extent to which they allow the realization of morphemes closer to the Root to be sensitive to the shape of more peripheral morphemes. In contrast to the full parallelism of classic Optimality Theory (OT), various current approaches posit that morphemes are realized one at a time (serially), beginning with the Root and proceeding outwards. This predicts that no phonologically conditioned outward-sensitive allomorphy should exist. In this chapter we discuss new evidence from Nez Perce that morpheme realization is partly, though in fact not...

Reasoning about equivalence in semantic fieldwork

Amy Rose Deal
2015

The job of a fieldworker involves both elicitation from native speakers and interpretation of the data thus elicited. This chapter concerns the process of reasoning by which the bare results of elicitation are interpreted. One hypothesis often used in interpretation is that the input to translation and the output of translation are equivalent in meaning. Another is that, in a particular context, speakers will accept (or reject) sentences expressing the same range of propositions, regardless of what language they are speaking. Both hypotheses can be highly useful in reasoning about...

A note on Nez Perce verb agreement, with sample paradigms.

Amy Rose Deal
2015

The Nez Perce verb agrees with the subject and the object in person and number. This paper considers the full paradigm of verb agreement in transitive clauses, documenting a series of previously undescribed restrictions on the use of agreement affixes as well as extended uses of originally non-agreement morphology as part of the agreement system. Data is drawn from systematic elicitation of four transitive paradigms. Two full paradigms are presented in the appendix.

CLA updates

December 13, 2021

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

On Wednesday and Friday of last week, we hosted five Achumawi visitors who consulted linguistic field notes and sound recordings related to Achumawi (Palaihnihan; CA). The visit was the last of those sponsored by the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival this semester.

Interaction and satisfaction in φ-agreement

Amy Rose Deal
2015

A probe H interacts with feature F by copying F back to H. A probe H is satisfied by feature G iff copying G back to H terminates further probing for G by H. In this short paper, I introduce the distinction between interaction and satisfaction and give an argument that interaction and satisfaction features need not be the same. A probe may interact with the entire phi-set even though it is only satisfied by one particular phi-feature. Empirical evidence comes from complementizer agreement in Nez Perce, where the C probe interacts with all phi-features but is only satisfied by the...

Compositional paths to de re

Amy Rose Deal
2018

I argue that attitude reports de re arise compositionally via two distinct LF mechanisms. One mechanism allows the res to remain inside the embedded clause syntactically, and does not treat the res as an argument of the attitude verb semantically (Percus & Sauerland 2003, Ninan 2012). The other involves the res semantically serving as an argument of the attitude verb, and syntactically occupying a distinctive res position external to the embedded clause (Heim 1994). I show that both LF mechanisms are made use of by a single natural language, Nez Perce, and that Nez Perce allows...

Vague predicates, crisp judgments

Amy Rose Deal
Vera Hohaus
2019

Nez Perce is a language with a dedicated comparative morpheme and crisp judg- ments in its comparatives, but with no means to express differential measurement in its com- parative. These data can be captured by two different types of analyses: either Nez Perce has a negative setting of the Degree Semantics Parameter ([±DSP]) (Beck et al., 2009), along with a comparative operator that allows manipulation of context (Klein, 1980), or it has a positive setting of said parameter, but the comparative operator does not provide a slot for a differential degree argument. We show that the “...

Third readings by semantic scope lowering: prolepsis in Tiwa

Virginia Dawson
Amy Rose Deal
2019

Tiwa (Tibeto-Burman; India) attitude reports allow for proleptic objects, base-generated in the matrix clause but semantically related to a bound pronoun in the embedded clause. Unlike prolepsis in German (Salzmann, 2017b) and Nez Perce (Deal, 2018), which only allow for classic de re readings of the proleptic object, Tiwa prolepsis supports both classic de re and third readings. We provide an analysis that derives third readings via semantic scope lowering, an analytical relative of semantic reconstruction, and consider cross-linguistic implications.