Syntax and Semantics

Scott paper accepted at Linguistic Inquiry

January 14, 2020

Congrats to Tessa Scott, whose paper "Two types of Resumptive Pronouns in Swahili" has been accepted for publication in Linguistic Inquiry!

Deal in Göttingen

December 2, 2019

Next week, Amy Rose Deal will be traveling to Göttingen, Germany, to give an invited talk on the mass/count distinction at Number and Plurality: Cross-linguistic Variation in the Nominal Domain.

López wins MA thesis award

October 22, 2019

Congrats to first-year grad student Wendy López, who has just been named winner of the 2019 Wigberto Jiménez Moreno Prize for best Linguistics Master's Thesis by Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia! Wendy's award-winning thesis is entitled Mecanismos morfosintácticos de cambio de valencia y diátesis en el nuntajɨɨyi (Sierra Popoluca).

Cable colloquium

October 17, 2019

The 2019-2020 colloquium series continues this coming Monday, Oct 21, with a talk by Seth Cable (UMass). Same time as always, same place as always: 3:10-5 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall. The talk is entitled Two Paths to Habituality: Imperfective Mode vs. Habitual Mode in Tlingit (and Simple Present in English), and the abstract is as follows:

Despite its morpho-syntactic simplicity, the English sentence in (1) expresses an especially complex and still deeply puzzling meaning, one having to do with the subject’s habits, propensities, dispositions, duties, etc.

(1) My father eats salmon.

Interestingly, in the Tlingit language (Na-Dene; Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon), there seem to be two means for expressing the general meaning of (1). The first is to use a verb in the so-called ‘Imperfective Mode’ (2a); the second is to use a verb in the so-called ‘Habitual Mode’ (2b).

(2) a. Ax̱ éeshch tʼá ax̱á.
1sgPOSS father.ERG king.salmon
My father eats king salmon (MD)

b. Ax̱ éesh x̱áat ux̱áaych.
1sgPOSS father salmon
My father eats salmon. (SE)

This of course raises the following questions: (i) What exactly is the morpho-syntactic and semantic difference (if any) between the two Tlingit verbal forms in (2)? (ii) How do either of these verbal forms relate syntactically or semantically to the English simple present verb in (1)? In this talk, I will principally address the first of these questions. We will see that there are indeed some important semantic and (morpho-)syntactic differences between ‘imperfective habituals’ in Tlingit (2a) and ‘habitual-marked habituals’ (2b). In particular, I will argue that imperfective habituals have the general structure in (3a), where the ‘habituality’ in the semantics is contributed directly by the imperfective aspect (Deo 2009, Arregui et al. 2014). On the other hand, habitual-marked habituals have the structure in (3b). Under this proposal, the Habitual Mode morphology is the realization T(ense), when the T-head is bound by a temporal quantifier (e.g. tlákw ‘always’, wáa ng̱aneen sá ‘sometimes’). Furthermore, it is this temporal quantifier – which in some sentences may be implicit/covert (2b) – which contributes the understood ‘habituality’, and not the Habitual Mode morphology itself.

(3) a. Syntax of (2a): [TP T [AspP IMPRVGEN [VP my father eat salmon ] … ]

b. Syntax of (2b): [TP TempQuant [TP T [AspP ASP [VP my father eat salmon ] … ]

Finally, I will begin to outline a defense of the claim that English sentences with simple (present) verbs, like (1), are syntactically ambiguous, and can in principle receive either of the structural analyses in (3).

WSCLA 23 proceedings published

September 22, 2019

The Proceedings of WSCLA 23 (Workshop on Structure and Constituency in the Languages of the Americas) have recently been published, containing the following papers by department members and recent alumni:

Nico Baier (PhD '18) and Zachary O’Hagan: Morphological reflexes of subject extraction in Caquinte Bernat Bardagil: Person, case, and cliticization: the Panará PCC Nicholas Rolle (PhD '18) and Zachary O’Hagan: Different kinds of second-position clitics in Caquinte

Congrats all!

Berkeley @ CCILA IX

September 9, 2019

The program for the 9th Conference on Indigenous Languages of Latin America (CILLA IX) has just been released, promising the following presentations by current department members and recent alumni:

Zachary O'Hagan: Complex Temporal Relations in Caquinte: The Case of =ta and =ja Wendy Liz Arbey López Marquez: Los aplicativos en el popoluca de la Sierra Myriam Lapierre, Tessa Scott, Karee Garvin: Morphologically conditioned (sub)segmental subtraction in Mam Kelsey Neely (PhD '19): Metrical phonology in the verbal domain in Yaminawa (Pano, Peru) Amalia Horan Skilton (PhD '19): Demonstratives and reaching space in Ticuna

Congrats all!

Research group meetings & talk series this semester

September 5, 2019
Calques has been made aware of the following research groups and talk series meeting this semester: Experimental Phonology Working Group -- meeting on Mondays, 10:30-11:30am, in Dwinelle 1226. The first meeting will be Monday, September 9. Contact Jesse Zymet for more information. Fieldwork Forum -- meeting on Thursdays, 3:40-5:00pm, in Dwinelle 1303. Organized by Edwin Ko, Emily Drummond and Wesley dos Santos. More info on the website: Fieldwork Forum Gesture and Multimodality Group -- meeting certain Fridays, 9-11am. Contact Eve Sweetser for more information. Group in American Indian Languages -- meeting dates and times TBD; contact Zach O'Hagan for more information. Language Revitalization Working Group -- meeting Thursdays 1-2pm, in Dwinelle 3401. More info on the website: Language Revitalization Working Group Metaphor Group -- meeting times TBD; contact Eve Sweetser for more information. Phorum -- meeting Mondays 12-1pm, in 1229 Dwinelle. Organized by Emily Grabowski and Yevgeniy Melguy. More info on the website: Phorum Society of Linguistics Undergraduates Students (SLUgS) -- meeting certain Thursdays 5pm Sociolinguistics lab -- meeting on certain Tuesdays, 3:30-5pm, in Dwinelle 1229. The first meeting will be Tuesday, September 10. Contact Isaac Bleaman for more information. Syntax & Semantics Circle -- meeting on Fridays, 3-4:30pm, in Dwinelle 1303. Organized by Tessa Scott & Schuyler Laparle. More info on the website: Syntax and Semantics Circle

Lemon presents at Sinn und Bedeutung

September 4, 2019

Tyler Lemon is heading to Osnabrück, Germany this week to present a poster at Sinn und Bedeutung 24 titled "Clausal comparison and degree abstraction in Vietnamese exceed comparatives." Congrats, Tyler!

Bossi, Wilbanks publish in Glossa

August 25, 2019

Congrats to Madeline Bossi and Eric Wilbanks, whose papers have each appeared this summer in Glossa!!

Bossi's paper is entitled V1 in Kipsigis: Head movement and discourse-based scrambling, co-authored with Michael Diercks.

Wilbanks' paper is entitled Sound change and coarticulatory variability involving English /ɹ/, co-authored with Bridget Smith, Jeff Mielke, and Lyra Magloughlin.