SynSem 01/11 – Peter Jenks (UCB)

We will have Pere Jenks from UCB this week in the first SynSem of Winter Quarter.

Speaker: Peter Jenks (UCB)
Date/Time: Friday, January 11, 2-4pm
Location: Campbell 2122
Title: Quantifier Float and Scope in Thai
Contact: Dominique Sportiche


In this paper I present an analysis of quantifier float (Q-float) in Thai as overt Quantifier Raising (QR). I show that the position of floated object quantifiers in Thai cannot be identified with A-traces of overt arguments, militating against an analysis in terms of stranding (e.g. Sportiche 1988, Miyagawa 1989). At the same time, Thai Q-float is subject to scope and locality restrictions of floated quantifiers, facts which I take to be problematic for a purely adverbial analysis. In light of these difficulties, I propose that Thai Q-float is QR, taken to be A-scrambling of a quantifier to a projection of VP (Johnson and Tomioka 1997). Q-float itself is argued to result from scattered deletion of the moved quantifier, where the pronunciation of the quantifier in the floated position is focus-driven, a claim which is supported by evidence from ellipsis and intervention effects.

SynSem 11/30 – Laura Kalin

Laura Kalin will be speaking in Syntax & Semantics Seminar this Friday. Her talk is entitled: Two Last Resort Phenomena in Senaya (Neo-Aramaic). The abstract can be found below.

Speaker: Laura Kalin
Date/Time: Friday, November 30, 2-4pm
Location: Campbell 2122
Title: Two Last Resort Phenomena in Senaya (Neo-Aramaic)
Contact: Hilda Koopman


In this talk, I lay out novel data revealing two last resort phenomena in the Neo-Aramaic language Senaya, originally spoken in the city of Sanandaj in Iran. I show that theoretically accounting for the behavior of these last resort phenomena is not straight- forward, and that existing theories of last resort phenomena (in particular, Rezac (2011)) cannot fully account for Senaya. As an alternative to previous accounts, I present two possible ways to implement this last resort mechanism dynamically in the syntax, one involving selection, and the other involving the activation of a phi-probe.

SynSem 11/16 – Hilda Koopman

**Please note! Since there is no colloquium, this Friday’s SynSem seminar will exceptionally meet from 11-1 in the conference room. **

Hilda Koopman will be presenting a (pre)practice talk for a keynote address (RALFe, Paris, November 28).

Speaker: Hilda Koopman
Date/Time: Friday, November 16, 11-1pm
Location: Campbell 2122
Title: The dance of subjects and objects, and the cases they create
Contact: Hilda Koopman


The dance of subjects and objects, and the cases they create

What makes a language ergative (absolutive) or (nominative) accusative? What properties, if any, correlate with ergativity or accusativity? How should we understand ergativity/accusativity in decompositional, derivational syntactic approaches, with late cyclic spell out and interpretation? Is there indeed a theoretical difference between inherent and structural case, or is a unified theory within reach? Why are ergative case marking languages (almost always) found in verb peripheral languages, but not in SVO languages (Mahajan 2004, 2007)? Why are certain case systems excluded?

My talk addresses these questions, taking as point of departure four syntactic puzzles from Samoan, a Polynesian VSO language with an ergative case system. I will motivate a unified analysis for these puzzles (Koopman 2008, 2012), which will be shown to fall out from the way structures are build by External and Internal Merge(movement). Crucial analytical and theoretical ingredients include a universal hierarchy for predicate decomposition (Pylkka ̈nen, 2010…), interpretative properties of different subject and object positions, internal Merge(= movement) of vP, VP shells (this is how subjects and objects get to their final positions), (inviolable) Minimality, the case filter, and a local environment for spelling out (all) case(s).
The analysis for Samoan in turn will set the stage for a new understanding of the (old) problem of accusative case marking, insights in Mahajan’s typological generalization, and moving us towards an understanding of why certain case systems are unattested.

SynSem 11/09 – Victoria Mateu-Martin, Jos Tellings, Cansada Martin, and Lauren Winans

Please join us for Friday’s SynSem Binding MiniFest.

Speaker: See below
Date/Time: Friday, November 9, 2-5pm
Location: Campbell 2122
Title: See below
Contact: Hilda Koopman

Jos Tellings  “Dutch intensifier zelf and helemaal modification”.

Victoria Mateu  “The Clitic Binding Restriction Revisited: Evidence of Antilogophoricity in Spanish”

Sadie Martin “That’s a problem: notes on binding of demonstrative and definite expressions”

Lauren Winans “An apparent condition B violation “

SynSem 11/02 – Martin Walkow

Martin Walkow will be presenting in Syntax and Semantics Seminar this week. His talk is entitled: Variation and Repair in Person-based restrictions on Cliticization. All welcome!

Speaker: Martin Walkow
Date/Time: Friday, November 2, 2-4pm
Location: Campbell 2122
Title: Variation and Repair in Person-based restrictions on Cliticization
Contact: Hilda Koopman