23 October 2011

Maria Polinsky gives department colloquium this Friday

Maria Polinsky from Harvard University will this week's colloquium on Friday October 28 at 3:30 PM in Machmer E-37.

Title: Explaining syntactic ergativity

This paper shows that ergative languages fall into two separate classes, PP-ergative and DP-ergative languages. In PP-ergative languages, the ergative is contained inside a PP which prevents it from undergoing A-bar movement. This accounts for the widespread phenomenon of syntactic ergativity. DP-ergative languages allow the extraction of the ergative. The paper  then presents and analyzes a cluster of properties associated with the two types. Under the principled division of ergative languages into the proposed two classes, the syntactic ramifications of ergativity are predictable and lead to a more uniform syntax.

Everyone is welcome to a post-colloquium dinner to be held at Alice Harris's house.