23 March 2014

Amy Rose Deal in Bhatt's seminar tomorrow

Amy Rose Deal (UC, Santa Cruz) will give a talk entitled “Cyclicity and connectivity in Nez Perce relative clauses,” in Rajesh Bhatt’s seminar tomorrow, Monday, March 24. Her talk is in the Partee room at 4:00.

The abstract:

This talk centers on two aspects of movement in relative clauses, focusing on evidence from Nez Perce. 

First, I argue that relativization involves _cyclic_ A’ movement, even in monoclausal relatives. Rather than moving directly to Spec,CP, the relative element moves there via an intermediate position in an A’ outer specifier of the TP immediately subjacent to relative C. Cyclicity of this type suggests that the TP sister of relative C constitutes a phase – a result whose implications extend to an ill-understood corner of the English that-trace effect.

Second, I argue that Nez Perce relativization provides new evidence for an ambiguity thesis for relative clauses, according to which some but not all relatives are derived by a head-raising analysis. The argument comes from connectivity and anticonnectivity in morphological case. These new data complement the range of standard arguments for head-raising, which draw primarily on connectivity effects at the syntax-semantics interface.

(You can get a preview of her talk here.)

Open House

The department is hosting prospective students this week, and there are a variety of events scheduled around their visit, including a tour of the new building on Friday afternoon. In addition:

The P Reading Group will meet at Amanda and Shayne’s place at 7PM on Thursday, March 27. Ivy will be presenting a paper.

The S Reading Group will meet at the same time at Mike and Jeremy’s place, where Yangsook will present a paper.

The S and P groups will convene afterwards at the Foundry (24 Main Street, Northampton) at around 8:30 to debrief. 

Gereon Müller: syntax guru

This year’s syntax guru, Gereon Müller, arrives on Monday, March 22, for his four week residence in the department. Professor Müller is professor linguistics and coordinator of the linguistics department at the University of Leipzig. He has done important work on rule interaction, making fundamental contributions to our understanding of what a syntactic derivation is. He is an expert on all things movement: how to treat the A/A’ distinction, island effects, interactions with anaphora, etc., etc. He has also done extensive work on inflectional morphology, including several papers on syncretism. You can get a more complete picture of his work here.

Gereon will be floating in the department. This coming week, he will be housed in Seth’s office from Monday to Thursday, and in Kyle’s office on Friday. Make appointments by writing: gereon.mueller@uni-leipzig.de.

Katja Poellmann talks at Brown Bag on Wednesday

Alexandra Jesse writes:

This is a reminder that Katja Poellmann (Northeastern University) is giving a talk this week in the Cognitive Psychology Brown Bag (Wednesday, Tobin 521B, 12-1:15). The title of the talk is "The many ways listeners adapt to reductions in casual speech".

The abstract is:

Three eye-tracking experiments tested whether native listeners recognized reduced Dutch words better after having heard the same reduced words, or different reduced words of the same reduction type and whether familiarization with one reduction type helps listeners to deal with another reduction type. In the exposure phase, Group 1 was exposed to /b/-reductions (e.g., manaan instead of banaan, 'banana') and Group 2 was exposed to full-vowel deletions (e.g., p'raat instead of paraat, 'ready'), while a control group did not hear any reductions. In the test phase, all three groups heard the same speaker producing reduced-/b/ and deleted-vowel words that were either repeated (Experiments 1 & 2) or new (Experiment 3). Word-specific learning effects were found for vowel-deletions, but not for /b/-reductions. Generalization of learning to new words of the same reduction type occurred only if the exposure words showed a phonologically consistent reduction pattern (/b/-reductions). In contrast, generalization of learning to words of another reduction type occurred only if the exposure words showed a phonologically inconsistent reduction pattern (the vowel deletions; learning about them generalized to recognition of the /b/-reductions). In order to deal with reductions, listeners thus use various means. They store reduced variants (e.g., for the inconsistent vowel-deleted words) and they abstract over incoming information to build up and apply mapping rules (e.g., for the consistent /b/-reductions). Experience with inconsistent pronunciations leads to greater perceptual flexibility in dealing with other forms of reduction uttered by the same speaker than experience with consistent pronunciations.

Luis talks in LARC on Thursday

Magda Oiry writes:

Luiz Amaral will be presenting in the LARC meeting this Thursday at 9:45 in the Partee room a talk entitled "Experimental ideas to test recursive relative clauses."

Everyone welcome!

Harris in Ann Arbor

Alice Harris gave an invited paper, entitled “On the Origins of Biabsolutive Constructions in Avar, Batsbi, and Nakh-Daghestanian,” at the Fifteenth Spring Workshop on Theory and Method in Linguistic Reconstruction, which took place March 14-16 at the University of Michigan. 

Gereon Müller gives department colloquium

Syntax guru, Gereon Müller will present “Buffers in Syntactic Derivations,” at the department colloquium this Friday in Machmer E-37. Because of Open House events, the time of Gereon’s talk is later than the usual colloquium time. His talk starts at 4:30.

An abstract for Gereon’s talk:

Phase-based minimalist syntax can be characterized as a localderivational approach to grammar: Syntactic structures are generatedbottom-up, by alternating operations like Merge, Move, and Agree, andthe accessible window of a derivation is quite small throughout -- itis standardly assumed to be confined to the minimal phase (PIC,Chomsky (2001)). In such an approach, all long-distance dependenciesmust be modelled locally. Thus, unbounded wh-movement is assumed to becomposed of a series of smaller movement steps to intermediate phaseedges, and similar local analyses postulating a decomposition ofseemingly non-local syntactic operations into sequences of smallersteps have been given for other non-local phenomena, likelong-distance reflexivization, non-local case assignment, andlong-distance agreement.

Against this background, I will discuss three movement-relatedphenomena that have so far proven recalcitrant from alocal-derivational, phase-based perspective: improper movement,remnant movement, and resumptive movement. The empirical evidence willmostly come from German. In all three cases, the dilemma is that itseems that information from a syntactic domain A must be used in asyntactic domain B even though it should not be accessible in B --either because A is not present yet (the look-ahead problem), orbecause A is too deeply embedded (a kind of backtracking problem).

First, what is arguably the simplest and most elegant approach toimproper movement (viz., the Williams Cycle; Williams (1974; 2003),Sternefeld (1992), Grewendorf (2003; 2004), Abels (2008), Neeleman &van de Koot (2010), Bader (2011), Keine (2014)) presupposes that inorder to determine whether a given long-distance movement operation islegitimate or not, information about landing sites in the embeddedclause is available (backtracking). Second, it seems that in order todistinguish legitimate and illegitimate cases of remnant movement(involving Freezing, Anti-Freezing, and what has been called theMueller-Takano Generalization; see Mueller (1993; 1998), Takano(1994), Kitahara (1994), Koizumi (1995), Sauerland (1999), Pesetsky(2012)), decisions must be made early in the derivation that depend oninformation which is not available yet (look-ahead). Third, withresumption, the problem is again that at crucial stages of thederivation (viz., when an island can -- or, indeed, must -- becrossed; Sells(1984), Pesetsky (1998), Boeckx (2003), McCloskey(2005)), the relevant information (about whether or not there is aresumptive pronoun in the base position) does not seem to be availableanymore (backtracking).

My goal in this talk is to present a unified analysis of these threephenomena (this implies treating the remnant movement problem as abacktracking rather than a look-ahead problem) that makes crucial useof buffers which temporarily store minimal aspects of the derivationalhistory on a moved item. The locus of this storage is themovement-related feature of the moved item (e.g., [wh]), moreprecisely, its value, which is viewed as a first-in-first-out listthat constantly changes throughout the derivation but must qualify aslegitimate (essentially: respect the functional sequence of heads,f-seq) in criterial positions.

UMass at FASAL 4

The fourth annual meeting of Formal Approaches to South Asian Languages happens this weekend (March 29-30) at Rutgers University. UMass is represented there by:

Rajesh Bhatt and Vincent Homer, who give the paper “The Interpretation of Infinitival negation in Hindi-Urdu."


Sakshi Bhatia, who will be giving the paper “Multiple Focus in Hindi-Urdu."


Stefan Keine and Rajesh Bhatt, who will be postering: “Auxiliary Deletion and the analysis of T in Hindi-Urdu."

Poole at PLC

Congratulations to Ethan Poole, who will be presenting “A configurational account of Finnish case” at the Penn Linguistics Circle meeting on Saturday, March 29. For a schedule of talks at PLC, go here.

Final Call: ESSLLI 2014 Student Session

Held during the 26th European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information

Tübingen, Germany, August 11-22, 2014

*Deadline for submissions: April 1st, 2014*


*ABOUT:*The Student Session of the 26th European Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information (ESSLLI) will take place in Tübingen, Germany on August 11-22, 2014. We invite submissions of original, unpublished work from students in any area at the intersection of Logic & Language, Language & Computation, or Logic & Computation. Submissions will be reviewed by several experts in the field, and accepted papers will be presented orally or as posters and will appear in the student session proceedings by Springer. This is an excellent opportunity to receive valuable feedback from expert readers and to present your work to a diverse audience.

*SEPARATE POSTER SESSION:*Note that there are two separate kinds of submissions, one for the oral presentations and one for the posters. This means that papers can be directly submitted as posters. Reviewing and ranking will be done separately. We particularly encourage submissions for posters, as they offer an excellent opportunity to present research in progress.

*SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:*All authors must be students, and submissions may be singly or jointly authored. Submissions should not be longer than 8 pages for an oral presentation and 4 pages for a poster presentation (including examples and references). Submissions must be anonymous, without any identifying information. More detailed guidelines regarding submission can be found on the Student Session website: http://www.kr.tuwien.ac.at/drm/dehaan/stus2014/.

*FURTHER INFORMATION:*Please direct inquiries about submission procedures or other matters relating to the Student Session to dehaan@kr.tuwien.ac.at. 

ESSLLI 2014 will feature a wide range of foundational and advanced courses and workshops in all areas of Logic, Language, and Computation. For further information, including registration information and course listings, and for general inquiries about ESSLLI 2014, please consult the main ESSLLI 2014 page: http://www.esslli2014.info/.

Proceedings of Meeting on Phonology

The Proceedings of the 2013 Meeting on Phonology, edited by John Kingston,  Claire Moore-Cantwell, Joe Pater and Robert Staubs, have just been published by the Linguistic Society of America:


The proceedings include papers by current UMass PhD students Claire Moore-Cantwell and Robert Staubs, and alumni Gillian Gallagher (BA), Elliott Moreton, Jennifer Smith, and Anne-Michelle Tessier. The papers were developed from presentations at Phonology 2013, held at UMass in November. The next Annual Meeting on Phonology will be held at MIT September 19-21, and the fall 2015 edition will be hosted by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

Syntax position at University of Illinois

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks applications for a one-year Visiting Assistant Professor position in syntax. The appointment will be a full-time, nine-month position.  Renewal of position is possible and contingent on availability of funding, strong enrollments, and strong performance reviews.  The target start date of appointment is August 16, 2014. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Qualifications include a Ph.D. in Linguistics (or a closely related field) with specialization in syntax, in hand by the date of appointment; an active research agenda including publications in syntax; teaching experience and evidence of teaching excellence. Additional expertise in semantics or the syntax-semantics interface is preferred; background in other areas such as historical linguistics, experimental methodology, or non-Western languages is a plus.

Teaching duties include graduate and undergraduate courses in syntax, survey courses in linguistics, and additional courses according to the qualifications and interests of the successful candidate.

To apply, create your candidate profile through the University of Illinois application login page at https://jobs.illinois.edu and upload your application materials: application letter, CV, up to three sample publications, teaching evaluations or other evidence of excellence in teaching, and names and contact information (or Interfolio ID) for three professional references. Referees (or Interfolio) will be contacted by the department after submission of the application.

Only electronic applications submitted through https://jobs.illinois.edu will be accepted.

To ensure full consideration, all required applicant materials must be received no later than April 11, 2014. For further information, contact slcl-hr@listserv.illinois.edu

Volume in memory of A.E. Kibrik

There will be a memorial event on Wednesday, March 26, at Moscow State University celebrating the 75th birthday of the late A. E. Kibrik. The program will include presentations of a new book “Language. Constants. Variables. To the Memory of Aleksandr Evgen’evich Kibrik,” which includes articles by Vladimir Borschev and Alice Harris.

UMass at DfGS

Tom Roeper writes:

At the DFGS March 5-7th Leah Bauke organized a session on Roots and Labels, where alumnus Dan Seely spoke. Hagit Borer, and Leah Bauke and I gave a talk on morhpology and Labeling.

The following Monday March 10th I gave a talk in the Relative Clauses project of Frankfurt University on the acquisition engine, Labeling, and recursion.

Early Registration: GLOW

Guido Vanden Wyngaerd writes:

With this message, we would like to remind you that the early registration deadline for GLOW 37 is coming up soon. 

If you don’t register online before March 25th, 2014, 12pm (MET), you will only be able to register on site and at a higher rate.

You can use the following link to register for GLOW 37: http://www.glow37.org/registration

When registering for the conference you can also still sign up for the GLOW Spring School, which takes place on April 7-11 (http://www.glow37.org/spring-school).

If you have any questions or comments regarding the conference, the workshops or the spring school, don’t hesitate to contact us at glowbrussels@gmail.com.

Call for Papers -- The Pragmatics of Grammar: negation and polarity

The pragmatics of grammar: negation and polarity

May 19-20, 2015

Université de Caen

Keynote speaker : Laurence R. Horn (Yale). Negative inversion(s).

Confirmed participants :

Jack Hoeksema (Groningen) on neg-raising and polarity,

Olga Kellert (Berlin) on negation in exclamations and interrogations,

Patrick Duffley (Laval)

Pierre Larrivée (Caen) on polarity in factive contexts.

Confirmed interest : Anastasia Giannakidou (Chicago), Michael Israel (Maryland).

Chierchia’s latest book (2013) argues that the interpretation of grammar is structured by logic-based processes following investigation of negative polarity. A number of behaviours of negation and polarity have however been suggested to relate to pragmatic mechanisms.

- The bulk of negative polarity uses are found in contexts with a semantic value successively defined as affective, downward-entailing or antiveridical. Since Linebarger (1987), it has been observed that contexts outside these do license NPI when pragmatically charged ("She persisted long after she had any hope of succeeding"). Expressive indexes have been proposed to characterise licensing factives (Giannakidou 2006). Unexpected licensing cases have been related to by assertoric inertia where it is the illocutionary point of the utterance that accounts for the use of NPIs (Horn in preparation).

- The licensing of NPIs has been envisaged as subject to surface order constraints such that infelicity would result from precedence of the NPI to its licensor ("* Anyone didn’t come"). However, it is not clear that such constraints are universal (languages with sentence final negatives being a case in point), and that all NPIs are equally subject to it (Larrivée 2007).

Regarding negation itself, an increasing number of analyses underline the importance of what the negative is responding to, converging to illustrate the role of Information Structure for a variety of linguistic phenomena.

- Initially thought to support syntactic analyses, intervention effects, where negation makes wh questions infelicitous ( "?* When didn’t she respond?"), are increasingly seen as relating to pragmatic factors (Spector 1996, Abrusán 2008, Tomioka 2009). In particular, felicity of negative questions seems to improve significantly when the underlying proposition is a Question Under Discussion, as suggested by acceptable "When did she respond and when didn’t she respond?".

- Information Structure also seems to be involved in negative fragment answers and corrections (Vicente 2010), as it is for most elliptical structures. It thus may be that fragmentary negative sequences could be interpreted with the support of contextual pragmatic information rather than syntactic reconstruction mechanisms.

- The metalinguistic and descriptive uses of negatives have considerable impact on the acceptable discursive follow-ups (Ducrot 1972, Horn 2001), but to what extent does the relation to antecedent discourse help delineate these two categories? While claims that these categories relate to different informational patterns are occasionally made, more systematic documentation is still awaited.

- Negative dependencies have been extensively studied (Biberauer & Roberts 2011, Haegeman & Lohndal 2011, Zeijlstra 2004 i.a.), and unexpectedly, prosodic (Tubau et al 2013) and syntactic (Déprez 2000) triggers do not categorically yield negative concord or double negation interpretations. Puskas (2012) among others has suggested that double negation may be correlated to information partition in a way that negative concord is not. Again, such a correlation is awaiting empirical confirmation.

This international conference invites new presentations that resolve outstanding issues concerning negation and polarity, in relation to pragmatics. Proposals are invited, spelling out the research problem and background, the notions and criteria, the method and data used, the key findings and their relevance in advancing the understanding of the pragmatics/grammar interface. The 500-word anonymous abstract is to be sent in .doc format to the workshop organizer (Pierre.Larrivee@Unicaen.fr) by November 1st 2014, along with a file providing the title of the paper, the identity, affiliation and addresses of the author(s), and an indication of whether a poster presentation could be considered. A notification will be sent at the beginning of January 2015, and  the draft versions of papers will be expected before the conference, for distribution among participants..