Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Penn Linguistics Conference

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  • Publication
    The influence of pitch contour on Mandarin speakers' perception of English stress
    (2019-02-27) Liu, Yaobin
    Previous studies on L2 stress perception have mainly focused on words in isolation or in single intonational contexts. This paper reports on a study exploring the influence of different intonation contours, falling (declarative) and rising (yes/no question), on nonnative speakers' stress identification. The study compared the perception of stress position in English words by native speakers of Mandarin, a tone language, and English, a stress language. The results showed that Mandarin speakers exhibited misperception of stress position when high tones did not coincide with the stressed syllable. As a control condition, native English speakers also displayed misperception of stress, but to a lesser extent in the condition of initial stress. Tonal transfer and asymmetrical cue usage are believed to be responsible for the perceptual differences.
  • Publication
    VOT merger and f0 contrast in Heritage Korean in California
    (2019-02-27) Cheng, Andrew
    Recordings of read speech in Korean and English were made by native South Koreans and Korean Americans of varying generational status ("second-generation" American-born or "1.5-generation" foreign-born) and analyzed for differences in usage of VOT and fundamental frequency to contrast production of Korean lenis and aspirated stops and affricates. Results show that second-generation Korean speakers, especially females, are not showing the collapse of VOT contrast found in the other two groups, which is part of a sound change nearing completion in Seoul. Female second-generation speakers are also not using f0 to differentiate between the stops to the extent that first- and 1.5-generation speakers are. It is concluded that second generation Korean Americans are not participating in the sound change that their same-age peers in Seoul are, and that second generation and 1.5 generation Korean Americans do not pattern together phonologically as a "heritage speaker" category. The analysis makes a stronger case for applying new models of language acquisition, speech production, and identity formation to heritage language speakers that differ from those used for bilingual speakers.
  • Publication
    Cyclicity and prosody in Armenian stress-assignment
    (2019-02-27) Dolatian, Hossep
    The morphology-phonology interface is rife with examples of interactions between the two modules. Various theoretical models have been proposed to either a) cover the entire interface, or b) cover a subset of this interface. Lexical Phonology and Prosodic Phonology are two popular models of how this interface operates. However it is an open question if both models are needed and if one can do the job of the other. In this paper, data from Armenian morpho-phonology shows the need for both models to be combined and used as one single model for the interface. Crucially, data on Armenian stress assignment and destressed vowel reduction necesitates using both Lexical Phonology's concepts of cyclicity and strata and Prosodic Phonology's concepts of prosodic stems and prosodic non-isomorphism.
  • Publication
    Identifying Phonologically Overt Counterparts to Silent Elements: The Case of French Exceptives
    (2019-02-27) Authier, J.-Marc; Reed, Lisa A.
    A relatively recent development in the generative framework is the hypothesis that there exist in syntax silent elements (SEs) that have a semantic content that is recovered by accessing their phonologically overt counterparts (cf. Kayne 2005, 2012 and Her and Tsai 2015, among others). In this paper, we provide a careful assessment of the two SEs that have been argued by O’Neill (2011) and Homer (2015) to be present in the French (ne)…que exceptive construction; namely silent rien ‘nothing’ and silent autre ‘other’. In doing so, we take to heart one of the main points made by Her and Tsai (2015) in relation to their criticism of Kayne (2012); namely, that for a proposed SE to be learnable, there cannot be any deviation in meaning from its overt counterpart. That is, the recoverability constraint assumed in the generative framework to be at work in, say, PF-deletion ellipsis, applies to all phonologically silent categories, including SEs. Additionally, as Her and Tsai argue, if semantic deviance between SEs and their phonologically overt counterparts were allowed, SEs would become ‘empirically intractable’. We argue that while positing a silent n-word in (ne)…que is faithful to the recoverability constraint on silent categories, the alleged second SE, namely, silent autre ‘other’, is not semantically equivalent to its phonologically overt counterpart in several respects. As we demonstrate, however, if one assumes instead that its overt counterpart is plus ‘more’, the recoverability requirement is restored.
  • Publication
    Macro Differences in Dialects
    (2019-02-27) Chandra, Pritha; Kaur, Gurmeet
    In current generative terms, individual features trigger small-scale micro and nano-level differences among mutually intelligible varieties with shared geography (cf. Barbiers 2009, Kayne 2000, 2013). However, as we show in this paper, dialects may also exhibit macro-level differences such as in the domain of case alignment. Specifically, we employ novel data on ergativity from Braj, a Western Indo-Aryan language, to present two such instances. First, despite a rigid ergative system in the transitive domain, some Braj varieties have undergone a macro-level change in the unergative domain by opting for phi-triggering, unmarked/nominative subjects. Another instance of a macro-level difference is provided by the duality of grammars within two registers of the same Braj variety. The occurrence of such macro-level differences at the dialectal level is unexplained in the literature, which advocates a complete separation of big, structural differences from featural variation (Baker 2008). Our submission is that structural differences also define dialects and registers, though they are mostly restricted to specific domains, unlike those found in typologically distinct languages with typical cascading effects.
  • Publication
    Changing Variation: Diffuse Directionality in Icelandic Subject Case Substitution
    (2019-02-27) Guðmundsdóttir, Dagbjört; Nowenstein, Iris Edda; Sigurjónsdóttir, Sigríður
    We present results from a large-scale online survey (N = 4545) and an in-depth follow-up study (N = 48) showing unexpected variation patterns in the case marking of theme subjects in Icelandic. In previous accounts (Jónsson 2003), quirky oblique theme subjects, in opposition to experiencers, were thought to obligatorily pattern with the structural nominative case instead of a possibly inherent dative case (Nominative Substitution rather than Dative Substitution). Contrary to this, we show that the productivity of dative case marking with themes is non-negligible and possibly increasing, pointing towards a much more diffuse directionality of the change. We argue that this is not unexpected if we assume a theory where semantic roles are probabilistically mapped onto case and productivity is driven by type frequency, as it is under the Tolerance Principle (Yang 2016). We put this to the test by combining a verb knowledge task with a case selection task to compute productivity patterns, and individual type frequency counts, predicting the presence of dative productivity correctly in 39 out of 48 participants by using the Tolerance Principle. Although our results disconfirm a categorical impossibility of theme subjects receiving dative rather than nominative, the previously attested patterns still hold. Experiencers appear significantly more frequently with non-nominative substitution than themes do, originally accusative subjects have the highest rate of substitution and verbs which are generally more known/frequent are less likely to show subject case substitution. These patterns are reflected in attested examples of non-nominative subjects with novel verbs.
  • Publication
    (2019-02-27) Creemers, Ava; Richter, Caitlin
    The University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics (PWPL) is an occasional series published by the Penn Graduate Linguistics Society. The series has included volumes of previously unpublished work, or work in progress, by linguists with an ongoing affiliation with the Department, as well as volumes of papers from NWAV and the Penn Linguistics Colloquium/Conference. This volume contains selected papers from the 42nd Penn Linguistics Conference, held from March 23-25, 2018 in Philadelphia, PA, at the University of Pennsylvania. Thanks go to Luke Adamson, Nikita Bezrukov, Ryan Budnick, Spencer Caplan, Andrea Ceolin, Nattanun Chanchaochai, Aletheia Cui, Kajsa Djärv, Ava Irani, Alexandros Kalomoiros, Wei Lai, Lefteris Paparounas, Ruaridh Purse, Nari Rhee, Ollie Sayeed, Milena Šereikaitė, Yosiane White, and Hong Zhang for their help in editing. Since Vol. 14.2, PWPL has been an internet-only publication. As of September 2014, the entire back catalog has been digitized and made available on ScholarlyCommons@Penn. Please continue citing PWPL papers or issues as you would a print journal article, though you may also provide the URL of the manuscript. An example is below: Bade, Nadine and Florian Schwarz. 2019. An experimental Investigation of Antipresuppositions. In University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 25.1, ed. Ava Creemers and Caitlin Richter, 31-40. Available at: Publication in the University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics (PWPL) does not preclude submission of papers elsewhere; copyright is retained by the author(s) of individual papers. The PWPL editors can be contacted at: U. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, 3401-C Walnut Street, Suite 300, C Wing, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6228 and Ava Creemers and Caitlin Richter, Issue Editors
  • Publication
    A Passive Analysis of Morphological Causatives in Korean
    (2019-02-27) Jo, Jinwoo
    Morphological causatives in Korean show some intimate correlations with morphological passives across different domains of the grammar. Morphologically, both the causative and the passive can be marked with the allomorphs *-i*, *-hi*, *-li*, *-ki*; syntactically, in both constructions, the agent of the stem verb can be assigned dative case *-eykey*; and semantically, some apparent causative constructions (often called the retained object construction) may be interpreted passively. In this paper, I suggest that the causative-passive correlations arise because the causative may contain the passive as part of its structure. Specifically, I argue that (i) the passive in Korean involves passive Voice; and that (ii) the head responsible for causativization, Caus(e), c-selects VoiceP in Korean including passive VoiceP. The possibility of Caus taking passive VoiceP as its complement is claimed to bring about the correlations in question.
  • Publication
    Grammars Compete Late: Evidence from Embedded Passives
    (2019-02-27) Duncan, Daniel
    One of the biggest problems for variationist approaches to syntactic variation is the question of where such variation occurs in the grammar, and what type of variation is allowed. Kroch (1994) suggests that syntactic variables are a result of Competing Grammars, in which grammars that derive differing surface outputs are in competition and selected by the speaker. In this paper, I observe an implicit prediction of the Competing Grammars viewpoint as typically described: material above the variable cannot condition variation. I test this prediction in a variationist study of embedded passives (the ëneeds washedí construction) in Pittsburghese, and show that material above the variable does condition variation. This finding suggests that a look-ahead problem arises if a grammar in competition is selected prior to derivation of the variable. To solve this, I propose that both grammars are initially derived, and that the derivation transferred to LF and PF is chosen in Spell-Out from the two possibilities. Grammars still compete; however, the competition selects a variant later than previously thought.
  • Publication
    Reinterpreting Ne-cliticization as Split-topicalization
    (2019-02-27) Cerrone, Pietro; Oda, Hiromune
    Ne-cliticization has been widely discussed in Italian syntax (Burzio 1986, Belletti and Rizzi 1982, Perlmutter 1989 a.o.), with comparison to similar constructions in other Romance languages (see Cardinaletti and Giusti 2006 for an overview). In this paper, however, we propose a novel way to investigate this construction, from a more cross-linguistic perspective. More specifically, we show that there are a number of similarities between (quantitative) ne-cliticization and split-topicalization, which is attested in many languages such as German and Japanese, and we propose a unified account of the two constructions, based on Zamparelli's (2000) and Ott's (2011) proposals on those constructions.