Proceedings of the 44th Annual Penn Linguistics Conference

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  • Publication
    (2021-07-09) Kalomoiros, Alexandros; Paparounas, Lefteris
    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 The series has included volumes of previously unpublished work, or work in progress, by linguists with an ongoing affiliation with the Department, as well as volumes of papers from NWAV and the Penn Linguistics Conference. This volume contains selected papers accepted into the 44th Penn Linguistics Conference. This volume is exceptional insofar as PLC 44 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic; we thank all authors accepted into PLC 44 for their patience and understanding. In an effort to give a panoramic view of the canceled conference, we decided to invite submissions both from authors of oral presentations (10-page papers) as well as poster presentations (5-page papers). Thanks go to Faruk Akkuş, George Balabanian, Johanna Benz, Nikita Bezrukov, Pik Yu May Chan, Yiran Chen, June Choe, Ava Creemers, Gwen Hildebrandt, Wei Lai, Aini Li, Daoxin Li, Ollie Sayeed, Christine Soh, Ruicong Sun, and Yosiane White 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: Li, Aini, and Meredith Tamminga. 2021. Intra- and interspeaker repetitiveness in locative variation. In University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 27.1, ed. Alexandros Kalomoiros and Lefteris Paparounas, 119-127. 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 Alexandros Kalomoiros and Lefteris Paparounas, Issue Editors
  • Publication
    Locative Causatives in European Portuguese as Voice Alternations
    (2021-07-09) Soares, Catarina; Wood, Jim
    In this paper, we discuss the syntax of a causative construction in European Portuguese, which is similar to the ordinary causative (OC) but which also differs from it in important ways. We refer to this construction as the Locative Causative (LC) construction, which alternates between transitive (TLC) and intransitive (ILC) variants. We show that LCs entail a change of location of the theme and exhibit an existence presupposition on the theme. We suggest that this is because the entire VoiceP is embedded in a LocP structure, and that this structure also leads to the existence presupposition. We propose that both TLCs and ILCs may embed a passive VoiceP despite having infinitival morphology, and that the distinction between light verbs ‘go’ in ILCs and ‘put’ in TLCs stems from the presence or absence of an external-argument-introducing Voice head in the matrix clause.
  • Publication
    Prosodic Prominence and High Vowel Lowering in Apurímac Quechua
    (2021-07-09) Sarkar, Sreeparna; Vogel, Irene
    This paper presents an acoustic study of High Vowel Lowering in Apurímac Quechua dialect of Peru. High Vowel Lowering in the vicinity of uvular stops has been reported in related dialects of the Quechua language family (Quechua IIC category), e.g. Cusco and Cochabamba Quechua. Initial impression of Apurímac Quechua also indicated a lowering effect of high vowels after uvular stops, which motivated the current study, where we compared the high vowels following uvular stops to high vowels following alveolar stops. Considering the fact that prosodic phenomena such as word and phrasal prominence , i.e. stress and focus may resist the erosion of contrastive features or enhance the contrastive features of segments, it is possible that the high vowels would not undergo lowering in the presence of stress or focus or both. Hence in addition to testing the effect of the place of articulation of the preceding consonant on high vowels, this study also tests the effects of stress and focus on the lowering process. While the results show that stress resists High Vowel Lowering, focus does not lend the same effect.
  • Publication
    The Computational Similarity of Binding and Long-Distance Consonant Dissimilation
    (2021-07-09) Ikawa, Shiori; Jardine, Adam
    This work shows that the binding patterns are computationally similar to long-distance consonant dissimilation. From a computational point of view, phonological patterns have long been hypothesized to be regular. More recent work has suggested this holds for syntax as well, given the correct representation. By examining binding conditions from morpho-syntactic transformational point of view, we show that binding conditions can be logically characterized in a parallel way to long-distance consonant dissimilation. The similarity shows that binding patterns as transformations fall into a subsequential class, a subregular class of transformations which is considered to capture a great deal of segmental phonological process. This result adds further support to the subregular hypothesis for syntax.
  • Publication
    Post-Lexical Tone 3 Sandhi Domain-Building in Huai’an Mandarin: Multiple Domain Types and Free Application
    (2021-07-09) Du, Naiyan; Lin, Yen-Hwei
    Based on the production and acceptability data of tone sandhi patterns of the Huai’an dialect of Jianghuai Mandarin (Huai’an, hereafter) at the syntactic level, this paper argues that (i) both disyllabic and trisyllabic tone sandhi domains are basic domains in Huai’an, which differs from the traditional analysis where only disyllabic domain exists in the Mandarin language family and trisyllabic domain is derived, and (ii) as a consequence, both types of domains can be built freely at the post-lexical level as long as all the syllables are exhaustively incorporated. By positing both disyllabic and trisyllabic domains, the current proposal gives a succinct analysis of Tone 3 Sandhi in Huai’an, and removes the parameter of directionality. Furthermore, a lapse-based analysis (Elenbaas & Kager, 1999) involving a binary tone sandhi domain with an unparsed syllable is unlikely because it cannot produce the surface representation “(2 2 3)” (parenthesis indicates tone sandhi domain boundary and number indicates tone) where all three syllables must be included into one tone sandhi domain to generate the correct surface form in Huai’an. This study suggests more generally that ternary prosodic units, including ternary stress feet (Prince, 1980), can be independent domains in phonology.
  • Publication
    Learnability of a Phonetically Null Segment
    (2021-07-09) Nyman, Alexandra
    This paper investigates why two classes of French words, both of which contain words that in isolation are phonetically realized as vowel-initial, vary with respect to elision when pronounced right-adjacent to a definite article: one class does not trigger the deletion of the expendable vowel, while the other class does. It is argued that these two classes differ in that one contains underlyingly vowel-initial words, while the other class consists of words whose underlying representations contain an underspecified consonant segment (termed a ghost consonant; Kiparsky, 2003). The paper also addresses how a learner could posit a ghost consonant in the underlying representation of this second class of words given that the ghost consonant is phonetically null. Through Inconsistency Detection (Tesar, 2004) and Presence Feature setting (Nyman & Tesar, 2019) the learner is able to posit a phonetically null segment, resulting in the resolution of a ranking paradox that would otherwise obtain.
  • Publication
    On the Interaction of Reflexives and Periphrastic Causatives in Icelandic
    (2021-07-09) Wood, Jim; Sigurðsson, Einar Freyr
    Cross-linguistically, reflexive verbs frequently show puzzling behavior when they are embedded under causatives. We focus on two ways that this pattern manifests itself in Icelandic Indirect Causatives, formed with the light verb láta ‘let/make/have’: (i) verbs that normally cannot be embedded are allowed with reflexives, and (ii) a pleonastic use of the causative verb becomes available in imperatives with oblique subjects. We propose that these facts follow from the syntax of long-distance reflexives (which involves a “point-of-view” operator OPPOV), and a Voice-stacking analysis of indirect causatives, where two Voice heads are added on top of a single vP. The claim is that there is a limited set of ways to interpret the Voice-stacking structure, and reflexives provide one particular way to do this that is not otherwise available. Assuming that either Voice head can introduce a thematic interpretation or be expletive, we propose that in principle, there are four ways to interpret the Voice-stacking structure. Our analysis supports the view that the syntax and semantics of causatives is derived from the interaction of more basic primitives and mechanisms, and is not encoded with a dedicated functional head in the grammar.
  • Publication
    The Sociolinguistic Variable: Where is it?
    (2021-07-09) Fleming, Andrew P
    By examining speakers of Salvadoran heritage in Boston through a model of structural continuity, this paper seeks to understand the how speakers’ use of the salient phonological variable of coda /s/ reduction and the supposed non-salient syntactic variable of subject placement change as Spanish speakers spend longer in the United States. Whereas past studies have suggested that Spanish speaker’s use of coda /s/ reduction changes according to complex negotiations of sociolinguistic identity, their use of syntactic variables changes due to the effects of the new linguistic environment of the U.S. Rather than addressing these hypotheses directly, the analysis of this study’s nine speakers calls attention to the need to better understand the conceptual binaries of salient vs. non-salient and phonological vs. syntactic in the study of sociolinguistic variables. While sociolinguistics often uses terms like coda /s/ reduction and subject placement to refer to “sociolinguistic variables,” this study finds evidence that this terminology obscures the nature of salient and non-salient variation among speakers. The data suggests that when Spanish speakers of Salvadoran heritage seek to obscure the regional origins of their speech to avoid raciolinguistic discrimination, they do so by increasing the production of frication of coda /s/ before non-consonants and/or word-finally, and by post-posing more subjects with experiencer-presentative verbs. These results indicate that both these sites of variation in Spanish may hold social meaning in constrained social and linguistic contexts, a finding which demands a new understanding salient and non-salient sociolinguistic variation.
  • Publication
    Intra- and Interspeaker Repetitiveness in Locative Variation
    (2021-07-09) Li, Aini; Tamminga, Meredith
    A long research line in quantitative sociolinguistics has been aimed at understanding how persistence, the tendency for people to repeat a linguistic variant they have just used, influences language variation and change. Previous studies have variously attributed variant repetitiveness to priming in the psycholinguistic sense, socially-motivated style-shifting, or interspeaker accommodation, implying that intraspeaker persistence and interspeaker convergence are potentially different phenomena. This study reports both interspeaker convergence and intraspeaker persistence in a morphological variable that has been recently documented in the Chengdu dialect of Mandarin, a variety which is subject to language contact with standard Mandarin. We compare the relationship between repetitiveness within and across speakers. Results from mixed-effect logistic regression show that there is a persistence effect within speakers and a convergence effect across speakers; however the size of the effect varies according to different meaning contexts. Findings further shed light on the understanding of language change from psycholinguistic perspectives.
  • Publication
    Abkhaz Stress as a Segmental Property
    (2021-07-09) Andersson, Samuel
    This paper deals with the phonology of word stress in Abkhaz. Stress is both contrastive, forming minimal pairs, and dynamic, with stress placement alternating within morphological paradigms. I evaluate several theories of how Abkhaz stress should be represented, focusing on the size of units which host stress contrasts in the lexicon. A full analysis of Abkhaz stress requires an understanding of schwa, and I present arguments from exceptionless phonotactic restrictions that schwa is predictably epenthesized based on stress. I compile and analyze a corpus of 644 stress alternations, the largest dataset used in the literature. A subset of 426 alternations is used to evaluate four theories, where underlying stress specifications appear once per morpheme (Dybo 1977), syllable (Trigo 1992), mora (Kathman 1992, Vaux and Samuels 2018), or segment (Andersson 2020). The moraic and segmental analyses are the most successful, with 97% and 100% empirical coverage respectively. Arguments from consonant clusters and schwa distribution introduce additional problems for the moraic account, suggesting that Abkhaz stress is a property of individual segments in the lexicon. I conclude that the units capable of bearing stress can be as small as the segment, and may be more crosslinguistically variable than previously assumed.