Proceedings of the 35th Annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 23
  • Publication
    Semantic Effects on Pronouns and Reflexives in Picture-NPs: Similarities and Differences
    (2012-05-01) Kaiser, Elsi; Do, Monica
    Research on Binding Theory shows that the syntactically-conditioned complementarity normally exhibited by pronouns and reflexives breaks down in certain syntactic environments, including possessorless picture-NPs (e.g. picture of {her/herself}). We report two psycholinguistic experiments which investigate what kinds of factors influence how pronouns and reflexives in picture-NPs are interpreted, given that their antecedents are not determined by Binding Theory. The results show that the interpretation of pronouns and reflexives in picture-NPs is governed by multiple factors. On the one hand, we corroborated the results of prior work which found that pronouns and reflexives are subject to opposing syntactic and semantic biases (Kaiser et al. 2009). However, on other hand, we provide evidence of shared biases: Both pronouns and reflexives dislike referentially underspecified antecedents, namely the indefinite existential ‘someone’ and wh-expressions. This pattern seems to fit well with claims that both forms prefer to pick out the antecedent whose point-of-view is being represented (Kuno 1987, Tenny 2003), assuming that referentially underspecified antecedents are not good point-of-view anchors
  • Publication
    Using salience and hypothesis evaluation to learn object names in real time
    (2012-05-01) Stevens, Jon
    This paper presents a computational model of word learning that has roots in experimental literature and learns in real time with high precision from a small amount of data. In addition to incorporating external cues a la Yu & Ballard 2007, we give the learner the ability to test specific highly probable semantic hypotheses against new data. Performance is comparable to that of a more complex model (Frank et al. 2009) and better than that of a similar model (Fazly et al. 2010) that does not utilize hypothesis evaluation.
  • Publication
    Syntactic Positions of Bare NPs in Turkish: Some Implications from Aspect and Prosody
    (2012-05-01) Nagai, Miho; Özçelik, Öner
    This paper proposes that internal arguments of verbs in Turkish do not uniformly occur in the complement position of the verb (contra e.g. Perlmutter 1978, 1989). We focus on syntactic positions of bare arguments in Turkish on the basis of aspectual (Aktionsart) properties of VPs (e.g. Vendler 1967) and prosodic structure. Looking at syntactic locations of low adverbs, we argue that bare internal arguments of Turkish achievements occur in SpecVP while those of accomplishments occur in the complement position of V.
  • Publication
    -Nibud’ Pronouns in Irrealis Infinitivals: Structure and Licensing
    (2012-05-01) Fitzgibbons, Natalia
    This paper uses the distribution of ni- and –nibud’-series of irrealis pronouns in Russian to explore the structure of irrealis infinitivals. Members of the ni-series are negative concord items licensed by sentential negation (the head of NegP, which dominates TP); they cannot be licensed long across a CP phase boundary (Brown (1999), Fitzgibbons (2010), among others). -Nibud’-items are licensed by certain items that have been argued in the literature to be in the CP domain at LF, such as, for example, question operators ((Cheng (1991), Chomsky (1995), Rizzi (1997), (1999), Sportiche (1995))) and imperative operators ((Han (2001), (Belletti (1999), Schwager (2005), Zanuttini (2008)). This paper draws the following conclusions from the near-complementary distribution of these two pronominal series in irrealis infinitivals,: Russian irrealis infinitivals can be generated as either CPs or as TPs, and the irrealis infinitivals where–nibud’-items are licensed are CPs. -nibud’-items that are licensed in the subject position of moč’ ‘can’ undergo A-movement out of the infinitival complement CP. It is not the matrix modal word that licenses the –nibud’-items in irrealis infinitival complements. The licenseris the irrealis C of the embedded infinitival.
  • Publication
    Syntax and Prosody in Kashaya Phrasal Accent
    (2012-05-01) Buckley, Eugene; Gluckman, John
    This paper explores the nature of prosodic phrasing in Kashaya, an endangered language of northern California, as diagnosed by the location of accent. Previous work has reported that iambic feet are constructed across prosodic phrases that can consist of multiple words, but there has been little research into how these p-phrases interact with syntactic constituency. We propose an alignment analysis in which the right edge of XP usually corresponds to the end of a p-phrase. But prosodic considerations, in particular an avoidance of phrase-final accent and a preference for a right-branching intonational phrase, can override the alignment of prosodic and syntactic constituency and sometimes leads to mismatches. An examination of a text corpus reveals general pressures against final accent, which can be avoided by accent suppression and leftward retraction as well as the choice of prosodic phrasing. Syllabification across a word boundary also encourages certain groupings in order to satisfy crisp edge-alignment of prosodic categories, showing a further influence of pure prosody rather than alignment with the syntactic edges.
  • Publication
    (2012-05-01) Fruehwald, Josef
    The University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics (PWPL) is an occasional series published by the Penn Linguistics Club. 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. This volume contains selected papers from the 35th Penn Linguistics Colloquium, held from March 18-20, 2011 in Philadelphia, PA at the University of Pennsylvania. Alphabetic thanks go to Mao-Hsu Chen, Aaron Ecay, Sabriya Fisher, Aaron Freeman, Lauren Friedman, Kyle Gorman, Anton Ingason, Marielle Lerner, Laurel MacKenzie, Hilary Prichard, and Kobey Schwayder for help in editing, uploading, and general support. Since Vol. 14.2, PWPL has been an internet-only publication. Since Vol. 13.2, PWPL has been published both in print and online gratis via ScholarlyCommons@Penn. Due to the large number of hits these online papers have received, and the time and expense of managing a back catalog of PWPL volumes, the editorial committee decided in 2008 to cease print publication in favor of wider-scale free online dissemination. 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: Authier, Marc . 2012. Ellipsis as Movement and Silence: Evidence from French. U. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 18.1: Proceedings of PLC 35, ed. J. Fruehwald, 1-9. Ultimately, the entire back catalog will be digitized and made available on ScholarlyCommons@Penn. 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 619 Williams Hall University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104–6305 Josef Fruehwald Issue Editor
  • Publication
    On the Role of Experiencer in the Interaction of Aspect and Unaccusativity in Russian
    (2012-05-01) Glushan, Zhanna
    In this paper I identify the factors that can skew the result of two standard unaccusativity diagnostics in Russian (distributive po-phrase and verb prefixation): (i) animacy of the subject (ii) verbal aspect. I introduce a new class of data, which reveals a contrast that is characteristic of all unaccusative predicates: Experiencer/Theme interaction. Unlike the well-known agentivity effects (Permutter and Postal (1984), Hoekstra and Mulder (1990), Zaenen (1993)), Experiencer/Theme interaction is linked to animacy, but not to volitionality. The connection between animacy and an Experiencer is formalized as an Experiencer condition: the Experiencer role must be assigned if the sole argument is animate. I propose a novel view of argument distribution whereby animate arguments can be base generated VP-externally. Variable applicability of unaccusative tests to telic/atelic verb forms results from the interaction between the Experiencer condition, the structural view of telicity (Folli and Harley (2005), Ramchand (2008)) and world knowledge.
  • Publication
    Toward a Phase Account of Dependent Case
    (2012-05-01) Kučerová, Ivona
    In the generative tradition, Accusative case ACC is often analyzed as a dependent Case, where being dependent means being dependent on another argument (Burzio 1986), more precisely a theta-role, or being dependent on a chain assigning Nominative case NOM to another argument (Marantz 1991), more precisely, an unmarked, i.e. non-lexically governed, case. In both approaches, ACC is a result of grammatical competition. The Minimalist Program (Chomsky 2001, 2008) seems to be an exception: in this framework, abstract Case is assigned by functional heads. Concretely, ACC is assigned by v*. Whether or not v* assigns ACC then depends on whether or not v* is a strong phase. Even though the Minimalist Program doesn't seem to employ a competition view of ACC as a dependent case, it is at its core a look-ahead system. Although the dependency on another argument is not explicitly declared, it is inherent to the system. This paper presents data from Polish, Ukrainian and Northern Russian that contradict the dependency view of ACC and suggest an alternative in terms of structure-dependency, independent of another argument receiving a theta-role or another case being assigned to a chain. This bears on the question of the role of case in syntax and on the nature of spell-out and of cyclic domains.
  • Publication
    The Information Structure of Subject Extraposition in Early New High German
    (2012-05-01) Light, Caitlin
    This paper investigates the information-structural characteristics of extraposed subjects in Early New High German (ENHG). Based on new quantitative data from a parsed corpus of ENHG, I will argue that unlike objects, subjects in ENHG have two motivations for extraposing. First, subjects may extrapose in order to receive narrow focus, which is the pattern Bies (1996) has shown for object extraposition in ENHG. Secondly, however, subjects may extrapose in order to receive a default sentence accent, which is most visible in the case of presentational constructions. This motivation does not affect objects, which may achieve the same prosodic goal without having to extrapose.
  • Publication
    Is There a Difference between ‘You’ and ‘I’? A Psycholinguistic Investigation of the Chinese Reflexive Ziji
    (2012-05-01) He, Xiao; Kaiser, Elsi
    We report two experiments examining first/second-person blocking effects on the Chinese long-distance reflexive ziji during on-line processing. Participants read sentences with varying matrix and embedded subjects (Exp1: 1st-person pronoun/3rd-person name; Exp2: 2nd-person pronoun/3rd-person name) and answered comprehension questions probing their interpretations of ziji. Work on English found that structurally inaccessible referents can cause competition at the reflexive, indicated by reading-time slowdowns (Badecker and Straub 2002). In Exp1, the 1st-person blocking condition (3rd-person matrix/1st-person embedded) exhibited slowdowns and a higher-than-expected rate of matrix-subject-interpretations, suggesting 1st-person blocking is not consistently effective. However, the subset of trials with effective blocking (local-antecedent interpretations) revealed no slowdowns. In Exp2, the 2nd-person blocking condition (3rd-person matrix/2nd-person embedded) showed consistent blocking and no significant slowdowns. Our results suggest that referents’ ability to compete depends not only on prominence (Badecker and Straub 2002) but also how it is blocked (person-feature vs. syntactic barrier). Building upon Brunyé et al.’s (2009) finding that 2nd-person pronouns are more effective at triggering perspective-taking than 1st-person pronouns, we suggest that the difference between first- and second- person blocking may be attributable to perspective taking: Identifying with the 2nd-person addressee leads comprehenders to more consistently interpret the reflexive as referring to the local 2nd-person subject, resulting in a consistent blocking effect.