Proceedings of the 39th Annual Penn Linguistics Conference

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 35
  • Publication
    Diacritic Weight in the Extended Accent First Theory
    (2016-01-01) Vaxman, Alexandre
    In this article, I present the Extended Accent First theory, which is an offshoot of the Primary Accent First theory (van der Hulst 1996, 1997, 1999, 2010). While the latter is known to correctly account for accent location in a large variety of languages, it encounters difficulties accounting for lexical accent systems and systems sensitive to both phonological weight and lexical accent. The Extended Accent First theory makes such an account possible. In this theory, lexical accent is reanalyzed as “diacritic weight”, leading to the notions of “diacritic weight scale” and “hybrid weight scale”. The Extended Accent First theory is illustrated here with a case study from Central and Southern Selkup that shows how the theory works and, in particular, how it can account for dominance effects using a diacritic weight scale. A comparison of the Accent Deletion approach vs. the Extended Accent First theory with respect to accentual dominance suggests that the approach proposed here is more straightforward and economical. Interestingly, the existence of phonological and diacritic weight correctly predicts that there are accent systems which make reference to both weight types (ordered in a single language-specific weight scale).
  • Publication
    Nonactive Voice in Hebrew and Elsewhere: Between Unaccusativity and Agentivity
    (2016-01-01) Kastner, Itamar
    Two verbal templates in Modern Hebrew allow for any kind of verbal construction, except for a simple transitive verb. Unaccusatives, reflexives, reciprocals and unergatives that take an obligatory indirect object are all attested, but transitive verbs are not allowed. I discuss what the morphology of these templates actually signals, given that external arguments and internal arguments are both possible. Working in Distributed Morphology, I propose that a number of functional heads conspire to produce the existing alternations in argument structure, with implications for theories of anticausativization, reflexivization and reciprocalization.
  • Publication
    Definiteness Morphology in Swedish Determiner Phrases
    (2016-01-01) Goodwin Davies, Amy
    In Swedish determiner phrases definiteness can be realised both pre-nominally with a definite article and post-nominally with a definite suffix on the head noun. This paper discusses the distribution of definiteness morphology in a number of morphosyntactic contexts. Separate patterns of definiteness marking emerge when considering the following morphosyntactic contexts: DPs modified with a prepositional phrase, DPs followed by a restrictive relative clause, and DPs with adjectival pre-nominal modification. This paper synthesizes various proposals in the literature to develop the working analysis: in particular, LaCara's (2011) analysis which includes two component features of definiteness and insights about DEN-omission from Simonenko (2014: Chapter 2). This working analysis demonstrates that the distribution under discussion can be unified using while maintaining a straightforward mapping between the semantics and the morphosyntax. The following avenues are identified as promising areas for future work: the distribution of definiteness morphology in additional morphosyntactic or semantic contexts and between varieties of Swedish; the semantic features adopted here and their alternatives; typological work concerning the semantic and morphosyntax definiteness cross-linguistically, including the properties of adjectival modification in definite DPs.
  • Publication
    Light Verbs are Just Regular Verbs
    (2016-01-01) Bruening, Benjamin
    Light verbs constructions like *give a sigh* and *take a shower* have always been analyzed as involving a process of complex predicate formation, where the verb and its complement combine to form a single predicate. In contrast, I argue that light verb constructions are just regular verb-complement combinations. The verb has its usual argument structure and interpretation (which is often quite unspecified), while its complement has the same interpretation it has elsewhere. We only need two things to account for light verb constructions: the fact that NPs can be eventive; and control into NPs. Both of these are needed anyway, outside of light verb constructions. We can therefore dispense with *light verb* as a grammatical category, and do without processes of complex predicate formation in our models of grammar.
  • Publication
    Obviating the Disjoint Reference Effect in French
    (2016-01-01) B-Violette, Laurence
    This paper investigates the phenomenon of the “subjunctive disjoint reference effect” or “obviation” in French. Object-Subject Obviation (OSO) occurs when the dative clitic object of a directive predicate cannot be coreferential with the subject of an embedded subjunctive clause. I propose to build on a previous account in which obviation results from an antilogophoricity effect arising from the co-occurrence of two logophoric centres within an embedded subjunctive clause: an expressive operator and the referent of the dative clitic. I also argue that obviation is best accounted for by competition theories and that subject-subject obviation (SSO), in the complement clauses of direc- tive predicates, in which the subject of the directive cannot be coreferential with the subject of the embedded subjunctive clause, is not a real instance of obviation.
  • Publication
    Towards a Syntactic Focus Movement Account of the Sluicing-Like Construction in Chinese
    (2016-01-01) Song, Wei
    There have been two camps on the analysis of the ellipsis construction dubbed sluicing by Ross (1969) in Mandarin Chinese. The pseudosluicing analyses argue that Chinese sluicing involves a copular clause with a null pro, whereas the focus movement analyses propose that it is derived from focus movement plus TP-deletion. In this paper I provide evidence for the second view by showing parallels between sluicing and the wh-fronting construction in Chinese. Three parallel behaviors involve the distribution of shi, exhaustive identification, and the (im)possibility of the how family.
  • Publication
    When Do Mormons Call Each Other by First Name?
    (2016-01-01) Stanley, Joseph A.
    The purpose of this paper is to identify what factors influence address forms between young Latter-day Saint adults. This study fills a gap in previous research since it focuses on interactions between people that are not in a clear non-reciprocal relationship. A survey was administered to members of a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) congregation within a particular age range. This provided data on when participants call each other by first name instead of the customary Brother or Sister + last name, which was then analyzed using a logistic regression model. The results from this study show that when the more predominant variables such as age, power, and status are kept constant, variation still exists as speakers react to other, subtler factors such as situation, social networks, parenthood, and being southern. This study uncovers some of these less obvious factors and how they interact with each other, showing that forms of address in LDS communities are influenced by a complex web of variables, and that forms of address in reciprocal relationship is just as variable as those in non-reciprocal relationships.
  • Publication
    Root Alternation and Verbal Plurality in Ranmo
    (2016-01-01) Lee, Jenny
    This paper investigates morphological alternation between so-called extended and restricted roots in Ranmo, leading to a new proposal about the nature of pluractional predicates. Extended roots show properties associated with ‘pluractional’ verbs attested crosslinguistically; in particular, they are associated with both plural participant and iterative interpretations. However, they differ from typical pluractionals in the following two ways: (i) they are not morphologically formed on the basis of their restricted counterparts (which are associated with singular, punctual readings) and (ii) they are compatible with numeric modifiers. I propose that these differences can be understood under the proposal that all pluractionals obligatorily involve two components which are always distinctly represented in the semantics—PL(ural) and DEG(ree). The latter contributes a large quantity (as opposed to a simple plural) reading. However, languages vary with respect to whether these two can form a single syntactic unit (and hence be bundled into a single morpheme). This predicts a simple typology in which only a subset of so-called pluractional verbs yield a necessarily large quantity reading.
  • Publication
    Exclusive (Dis)harmonies in Mandarin Chinese
    (2016-01-01) Liu, Mingming
    The paper discusses two types of exclusive (dis)harmonies in Mandarin. Exclusive-(dis)harmony-A—only is compatible with few but not many, and exclusive-(dis)harmony-B—only is compatible with less than n but not more than n. We suggest Exclusive-(dis)harmony-A can be explained along the lines of Chen 2005. We further propose that Exclusive-disharmony-B can be ex- plained by Maximization failure (Fox 2007). But Maximization failure rules out Exclusive-harmony-B as well. We then propose to use a scalar presupposition of jiu/zhi/only to restrict the standard Rooth-style focus alternative set. This presupposition achieves two things: it captures the scalar meaning of only, and it allows maximization to work with less than n, by filtering out problematic alternatives.
  • Publication
    -hii: Modality Meets Exclusivity
    (2016-01-01) Bajaj, Vandana; Syrett, Kristen
    This work examines the meaning of the Hindi particle ‘-hii’ and sheds new light on the link between modality and words like ‘only.’ Our two new judgment studies reveal that ‘-hii’ indicates exclusivity (like 'only,' and other similar lexical items) and also can associate with either the MIN or MAX of a scale of propositional alternatives. More specifically, the alternatives are ordered based on speaker conceptions of likelihood or of desirability, and which endpoint is felicitous with ‘-hii’ depends on which scale is made salient by the discourse context. Since existing analyses of 'only' and 'even' are insufficient for capturing the presuppositions of ‘-hii’ that are revealed by the experimental data, we draw on the recent theoretical literature on modality to map these ranking types of ‘-hii’ to epistemic, bouletic, and teleological modality types that form its core scalar felicity condition. Besides helping to formalize the varied types of speaker expectations needed by ‘-hii’, this move helps to explain some differences between the likelihood and desirability contexts' patterning of data in our experimental results.