Proceedings of the 31st Annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 30
  • Publication
    The acquisition of evidentiality in Turkish
    (2008-04-23) Ozturk, Ozge; Papafragou, Anna
    This paper is concerned with the acquisition of the semantics and pragmatics of evidential markers in Turkish. Evidential markers encode the speaker’s source for the information being reported in the utterance. Turkish grammaticalizes evidentiality in two different past tense markers: -DI (past of direct experience) and –mIş (past of indirect experience). In this article, we report findings from three studies conducted with Turkish learners between the ages of 5 and 7 that test the acquisition of both the semantics of evidentiality (Exp.1-2) and the pragmatic effects associated with evidential markers (Exp.3). Our results show that Turkish-speaking children between the ages of 5 and 7 produce morphemes for past events appropriately but are only beginning to discover the evidential dimensions of these morphemes. Furthermore, of the two evidential morphemes, -DI which encodes direct evidence is understood before –mIş which encodes indirect evidence. We discuss implications of these results for the learning challenges posed by evidentiality.
  • Publication
    On the lack of subject-object asymmetries
    (2008-04-23) Mayr, Clemens
    Bavarian long-distance topicalization, which does not show any subject- object asymmetries, is investigated. By looking at was fur split constructions the generalization that extraction from subjects is possible, if they have not undergone scrambling, is strengthened. A theory of Internal Merge and pro- jection line is developed that does not allow for probe-goal relations with specifiers unless scrambling has taken place. Scrambling is suggested to re- calculate the labels created upon External Merge. Further a new argument for the Remerge theory of movement is given.
  • Publication
    Processing presupposition: Verifying sentences with ‘only’
    (2008-04-23) Kim, Christina
    With respect to how comprehenders process presupposition and handle presupposition failure when verifying sentences, at least two hypotheses are possible: (1) presuppositions are treated like preconditions for evaluating the truth or falsity of a sentence, and are systematically verified before the assertion, and (2) presuppositions are 'backgrounded' and therefore taken for granted—meaning that assertions are systematically evaluated first. Three sentence-picture verification experiments are presented which suggest some version of the latter view; the results are compatible with there being no explicit step of presupposition verification. Instead, presupposition failure arises only accidentally, or in cases where the content of the presupposition is made especially salient in the discourse context by some external means.
  • Publication
    Addressing the actuation problem with quantitative models of sound change
    (2008-04-23) Baker, Adam
    Computational models are presented that evaluate different theories of sound change, particularly with regard to the actuation of change. Standard phonologization of coarticulation models predict counterfactual across-the-board change (cf. Weinreich, Labov, and Herzog 1968). Models that simulate a sigmoidal trajectory of change are more empirically appealing, but also are very sensitive to initial conditions. It is proposed that herein lies the solution to the actuation riddle. Sound change arises when a linguistic leader (Labov 2001) perceives an incidental correlation of social and phonetic variables, and adopts her speech to the "change." This simple incident leads to an entire sound change. We expect sound change to arise with the same frequency as these spurious correlations. The (presumed) infrequency of such correlations offers a schematic solution to the actuation problem.
  • Publication
    Why cross-linguistic frequency cannot be equated with ease of acquisition in phonology
    (2008-04-23) Cristià, Alejandrina; Seidl, Amanda
  • Publication
    DP hypothesis for Japanese “bare” noun phrases
    (2008-04-23) Furuya, Kaori
  • Publication
    The real effect of word frequency on phonetic variation
    (2008-04-23) Dinkin, Aaron J.
    The claim that high-frequency words tend to undergo regular sound change faster than less frequent words is common in Exemplar Theory literature. This paper examines the effect of word frequency on F2 of short vowels in the region of American English subject to the Northern Cities Vowel Shift (NCVS). I find that more frequent words appear to have more centralized vowels - higher F2 for back vowels, and lower F2 for front vowels - regardless of the direction the vowel is moving in the NCVS. I interpret this result as supporting, rather than the strong claim that high-frequency words undergo sound change in general faster, an observation by Phillips (1984) that high-frequency words undergo specifically lenition faster.
  • Publication
    Against restructuring in modern French
    (2008-04-23) Authier, J. Marc; Reed, Lisa A.
    Cinque (2002) examines those transparency effects that have been claimed to point to the existence of restructuring in French and concludes that quantifier and adverb climbing depend not on restructuring but, rather, on an irrealis context. In this paper, we show that restructuring does not play an active role in explaining the existence of en `of-it' and y `there' climbing or long movement in `easy-to-please' constructions either, which leads to the conclusion that Modern French has no transparency effects of the restructuring kind. We then present three arguments against Cinque's (2004) thesis that verbs of the restructuring class are universally functional verbs that appear with infinitives in a monoclausal configuration. Instead, we adopt the Cinque (2001)/Cardinaletti & Shlonsky (2004) approach according to which restructuring verbs can be merged either as lexical or functional verbs. We argue that this approach should be parametrized to yield three options that account for cross-linguistic/dialectal variation associated with restructuring.
  • Publication
    A syntactic analysis of nominal and pronominal associative plurals
    (2008-04-23) Vassilieva, Masha
    An associative plural is a nominal expression that refers to a group by naming its most salient member (1). The construction is used to introduce a new group into discourse, a group that is understood to be inherently (or contextually) associated with its named protagonist. (1) Pa-hulle (Afrikaans, den Besten 1996:16) Dad-them ‘Dad and Mum' or 'Dad and his folks’ In this paper, I argue for an analysis of associative plurals as phrasal expressions where the protagonist and the group are two separate syntactic entities. Namely, I suggest that associatives are headed by a non-descriptive nominal with group semantics. The reference of this group is determined through its association with the protagonist. The protagonist is a referential modifier which starts out in a modifier projection and moves to the specifier of DP. I begin by showing that associative protagonists share a number of syntactic and morphological properties with other types of referential modifiers such as demonstratives, personal pronouns and certain types of possessives. I go on to demonstrate that languages employ different strategies in spelling out the functional features of the non-descriptive group nominal, and that the apparent surface diversity of associative marking can be derived from the same syntactic structure. Finally, I suggest that my analysis of associatives can be extended to personal pronouns in their associative, anaphoric, and non-canonical interpretations.
  • Publication
    A morpho-syntactic approach to pronominal binding
    (2008-04-23) Koak, Heeshin
    In this paper, I propose that the availability of a bound variable reading for pronouns is predictable from their morphological structure of the pronouns. More specifically I argue that noun-containing pronouns cannot be bound variables. My proposal is different from D&W's (2002) argument in that in their theory, every DPs cannot have a bound variable reading, while in my theory, even DPs can have a bound variable reading as long as they do not contain a noun in it. I show that my proposal has more empirical and conceptual advantages than D&W's (2002) theory through the binding properties of Korean pronouns. I also deal with the cases discussed in D&W (2002) and show that my proposal can explain those data without the additional category phi-P that D&W (2002) suggest.