Proceedings of the 45th Annual Penn Linguistics Conference

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 25
  • Publication
    The Lack of Full Pro Drop as a Consequence of Featural Overspecification
    (2022-11-18) Koeneman, Olaf; Zeijlstra, Hedde
    Despite the enormous attention that pro drop has received in the linguistic literature, there is no generally accepted answer to the question why relatively rich Germanic languages do not have argumental null subjects, neither is there a fundamental answer to the question why English would not allow them in at least 3SG contexts, where the agreement marker uniquely identifies the features of the unexpressed subject, just like in Italian. We argue that a closer inspection of the Germanic languages reveals that tense and agreement are expressed mono-morphemically, whereas Romance pro drop languages have distinct morphemes for tense and agreement. This allows us to postulate that the lack of pro drop in Germanic languages is a consequence of overspecification: the presence of the tense features makes licensing of a null subject impossible. Germanic variants that have partial pro drop, such as Frisian and Bavarian German, can be naturally accommodated in our approach by reference to complementizer agreement.
  • Publication
    Can the Head Quantifier Phrase Reconstruct in Doubly Embedded Chinese Relative Clauses?
    (2022-11-18) Su, Nianpo; Chen, Yunchuan
    Aoun and Li (2003) claimed that when a universal quantifier phrase (QP) occurs in the doubly embedded subject position of Chinese relative clauses (RCs), it cannot be raised out of the RC and thus cannot have scope over the head of the RC. This study investigated whether it is really true that when a universal QP occurs in the doubly embedded subject position of Chinese RCs, it cannot take scope over the head of the RC. With a controlled truth value judgment experiment, our findings suggest that in Chinese RCs, it is possible for the universal QP in the doubly embedded subject position to have scope over the head QP, which contradicts Aoun and Li's (2003) claim. Furthermore, our findings cast doubt upon the raising analysis (Aoun and Li 2003, Lee 1986) for the universal QP in the RC subject position of Chinese RCs. We argue that the head of Chinese RCs, regardless of whether it is a QP or an NP, can reconstruct into its base position inside the RC. There is no need to stipulate that in Chinese RCs, a head NP can reconstruct while a head QP cannot.
  • Publication
    Severing Case from Agreement: Non-finite Subjects in Hill Mari
    (2022-11-18) Pleshak, Polina
    In this paper, I discuss variation in case marking on subjects of non-finite relative clauses (RCs) in Hill Mari (Finno-Ugric, Uralic) which relativize on a constituent other than subject, as well as φ-feature agreement on two different heads: the nominal and the participial head. I use these novel data to argue in favor of configurational case assignment as opposed to case assignment by a particular head. Adopting the configurational theory of case, I argue that NOM appears on clause-internal subjects as the unmarked case in the clausal domain. GEN, on the other hand, is the realization of unmarked case in the nominal domain, where two subject positions, external and internal, are available. Two dialects of Hill Mari each realize one of these options, which can be distinguished by a number of diagnostics.
  • Publication
    Negative Comparison, or how to be Judgmental and Ignorant with Scalar Alternatives
    (2022-11-18) Mihoc, Teodora
    The English negative comparative-modified numerals (CMNs) "no more than n" and "not more than n" different in surprising ways: The former conveys exactness (EX) and evaluativity (EVAL), and the latter conveys no exactness (NO-EX) and ignorance (IG). The existing literature offers 3 proposals, one based on Horn (1972), one based a combination of Horn (1972) with the Universal Density of Measurement hypothesis, and one based on a combination of Horn (1972) with the Modifier Alternatives hypothesis. In this paper I argue that both modifications of Horn (1972) are in fact too drastic. And point out that none captures both EX and NO-EX, nor do they make any provisions for IG or EVAL. I propose what I argue is a smaller departure from Horn (1972), and I show it captures all of EX, NO EX, IG, and EVAL. The explanation crucially relies on a combination of Horn (1972) with Negation Alternatives - the idea that for some negative expressions the set of scalar alternatives include variants with the negation as well as without - plus silent exhaustification with O(nly) and E(ven).
  • Publication
    Non-binary Language Forms in Spanish: Consciously Using it Facilitates Processing during Comprehension?
    (2022-11-18) Stetie, Noelia A.; Zunino, Gabriela M.
    Several grammatical studies have focused on the study of morphological innovations used as non-binary forms in Spanish (-x; -e). However, there are no experimental studies that analyze their psycholinguistic processing or the multiple and complex relationships between production and comprehension in non- binary language. To analyze this phenomenon, we performed a sentence reading and comprehension task. We recorded reading times, response times, and accuracy. We considered morphology, stereotypicality and frequency of use of non-binary forms in the participants as predictors. The results show specialization of the non-binary forms as generic morphological variants, as opposed to the generic masculine. The non- binary forms consistently elicited a reference to mixed groups and response times showed that these morphological variants do not carry a higher processing cost than the generic masculine. Moreover, it is possible to see that the conscious use of non-binary forms influences the comprehension processes of the different variants of gender morphology: as the voluntary use of non-binary forms increases, the generic masculine seems to concentrate its reference to groups of men exclusively. Thus, in addition to showing general evidence regarding the processing costs and comprehension of gender morphology in Spanish, our data allow us to observe a potential reciprocal link between production and comprehension processes that deserves further study.
  • Publication
    A Mixed Tense System: Two Roads to the Simultaneous Reading in Modern Greek
    (2022-11-18) Tsilia, Anastasia
    Embedded tense in Modern Greek (MG) displays an unexpected “optionality”: both present and past tenses can be used under a past tense attitude verb to convey a simultaneous reading. Building on Schlenker (1999) and Sharvit (2003, 2018), we claim that MG has a mixed tense system, being able to delete the embedded past like English and shift the embedded present like Russian and Hebrew. Thus, the correlation between having either a deleted past or a shiftable present but not both is accidental. This is theoretically important because it confirms that the two parameters are independent. We also complete the characterization of MG present tense in the cross-linguistic typology of embedded tense, claiming that it behaves like Russian and unlike Japanese, since our data suggest that it does not shift in non-attitudinal environments. Thus, we conclude that two parameters are active in attitudinal environments in MG: (i) a deleted past, and (ii) a shiftable present. Are these two the only routes to the simultaneous reading? There could in principle be a third one, namely interpreting the embedded past de re, i.e., with respect to the time of the utterance. However, we argue that this would over-generate simultaneous readings for languages without a deletion rule, such as Hebrew and Russian. We propose an analysis of the data based on Prefer De Se, predicting that there are indeed two roads to the simultaneous reading in MG.
  • Publication
    Universal Concord as Syntactic Agreement
    (2022-11-18) Yip, Ka-Fai
    This paper argues that universal concord is attested in Cantonese and offers a syntactic agreement account. The Cantonese verbal suffix -can is shown to be a concord element that requires the presence of a universal quantifier but it lacks inherent quantificational force. Drawing crucial evidence from minimality and locality, I propose that -can carries an uninterpretable universal feature that agrees with a genuine universal quantifier. Consequently, the empirical landscape of concord is extended to universal quantifiers. Moreover, this study also offers additional support for a syntactic approach to concord by exploring minimality effects, which have not received enough attention in the studies on concord.
  • Publication
    Discontinuous Predicates as Partial Deletion in Cantonese
    (2022-11-18) Chan, Sheila S.-L.; Lee, Tommy T.-M.; Yip, Ka-Fai
    Providing novel evidence from discontinuous predicates in Cantonese, this paper argues that partial deletion applies to the word level. A number of disyllabic verbs in Cantonese may appear as discontinuous strings where the two syllables are separated by suffixes and/or phrasal elements. We propose that their derivation involves a conspiracy of multiple operations in Narrow Syntax and in the Phonological Form (PF): (i) verb movement in Narrow Syntax creates copies; (ii) affixes induce a PF syllable deletion rule on the higher copy; (iii) partial Copy Deletion applies to the lower copy. Consequently, partial deletion not only applies to phrasal constituents (Fanselow and Cavar 2002), but also to words/heads. We also maintain a relatively conservative understanding of Copy Deletion by scattering the deletion to a PF deletion rule and Copy Deletion, where the partial effect is due to disruption of the latter by the former.
  • Publication
    Toward the Copular Status of Chinese Clefts -- Evidence from Diachronic Syntax
    (2022-11-18) Jin, Dawei; Chen, Jun
    This paper develops a substantive link between three independent and chronologically separate diachronic patterns in Classical Chinese. In each development, a newly copularized (reanalyzed from lexical sources) morpheme occurs in both a copular clause and a cleft. We argue that this connection can be captured by a theory according to which clefts are a type of the copular construction. Both canonical copular clauses and clefts are thus headed by the same copula verb, hence the tendency for both copular structures to emerge and decline in a coordinated way.
  • Publication
    (2022-11-18) Benz, Johanna; Chen, Yiran
    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 45th Penn Linguistics Conference. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, PLC 45 took place virtually and all authors of oral presentations were invited to contribute a ten page paper to this volume. We thank our authors for their contribution and their patience and understanding in this editing process. We also thank Pik Yu May Chan, June Choe, Gwen Hildebrandt, Aini Li, Daoxin Li, Karen Li, Lefteris Paparounas, and Christine Soh 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: Lee, Soo-Hwan, and Yining Nie. 2022. In University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 28.1, ed. Johanna Benz and Yiran Chen, 86-95. 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 Johanna Benz and Yiran Chen, Issue Editors