Proceedings of the 46th Annual Penn Linguistics Conference

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 24
  • Publication
    Reflexivization, Intransitivity, and Voice
    (2023-01-01) Paparounas, Lefteris
    For languages like Greek, where `affixal’ reflexives share their verbal morphology with passives, unaccusatives, middles, and experiencer verbs, a long-standing intuition holds that these reflexives are unaccusative. I provide novel evidence supporting this generalization, showing that the single overt argument in Greek reflexives is a) a deep object and b) the only argument in the structure. I argue that the morphosyntax of reflexives, their interpretive properties, and restrictions on reflexivization all follow from the fact that reflexivity is tied to the agent-introducing head Voice in Greek.
  • Publication
    Type-C Emphatic Reduplication in Sakha
    (2023-01-01) Chan, May P. Y.
    Sakha (Yakut) is a Turkic language spoken in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Like many other Turkic languages, Sakha allows reduplication. One pattern is a reduplicative prefix CVp-, which intensifies adjectives (e.g. kirdex ‘dirty’; kip-kirdex ‘very dirty’). It involves fixed segmentism of /p/ and is described in the literature as emphatic or ‘Type-C’ reduplication. This pattern is the focus of the present work. Using data from both existing literature and a consultant, this study captures using a traditional OT approach: (i) the general pattern of fixed segmentism in type-C reduplication, (ii) optional OCP effects, and (iii) monophthongization or vowel shortening effects in the reduplicant.
  • Publication
    How Various Frame Setters Restrict Interpretations of Contextual Comparisons
    (2023-01-01) Oda, Toshiko
    This study focuses on contextual comparisons that have received much less attention than standard more-than-comparisons. The purpose of this study is to expand the scope of Hohaus’ (2015) framework and enrich it by adding various types of frame phrases that bring different types of degree relations in presuppositions. It is demonstrated that the relations between frame phrases and their main clauses are rule-governed as predicted by Hohaus’ (2015) framework; an asserted degree relation holds only when it satisfies the degree relation in the presupposition brought by its frame phrase(s). Relevant data will be provided in English and Japanese.
  • Publication
    Line Breaks Can Make You Miss Out a Complement: Developing Predictions in Reading
    (2023-01-01) Tsoukala, Andromachi; Vogelzang, Margreet; Tsimpli, Ianthi
    Previous research focusing on direct object/subject garden path sentences, as in “While Anna dressed the baby played in the crib”, has provided evidence for the influence of multiple syntac-tic and non-syntactic factors on disambiguation. The present study sheds light on the role of a textual parameter that has received little attention in the literature: line breaks. In a self-paced reading study, participants were presented with multiline texts containing locally ambiguous optionally transitive verbs positioned before a line ending. By manipulating transitivity status, we investigated whether the intransitive analysis would be promoted – compared to the more commonly entertained transitive parse – as a function of the line break triggering early closure. Furthermore, we explored whether the presence of syntactically incomplete lines – as opposed to complete ones – preceding the verb region would cause readers to refrain from early closure due to an expectation of structural incompleteness. While results provided support to the first hy-pothesis, we found inconclusive evidence for the second. More specifically, no facilitation in reading rate was observed for either interpretation when the reader was primed with structurally incomplete lines; rather, an irregular reading pattern emerged in such contexts. Nevertheless, there was some evidence to suggest that when the parser operated on a prediction of structural incompleteness only to be proven false, comprehension was impacted. Further research is needed to confirm whether this is indeed a consequence of prediction error.
  • Publication
    The Effects of Topic and Part of Speech on Nonbinary Speakers’ Use of (ING)
    (2023-01-01) Rechsteiner, Jack; Sneller, Betsy
    This paper investigates the variable usage of (ING) by nonbinary speakers across conversation topics, specifically asking whether nonbinary speakers shift their rates of (ING) variation when discussing the salient topic of gender. 8 nonbinary speakers (4 AFAB and 4 AMAB, ranging from 21 to 27 years old) participated in sociolinguistic interviews conducted by a nonbinary researcher who was familiar with each interview participant. A modular interview guide was developed based on Labov’s Q-GEN-II modules with modifications made to specifically obtain participant narratives on their experiences with gender identity and expression in addition to traditional narratives. The results of the study find that despite a markedly more deliberative style during gender topics, participants do not shift rates of (ING) across topics. The present study further finds that a speaker’s assigned gender at birth plays no predictable role in rates of (ING). Taken together, these results suggest that nonbinary speakers form their own distinct linguistic community which should be analyzed as operating outside of the gender binary.
  • Publication
    Non-agreeing Resumptive Pronouns and Partial Copy Deletion
    (2023-01-01) Yip, Ka-Fai; Ahenkorah, Comfort
    This paper investigates how Copy Deletion may apply partially through the lens of non-agreeing resumptive pronouns in two typologically unrelated languages Cantonese and Akan (Asante Twi). We show that there are two types of resumptive pronouns in both languages, agreeing and non-agreeing resumptive pronouns (RPs). Their morphological forms correlate with syntactic properties: non-agreeing RPs resemble movement traces, whereas agreeing RPs behave like base-generated pronouns. Assuming Late Insertion of Vocabulary Items in Distributed Morphology (Halle & Marantz 1993 et seq.), we propose that Copy Deletion applies partially to lower copies of movement chains, whose residue is realized as a default, non-agreeing RP (on a par with recent discoveries in van Urk 2018, Scott 2021, Georgi & Amaechi 2022). The findings not only shed light on how movement chains may be linearized (cf. Nunes 2004), but also suggests that resumption should receive a non-uniform treatment.
  • Publication
    ATB Movement and Parasitic Gaps: From the Perspective of Head Movement
    (2023-01-01) Lee, Tommy Tsz-Ming
    This paper explores a less discussed aspect of head movement by examining two constructions, namely, Across-the-board (ATB) movement and Parasitic Gaps. I reveal an asymmetry between the two configurations: ATB head movement of verbs is attested in Cantonese, but Parasitic Gaps for verbal heads are not. I propose that the unavailability of PGs for verbal heads is not due to the head status of the moving elements: they are ruled out because the possible types for operators are independently restricted. The findings suggest (i) that there is no substantial counter evidence for the unity of movement from PG constructions, and (ii) that ATB movement and PG constructions should receive non-uniform treatment.
  • Publication
    Linguistic Landscape of Howrah: A Comparative Study of Two Regions in a Multilingual City
    (2023-01-01) Kole, Tanya
    This paper aims to study the linguistic landscape of multilingual Howrah, comparing two regions specifically, in order to analyse the variations between areas speaking different languages. The two regions have been chosen such that one is occupied by speakers of the majority language Bangla, while the other is inhabited by non-Bangla communities. These minorities exist in the face of extreme linguistic nationalism by the majority Bengali community. For the linguistic landscape study, all posters, billboards, advertisements, shop names, graffiti on walls, official signboards, traffic signs, address plates, building names, and all other static text were considered, regardless of size. It was assumed that Bangla and English would be the most frequently sighted languages in both the areas, with lower presence of Bangla in the non-Bangla region. The study confirmed this idea, wherein Bangla, English, Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit were found in the study areas, with the predominance of English and Bangla. The non-Bangla area had an overwhelmingly high number of English signs, which also points towards the significance of English in contemporary Indian society.
  • Publication
    What Morphological Form Can Tell us about Syntactic Structure: Two Analyses of Associative Plurals
    (2023-01-01) Lewis, Beccy
    This paper is concerned with the syntactic structure of associative plurals (APs) and in particular APs in those languages that use the ordinary plural marker as the associative marker, dubbed plural pattern languages (e.g. Turkish -lAr functions as both ordinary plural and associative plural on proper names; Ahmet-ler is ambigious between 'multiple Ahmets' and 'Ahmet and his associates'). A novel typological generalization about plural pattern languages is established: they either have affixal definite articles or lack definite articles. In light of this, a new analysis of APs in plural pattern languages is proposed whereby this pattern is derived via movement of the Number head. It is shown that a movement-based approach to the plural pattern both deduces the novel typological generalization and solves a long-standing puzzle regarding a restriction against plural possessor agreement with APs in plural pattern languages.
  • Publication
    Negation and Negative Polarity Items in Tigrinya
    (2023-01-01) Cao, Angela; Liotta, Madison
    In this study, we discuss negation, negative polarity items (NPIs), and their syntactic constraints in Tigrinya, an understudied Semitic language. We obtained data through elicitations with two male L1 speakers of the language who lived in Ethiopia and Eritrea before moving to the Atlanta area in the early 2000s. Using this data, we explore the different types of locality conditions in which negative polarity items appear, an NPI’s relationship with its most basic licensor (negation), as well as how these NPIs perform when transferred to other contexts. Throughout this paper, we draw comparisons across polarity items in other Afro-Asiatic languages, such as Berber and Jordanian Arabic (Ouali 2014, Overfelt 2009, Alsarayreh 2012). We argue that adverbial NPIs such as /fets’imu/ are licensed strictly by the Spec-Head relation, while nominal NPIs such as /walla Hanti/ are licensed through the c-command constraint. Finally, a proposed analysis of the idiomatic NPI /k'ejjaH santim/ demonstrates that NPI-licensing in Tigrinya can occur across relative clause boundaries.