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Syntax Reading Group, 4/25 – Mathieu Paillé

Syntax Group will meet this Thursday. Mathieu Paillé will be giving a practice talk for the upcoming MOTH workshop entitled “Revisiting VSO in Malay”.
Description:  Malay/Indonesian has a construction where the verb surfaces to the left of the subject, and the morpheme -nya appears on the verb. Sommerlot (2018), writing about Indonesian, analyses these as fronting the verb via phrasal movement. However, new data from Malay suggests that the verb actually head-moves to some functional head, above Voice but below INFL. To find out what the nature of this head is, the meaning/function of V-nya constructions is discussed. Given that the phonological string -nya also serves as a third-person pronoun (in addition to six other functions, Perangin-angin 2006), I ask whether -nya in these constructions is an expletive subject, and provide an argument to the negative. It is therefore argued that -nya is the spinal head to which the verb moves.
This week’s meeting will exceptionally be scheduled 1:30-2:30pm in room 117. As usual, all are welcome!

Semantics Group, 4/26 – Bernhard Schwarz (joint work with Alexandra Simonenko and David Oshima)

This week, Bernhard Schwarz will present his joint work with Alexandra Simonenko and David Oshima.

Title: Factive islands from necessary blocking
Abstract: Szabolcsi and Zwarts (1993) discovered a type of factive island effect where question-forming wh-movement from the complement of a factive predicate can be rendered unacceptable by the complement’s content. On Oshima’s (2007) account, fleshed out in Schwarz and Simonenko (2018), factive islands are due to the necessary conflict between two felicity conditions. We present new data from multiple questions to argue that this account undergenerates factive islands, and we propose an account in terms of necessary blocking that applies correctly to both classic instances of the effect (Szabolcsi and Zwarts 1993) and factive islands with multiple questions. This finding informs the general discussion of the meaning-based unacceptability of semantically interpretable sentences (e.g., Abrusan 2014; Chierchia 2013; Del Pinal 2017; Gajewski 2002;Mayr 2017; Oshima 2007; Schwarz and Simonenko 2018), where factive islands have been considered as an important test bench (Abrusan 2014; Del Pinal 2017; Oshima 2007; Schwarz and Simonenko 2018).
As usual, we will meet on Friday in Room 117 at 3pm. All are welcome to attend!

P* Reading Group, 4/17 – Heather Goad

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 1:30 pm)

Heather will lead a discussion of Inkelas (2019) “Modeling Scalar Vowel Strength in Q Theory” on Wednesday (Apr. 17th) 1:30-2:30pm. All are welcome to attend!

Syntax Group, 4/11 – Justin Royer

This week, Justin Royer will be presenting a paper by Robert Henderson and a related puzzle in Chuj from his own work. The paper is Morphological alternations at the intonational phrase edge: The case of K’ichee’ (Henderson, R. Nat Lang Linguist Theory (2012) 30: 741. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11049-012-9170-8). For the meeting, please focus on sections 1, 2.1, and 3.1 of the paper.
As usual, we will meet 12-1pm in Linguistics room 117.
All are welcome!

P* Reading Group, 4/3

Jeff will lead a discussion of Inkelas (2015) “Re-representing phonology: consequences of Q Theory” on Wednesday (Apr. 3rd) 1:30-2:30pm in Room 831 of SCSD (2001 McGill College 8th floor). It’s a fairly short description of the Q-theory model of representations. The paper is in our google drive folder (bit.ly/PGroup_2019a). All are welcome to attend!

Syntax Group, 4/4 – Jurij Bozic

This week, Jurij Bozic will be presenting ongoing with on Agreement and Control.
Our meeting will take place at the usual time of 12-1pm in Linguistics Room 117.
All are welcome!

Semantics Group, 4/5 – Daniel Hole (Stuttgart University)

This Friday, Daniel Hole (Stuttgart University) will be giving a talk titled “Arguments for a universal distributed syntax of evaluation, scalarity and basic focus quantification with ‘only’”.

Abstract: In this talk, I review the evidence that has been adduced for a multi-constituent syntax of focus particle constructions. Traditionally, those components that I model as independent morphemes with their own scope-taking properties have been analyzed as submorphemic components of focus particles. I use ‘only’ words to make this point. This work is based on Hole (2013, 2015, 2017), and it makes use of data from Chinese, Vietnamese, German and Dutch. However, many arguments carry over to English. Time allowing, I will also present novel data from the interaction of German nur with modals and the German NPI modal brauchen ‘need (+NPI)’. This approach to focus particles stands in stark contrast to Büring & Hartmann (2001) or Coppock & Beaver (2013) and follows trains of thought as laid out in Smeets and Wagner (2018).
We will meet at 3:30 (Room TBD, but likely R117). All are welcome to attend!

P* Reading Group, 3/27

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 1:30 pm)

We’ll be having P* Group on Wednesday, March 13th at 1:30 pm in room 831 of SCSD (2001 McGill College, 8th floor), during which Alvaro will lead a discussion of  Pinet and Iverson’s (2010) Talker-listener accent interactions in speech-in-noise recognition: Effects of prosodic manipulation as a function of language experience. The paper is available at bit.ly/PGroup_2019a. All are welcome to attend!

Semantics Group, 3/29 – Aron Hirsch and Bernhard Schwarz

This Friday, Aron Hirsch and Bernhard Schwarz will present their joint work on which-questions.
Title: Singular which, mention-some, and variable scope uniqueness.
Abstract:
We present data that we take to support the conclusion that the uniqueness presupposition of singular which-questions is not triggered by an answer operator, as proposed in Dayal (1996), but is instead triggered by which itself. The key observation is that uniqueness may be introduced at a low site, below where the answer operator necessarily takes scope. Our conclusion clears the way for an attractive analysis of mention-some questions, put forward in Fox (2013).
As usual, we will be meeting at 3pm in Room 117. All are welcome to attend!

Word Structure Research Group, 2/22 – Claudia Perez-Herrera

Next meeting: Friday 22 March 2019, 1h30-3 PM, room 117, 1085 Dr Penfield

Topic: Structure

Presenter: Claudia Perez-Herrera

Reading:

  • Bermudez-Otero, R. (2016) We do not need structuralist morphemes, but we do need constituent structure. In Daniel Siddiqi & Heidi Harley (eds), 2016, Morphological metatheory (Linguistics Today 229), 387–430. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/002774

P* Reading Group, 3/13 – Jeff Lamontagne on Breen (2018)

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 1:30 pm)

We’ll be having P* Group on Wednesday, March 13th at 1:30 pm in room 831 of SCSD (2001 McGill College, 8th floor), during which Jeff will lead a discussion of  Breen’s (2018) Effects of metric hierarchy and rhyme predictability on word duration in The Cat in the Hat. The paper is available at bit.ly/PGroup_2019a. All are welcome to attend!

Syntax Reading Group, 3/14 – Benjamin Oldham

This week, Benjamin Oldham will be presenting his ongoing work on applicatives in Chichewa. The presentation is titled: Object marking in Chichewa: A diagnostic for the syntax of applicatives. A short abstract is below.
This presentation uses object marking in Chichewa as a diagnostic for the syntactic structure of applicatives, which are double object constructions. In different types of applicatives, the object available for object marking may be either the direct object or the applied object, to the exclusion of the other. I show that object marking targets the syntactically highest object, and that Chichewa makes the distinction between a high and low applicative. This syntactic model is compatible with other observed behaviors of object marking crosslinguistically.
We will meet at our usual meeting time of 12-1pm in Linguistics, Room 117.
All are welcome!

P* Reading Group, 2/27 – Meghan Clayards on Yu (2019)

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 1:30 pm)

We’ll be having P* Group on Wednesday, February 27th at 1:30 pm in room 831 of SCSD (2001 McGill College, 8th floor), during which Meghan will lead a discussion of  Yu’s (2019) “On the nature of the perception-production link: Individual variability in English sibilant-vowel coarticulation”. The paper is available at bit.ly/PGroup_2019a. All are welcome to attend!

Syntax Reading Group, 2/28 – Michaela Socolof

This week in Syntax Reading Group, Michaela Socolof will be presenting some ongoing work on Georgian correlatives. There is no reading for this week.
We will meet at our usual time and location: 12-1pm in Linguistics room 117. All are welcome!

Semantics Group, 3/1 – Michael Wagner

This week, Michael Wagner will give a talk titled “Interactions between focus and choice of intonational tune”. As usual, we will meet on Friday at 3pm in Room 117. All are welcome to attend!

P* Reading Group, 2/20 – James Tanner on Williams and Escudero (2014) 

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 2 pm)

We’ll be having P* Group on Wednesday, February 6th at 1:30 pm in room 831 of SCSD (2001 McGill College, 8th floor), during which James will lead a discussion of  Williams and Escudero’s (2014) “A cross-dialectal comparison of vowels in Northern and Southern British English”. The paper is available at bit.ly/PGroup_2019a. All are welcome to attend!

Syntax Reading Group, 2/21 – Nico Baier and Jessica Coon

This week in Syntax Reading Group, Nico Baier and Jessica Coon will be presenting new work on Mayan Agent Focus constructions and A’-extraction restrictions (collaborative work with Ted Levin). There is no reading for this week.
Our meeting times this semester are Thursdays 12-1pm in Linguistics room 117. All are welcome!

Semantics Group, 2/22 – Grégoire Winterstein (UQAM)

After a long wait, we are happy to announce the first presentation of the Semantics Group in the Winter term. Grégoire Winterstein (UQAM) will give a talk titled “Bayesian argumentation within language: the case of ‘even’ “.

Abstract: In this talk, I will present some evidence that support the idea that some natural language expressions encode argumentative constraints. Practically, this means that the linguistic form of an utterance matters when evaluating the sort of conclusion the speaker is trying to support in discourse, and how effective their utterance is in providing support for these conclusions. To formalize these argumentative effects, I use a Bayesian approach that gives a probabilistic interpretation to argumentation and assumes that semantic meaning also deals with probabilities. To illustrate, I will discuss the case of scalar additive elements such as English “even” that have been analyzed as conveying the argumentative superiority of their prejacent compared to their antecedent. I argue against such an analysis, but still maintain that their semantics is argumentative.

As usual, the meeting will take place in Room 117 starting at 3:00pm. All are welcome to attend!

Word Structure Research Group 2/22 – Ben Oldham:

Next meeting: Friday 22 February 2019, 1h30-3 PM, room DS-3470, UQAM, Pavillon J.-A.-DeSève, 320, rue Sainte-Catherine Est.

Topic: Bantu reduplication. Presented by Ben Oldham.

Readings:

  • Skinner 2009: Investigations of downward movement, Section 2.2: Reduplication in Ndebele (pg. 71-95) (in Dropbox folder)
  • Myler 2017: Exceptions to the mirror principle and morphophonological “action at a distance”: The role of “word”-internal phrasal movement and spell out (pg. 18-34): prepublication

All are welcome!

Special edition syntax reading group, 2/11

Please join us for another reading group meetings this week in preparation for an upcoming syntax talk in the department.

Monday February 11th, 3:00 in 117
Michael will lead a discussion of Zheng Shen’s paper, “The multi-valuation agreement hierarchy”, to appear in Glossa. Please email Jessica if you need access to a copy.

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