Category Archives: mophology

Friday, February 24 at 1 PM: Adam Singerman (UChicago) – Joint with Morph&Syn

Please join us this Friday, February 24th at 1PM in Rosenwald 208 for a joint meeting of LVC and the Morphology & Syntax workshops. Our speaker will be Adam Singerman.

Finite embedding and quotation in Tuparí

Adam Roth Singerman
University of Chicago

Tuparí (Tupían; Brazil) has innovated a finite embedding construction that bears the structural hallmarks of an internal headed relative clause. What makes this construction typologically unusual is that it instantiates an apparent violation of the Final-over-Final Condition (a proposed universal discussed at length in recent work by Biberauer, Holmberg, Roberts, and Sheehan): the Tuparí configuration shows a left-branching syntactic projection dominating a right-branching one.

This talk will present the main descriptive and analytic generalizations concerning finite embedded clauses in Tuparí and will examine the implications for current theories of syntactic disharmony: Biberauer et al’s FOFC and Hawkins’s Performance-Grammar Correspondence Hypothesis. In particular, I will show that the Tuparí facts are more problematic for the PGCH than for FOFC (even if FOFC’s appeal to innate constraints in UG is not fully satisfactory as an explanatory mechanism). 

The talk concludes with an examination of the origins of finite embedded clauses in Tuparí. While such clauses transparently involve the grammaticization of a demonstrative third person pronoun as a clausal subordinator, there is evidence that the backwards syntactic dependencies visible in direct quotation have also played a role.


6 May: Galen Sibanda (Michigan State)

Monday, May 6th @ 3 PM, Wieboldt 408

An Overview of Nguni Verbal Reduplication with Special Reference to Ndebele

Previous works on verbal reduplication in Nguni (isiNdebele, siSwati, isiXhosa and isiZulu) such as Downing (1996, 1997a) and Sibanda (2004) have not paid much attention to possible verbal morphology inaccuracies but have been concerned mainly with theoretical aspects of reduplication from a phonological, morpho-phonological or morpho-syntactic perspective. The assumption has been that the morphological analyses in, for example, Doke (1931 (and later editions)) and Ziervogel (1952) are correct. In this presentation I begin by questioning the morphological analyses themselves taking into account results from diachronic studies, specifically Proto-Bantu reconstructions. I focus on verbs with vowel initial stems and those with sub-minimal -C- roots. For example, the reduplicated form of the stem -dla ‘eat’ has previously been assumed to have the morphological structure -dla-yi+dla but I argue, drawing from historical evidence, that this should be -dla+yidla. A morphological reanalysis of the data could potential pose problems for any theory. However, using mainly isiNdebele examples, I show that the Morphological Doubling Theory (Inkelas and Zoll 2005) which places less emphasis on Base-RED phonological identity still handles the Nguni data well in spite of the morphological changes suggested.

11 March: Ashwini Deo, (Yale University)

Monday, March 11th @ 12:30 PM, Social Sciences 302

The particular–characterizing contrast in Indo-Aryan copulas and the diachronic emergence of overt tense marking

Several Indo-Aryan languages  are characterized by (at least) two distinct  copular expressions in both the present and the past tenses  (e.g. hai and hota hai in Hindi or ahe/asato in  Marathi). The distribution  of these copulas in non-verbal predicational  clauses (e.g. John is hungry/intelligent/on Mars/a war veteran/a collie) is constrained by   two factors: (a) whether the predicate is stage-level or individual-level; and (b) whether the argument is interpreted as individual-denoting or kind-denoting.  I propose that the two-copula systems of Indo-Aryan  allow for the morphosyntactic realization  of the semantic contrast  between particular and characterizing sentences (in the sense of Krifka et al 1995).
In this talk, I will investigate  non-verbal predications in Late Middle Indo-Aryan (Apabhramsa) and Early New Indo-Aryan (Old Marathi and Old Gujarati) in order to understand the evolution  of this morphosyntactically realized contrast  in Indo-Aryan diachrony.   Specifically, I  explore the idea that although there is some evidence  of a grammaticalized  particular-characterizing contrast   in the older systems   (e.g. Epic Sanskrit and Early Prakrit),  it is only  firmly established  concomitant with the emergence of overtly marked tense distinctions  in the Proto New Indo-Aryan system.