My squib with Maria Polinsky, “The Agreement Theta Generalization,” has been published in Glossa. In this squib, we propose a new generalization concerning the structural relationship between theta assigners and heads showing morpho-phonologically overt agreement, when the two interact with the same argument DP. This structural generalization bears directly on the proper modeling of syntactic agreement, as well as the prospects for reducing other syntactic (and syntacto-semantic) dependencies to the same underlying mechanism. (This work began as Section 7 of the unpublished manuscript “Agreement and semantic concord: a spurious unification,” but has now been expanded into a standalone squib.) […]
This is a post about listedness: what is the nature of the idiosyncratic information that is listed in the grammar.
In traditional, lexicalist approaches, the listed atoms were lexical items. A lexical item contained, at minimum, a phonological form, a semantic interpretation, [...]
I’ve posted a new version of my paper “The Anaphor Agreement Effect: further evidence against binding-as-agreement.” It is somewhat unusual for a ‘new version’, in that the paper has been completely rewritten, top to bottom, following some feedback from reviewers! You can read more about this project on my research page. […]
There’s been a fair amount of generative linguistics work over the past 15 years or so that identifies itself as “morphosemantics.” There are several reasons why I don’t think morphosemantics is a coherent notion. In this post, I’d like to detail some of these reasons. You’ve probably heard ~1.5 of them before, though, so if that’s the case feel free to skip ahead as needed. […]
A while ago, I posted the following on facebook:
"the morning star" is to "the evening star" as "my analysis resorts to expletive pro" is to "my analysis is wrong"
To illustrate [...]
Here is a paper by Canaan Breiss and Bruce Hayes (I will refer to the paper as B&H). To offer a brief summary of B&H’s main empirical point, it shows that the choice of syntactic ‘structure’ (i.e., both the choice of terminals and their arrangement) is probabilistically biased towards avoiding phonotactically problematic sequences (e.g. a sequence of two consecutive sibilants), even when the sequence in question arises across a word boundary. It does so by focusing on a series of well-established phonological constraints (from work on word‑level phonology), and showing that word‑bigrams whose juncture violates these constraints are underattested. This is shown to be the case in a variety of corpora, both written and spoken. Let’s refer to this as Evidence for Phonologically-Influenced Choice of Syntactic Structure, or EPICSS for short. […]