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. […]
This is another post, much like this one (and very much inspired by it), that is more about professional development / career issues, and less about linguistics. So if this kind of thing interests you less, maybe skip this one.
One thing that academics have to periodically do throughout their careers is write various kinds of "statements" about what they've done so far, and what they're going to do in the future. [...]
Here’s a nice little thing to ponder. Suppose syntactic computation is bound by some cyclic domains – we can call them “phases” (though I am on record with the opinion that phase theory is a faded facsimile of Subjacency, and many of its more recent developments, a faded facsimile of Barriers). And suppose that we encounter a configuration like (1) in which H is able to access XP but unable to access YP, where XP and YP both seem, as far as we can tell, featurally suited to H’s needs: […]