Jul 252020

This is not so much a blog post as it is a collection of things that I think deserve your attention. As you will see, it is quite a self-serving list, in that several of these works provide evidence in favor of claims that I have also been arguing for. But hey, it’s my blog, right? 😊

  1. Pavel Rudnev has a paper set to appear in Glossa arguing against approaches to anaphoric binding in terms of phi-Agree, and in favor of an encapsulation-based account of the Anaphor Agreement Effect, of the kind I have argued for as well. (More converging evidence, with a twist, comes from the work of Rafael Abramovitz on the AAE in Koryak.)
  2. Recent work by Susi Wurmbrand & Magdalena Lohninger on clausal complementation, showing (among other things) that the semantics of clausal complements cannot be read directly off the syntax. Instead, the syntax of a given language will determine which complementation options a given verb in that language will have (subject to an implicational hierarchy that Wurmbrand & Lohninger uncover, but, importantly, underdetermined by the semantics). The semantics then has to map the possible readings of a given complement onto what these syntactically-prescribed structural possibilities happen to be. As readers of this blog know, this is entirely in line with what we find in other empirical domains. My slogan for this has been: “Meaning contrasts are not generated by syntax, they are parasitic on the contrasts syntax happens to make available.” (Not so pithy, I know. But still, this flies in the face of standard wisdom in the Montagovian tradition, so I think it’s worth hammering this point home.)
  3. Pavel Rudnev again! This time, in a paper that’s already available for “early view” in Linguistic Inquiry. The paper provides an argument based on agreement in Avar in favor of restricting phi-agreement to Downward Agree (a.k.a. Upward Valuation; Diercks, Koppen & Putnam 2019, as well as various papers of mine, some of them co-authored with Maria Polinsky).
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