Aug 072019
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, … [read more]
Jun 082019
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. The first reason is conceptual. As already discussed on this blog, … [read more]
Mar 052019
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 … [read more] blogpost: Adventures in modularity, phonological optimization edition”
Feb 212019
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. … [read more]

blogpost: Kudos

 Posted by on 01/29/2019  1 Response »
Jan 292019
I just stumbled upon this: ... Notice the "Published in" field: Lisa Selkirk and Angelika Kratzer have made it publicly known that this paper received a rejection in its very first round of review from Language. I don't think it can be overstated how important it is for senior people to share … [read more]
Jan 072019
There is a rather persistent confusion in current linguistic literature that I would like to highlight, between what syntax is (the component of grammar responsible for those computations that are not reducible to sound and to meaning) vs. what syntax looks like (constituents, phrases, complementation, specifiers, c‑command, etc.). One can see this confusion … [read more] blogpost: What syntax is vs. what syntax looks like”

blogpost: The Second Syntax

 Posted by on 11/24/2018  28 Responses »
Nov 242018
DISCLAIMER: I don’t think the following thoughts are particularly “revolutionary” – i.e., I imagine other people have thought (and maybe said) the same things before. But for what it’s worth, I’m a syntactician who has been in linguistics for years and I’ve only recently come to realize these things; so perhaps there are others like  … [read more] blogpost: The Second Syntax”
Oct 102018
There are several reasons why I started my own blog, after blogging over on Norbert Hornstein’s Faculty of Language (FoL) for a while. One of them is that I found the thematic content of my posts was actually not a terribly good fit for FoL. Norbert is very interested in big-picture cogsci and … [read more] blogpost: Pre-linguistic atoms + syntax ≠ human language”