Dimensions of D Workshop
Friday, September 16, 2016
4:30 p.m.12:00 p.m.
Friday, September 16, 4:30-6:00
Public Lecture sponsored by the Department of Linguistics and the Humanities Project, a program of the Humanities Center, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Rochester.
Click here for event page, including abstract and bio.
Gennaro Chierchia, Harvard University.
The spontaneous logicality of language: how grammar creates meaning.
9:45-10:30 Jaklin Kornfilt , Syracuse University
Chair: Miloje Despic
Higher functional architecture in nominal projections and identifying D
Lunch and student poster session
Chair: Jaklin Kornfilt
Chair: John Whitman
University of Rochester, University of Manitoba, Ottawa University
7:30 Dinner at Lento for speakers
Sunday, September 18, 9:00-3:00
Chair: Carrie Gillon
Definite meanings…or not?
Chair: Greg Carlson
Bare Arguments: to type shift or not to type shift?
Thank you to our sponsors
Central New York Humanities Corridor; University of Rochester Department of Linguistics; Syracuse University Linguistic Studies Program; Cornell University Department of Linguistics; University of Rochester Humanities Project; Writing, Speaking and Argument Program; Computation and Language Lab; Center for Language Sciences.
List of Abstracts
Jaklin Kornfilt, Syracuse University
In a series of studies, Bošković (e.g. 2008, 2012, 2013) proposes a linguistic typology based on a posited dichotomy between languages whose “traditional” NPs are actually DPs and languages where the relevant projection does not go beyond the level of NP. (This would challenge, among others, the proposal in Abney (1987), according to which all languages have DPs.) One immediate clue for the relevant type of a language in this respect would be whether it has articles or not. More interestingly, Bošković proposes additional properties which a language would or would not exhibit, depending on whether it is an “NP-” or a “DP-” language (e.g. NP-languages disallow clause-mate NPI licensing under Neg.-Raising (NR), and DP‐languages allow it; only DP-languages allow the majority superlative reading; inverse scope is unavailable in NP-languages).
In a related study, Bošković & Şener (2014) claim that Turkish is an NP-language, and that it therefore exhibits the properties which Bošković’s system would ascribe to it. They further posit a structure of the NP from which (at least some of) the relevant properties of Turkish would follow, according to their claims.
In this presentation, I challenge: 1. most of the details proposed for the Turkish NP by Bošković & Şener; 2. the posited correlation between the NP/DP “typology” and the properties which are claimed to be found in “DP‐” versus “NP‐” languages, and 3. illustrate my criticism via examples mainly from Turkish, but also from German and English, i.e. from “DP‐languages”. By doing so, I hope to show that the problems discussed go beyond a mischaracterization of the discussed languages; rather, the proposed typology based on whether any given language is an “NP‐language“ versus “DP‐language”, if true, would be true for reasons other than those given in the literature mentioned, and would have to be based on other criteria.
Abney, S. (1987) The English noun phrase in its sentential aspect. Doctoral dissertation, MIT.
Bošković, Z. (2008) “What will you have, DP or NP?” Proceedings of NELS 37.
Bošković, Z. (2012) “On NPs and Clauses”; in Discourse and Grammar: From Sentence Types to Lexical Categories; G. Grewendorf and T. E. Zimmermann (eds.), pp. 179- 242.
Bošković, Z. (2013) “Phases beyond clauses”; in The Nominal Structure in Slavic and Beyond; L. Schürcks, A. Giannakidou, U. Etxebarria, P. Kosta (eds.)
Bošković, Z. & S. Şener (2014) “ The Turkish NP”; in Crosslinguistic Studies on Noun Phrase Structure and Reference; P. Cabredo Hofherr and A. Zribi-Hertz; Leiden: Brill, pp. 102-140.
What do L2-English learners know about the semantics of D?
Tania Ionin, Myeong Hyeon Kim and Elizabeth Nowicki, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Second language (L2) English learners from article-less native languages, such as Korean, are known to have difficulty with English articles, and to make errors of both omission and misuse (e.g., Thomas 1989, Ionin, Ko and Wexler 2004). Prior studies have found that different types of definite article uses (some of which are exemplified in (1)) present differing levels of difficulty to learners, both in explicit written tasks (Liu & Gleason 2002, Wong & Quek 2007), and in the more implicit elicited imitation task (Chrabaszsz & Jiang 2014). However, it is not clear whether learners have the same problems with articles across tasks, since Chrabaszsz & Jiang differed from studies with more explicit tasks in terms of the conditions, the stimuli, and the learner populations. The goal of the present study is to directly compare learners’ performance with definite articles in both explicit and implicit tasks, in order to examine what learners know about the semantics of D.
a. anaphoric definite: Megan bought a vest and a shirt. She is wearing the shirt to her office today. (definiteness established by previous mention)
b. structural definite: Jane has two windows in her house. She is cleaning the window which faces her garden. (definiteness established by structural post-modification)
c. situational definite: Antonio works with a computer in his office. He is looking at the monitor from a distance. (definitenes established relative to the situation)
We tested 27 adult L1-Korean L2-English learners in the U.S. (intermediate to advanced proficiency, established by a cloze test) and 21 native English controls. The participants completed an elicited imitation task (EIT, more implicit, administered first) and a forced-choice task (FCT, explicit). In the EIT, modeled after Chrabaszsz and Jiang, learners view a picture, listen to a sentence pair, and state whether the second sentence matches the picture (half the items are matches, and half are mismatches, making this a meaning-focused task). Half the target sentences contained the and half had missing the, with counterbalancing across two test lists (fillers targeted auxiliaries and suffixes). We expect NSs and target-like learners to insert missing articles in ungrammatical sentences, and correctly repeat grammatical sentences.
In the FCT, participants were presented with the sentences from the EIT, and chose between four response options. We focus on the three categories of items exemplified in (1). In the FCT, learners were target-like in anaphoric contexts (1a), supplying the, but very frequently overused a in non-anaphoric contexts (1b-c), suggesting that they equate definiteness with previous-mention. In the EIT, learners were less targetlike than NSs (with more uses of a and more article omission), yet the patterns of the two groups were similar. In anaphoric and structural contexts (1a-b), both NSs and L2-learners allowed for use of a as well as the (inserting a in such contexts is not ungrammatical, if one disregards the preceding sentence). In situational contexts (1c), both groups produced very few instances of a; use of the was the highest in this context for both groups. Our findings suggest that learners have an implicit understanding of definiteness, and correctly use the definite article with uniqueness, regardless of how it is established. However, learners also rely on an explicit strategy equating the with previous mention, which results in very different performance for FCT vs. EIT. Our findings provide novel evidence about explicit vs. implicit knowledge of L2-English articles, and support the view that L2-learners have access to the semantic universal of definiteness, but allow explicit strategies to override their intuitions (Ionin et al. 2009).
Definiteness and referentiality in Gyeli (Bantu)
Nadine Grimm, University of Rochester
Gyeli, a northwestern Bantu language, lacks both definite and indefinite articles and bare nouns can serve as arguments. The question is then how definiteness is expressed if no definite articles are available in the language and, ultimately, how referentiality is established. Based on natural text data from my own fieldwork in Cameroon, I argue that, in Gyeli, the bare noun phrase can be interpreted as either definite or indefinite, depending on the discourse context. Rather than assuming an underlying default preference for either one of the two interpretations, though, I claim that definiteness and indefiniteness are determined by the rules of information structure in the discourse, namely topicality and focus. Additionally, Gyeli has other grammatical means than articles to track referents and assure identifiability, namely demonstratives, a switch reference contrastive marker, and an indefiniteness marker under negation.
The puzzle of plural definite generics in English
Artemis Alexiadou, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin & ZAS, Berlin
When it comes to the expression of genericity with plural noun phrases, languages split into two groups (see e.g. Krifka & al. 1995, Farkas & de Swart 2007 for an overview among many others). Languages like English use bare plurals to express generic generalizations and kind reference, (1). By contrast, languages like French, and Greek use definite plurals in these contexts, (2)-(3).
(1) Dogs are dangerous when they are hungry.
(2) Les chiens sont dangereux quand ils ont faim.
The dogs are dangerous when they have hunger
(3) Ta skilia ine eksipna.
The dogs are intelligent (Farkas & de Swart 2007)
According to Longobardi (1994: 653), English never tolerates the use of the definite article with plural and mass generics. Chierchia (1998) also states the definite article lexicalizes specificity in English, while Lyons (1999) observes that the article in English is simply definite, while in French (and Greek) it can also be generic.
However, it has been noted in the literature, see e.g. Kaluza (1981), that in English definite + plural can be used for generic use only with some types of nouns, such as family names, nominalized adjectives, or names of nationality. Importantly, however, in Earlier English plural definite generics were possible. Thus Mustanoja (1960) observes that in Old English, the generic plural occurs with the definite article. In Middle English, the articleless use gains ground steadily. Van Linden & Davidse (2012) even find plural definite generics in Late Modern English data, (5):
(4) swa feor norÞ saw Þa hwoelhuntan firrest faraÞ
as far north as whales ever go
(5) But it is not only necessary that the flowers should keep their honey for the insects.... (1879)
More interestingly, plural definite generics are possible in dialects of English:
(6) Do they keep the goats? Irish English Filppula (1999)
Epstein (1993) signals that English and Romance followed the reverse paths in the use of the article with generics. While in e.g. French, bare nouns were common in older stages of the language in generic contexts, (7), these were replaced by noun phrases preceded by determines. Apparently in English, the reverse development took place:
(7) Tant i fuis que j‘oi venir Chevaliers
so often there I be that I hear come knights
I was always there when I heard the arrival of knights Becker (2013)
In this talk, I will address the following questions: i) what explains the generic interpretation of plural definites in the diachrony of English, in dialects of English and within a very particular class of nouns (focus: nominalized adjectives)? ii) Why did English and e.g. French develop in opposite ways?
Rising from the ashes: D in Niuean
Diane Massam, University of Toronto
This paper examines Niuean, a Tongic language that lost its Proto-Tongic determiners, yet still seems to classify as a language with determiners. In the literature, determiners are argued to have various features and functions, e.g. definiteness, referentiality, allowing a nominal to serve as an argument. I argue that in Niuean, these determiner properties are now spread across the nominal domain, piggy-backing on other heads such as Case, Number, Poss, and Q. Some feature of D resurface on modifiers that have hybrid modifier/functional characteristics, while one feature, proper-common, remains as a residual D. Implications for the universality of D are explored.
Specificity: the trouble with case and numerals
Solveiga Armoskaite, Carrie Gillon, Gita Zareikar
Means of expression for nominal definiteness and indefiniteness continuum vary across languages (Alexiadou et al. 2007; Bondaruk et al. 2014; Bošković 2009; Ghomeshi et al. 2009; Müller et a. 2008; Stark et al. 2007; to name a few). Yet the finer nuances of encoding shades of meaning are still to be captured. One notion that is currently debated is specificity (Brasoveanu, & Farkas, 2013, among others). Following von Heusinger (2003) and Ionin (2006), we assume that specificity is based on speaker knowledge. An English example illustrates the interpretative possibilities:
(1) I want to marry a Norwegian.
(i) There is a particular Norwegian I want to marry. [spec]
(ii) I want to marry any Norwegian as I adore their culture. [non-spec]
In the absence of overt specificity marking, indefinites in English can receive either specific or non-specific readings.
Other languages behave similarly. In both Lithuanian (Baltic) and Azeri (Iranian), bare nouns can receive either interpretation - at least in some environments. In (2), context and/or discourse cues help to disambiguate between the two readings.
Noriu vesti norvega.
nor-iu ves-ti norveg-a want-1SG.PRES marry-INF Norwegian-ACC.SG
‘I want to marry a Norwegian.’ [+/-spec]
The question we ask is: how is specificity related ambiguity resolved with overt means i.e., other than contextual or discourse cues? For example, in Azeri, the presence of an overt numeral does not serve to disambiguate (3).
Mary ela bilir ke o bir norwejli-nan evlandi
Mary so think that s/he one Norwegian-POSS married
‘Mary believes that he married a Norwegian.’ [+/-spec]
In this study, we contribute to the ongoing dialogue on specificity with a comparative study on Azeri (Iranian), Indonesian (Malay) and Lithuanian (Baltic). In particular, we look at whether numerals and case contribute to the disambiguation of specificity, and under what conditions.
Alexiadou, A., Haegeman, L., Stavrou, M. 2007. Noun phrase in generative perspective. NY: Mouton de Gruyter.
Brasoveanu, A., Farkas, Donka. 2013. A typology of specificity. In Revue Roumaine de Linguistique LVIII (4), 355-369.
Bondaruk, A., Dalmi, G., Grosu, A., eds. 2014. Advances in the studies of DPs. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Bošković, Ž. 2009. More on the no-DP analysis of article-less languages, Studia Linguistica 63, 187 - 203.
Ghomeshi, J., Paul, I., Wiltschko, M., eds. 2009. Determiners: universals and variation Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Ionin, T. 2006. This is definitely specific:specificity and definiteness in article systems. In Natural Language Semantics 14(2). 175-234.
Müller, H. H., Klinge, A., eds. 2008. Essays on nominal determination. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Stark, E., Leiss, E., Abraham, W., eds. 2007. Nominal determination: typology, context constraints, and historical emergence. Vol. 89. John Benjamins Publishing.
Von Heusinger, K. 2003. Cross-linguistic implementations of specificity, in Meaning through language contrast, vol. 2, K.M. Jaszcolt, K. Turner, eds. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 405–421.
Revisiting nominal tense
Guillaume Thomas, University of Toronto
From Aristotle to Pesestky and Torrego (2004), language scholars have analyzed tense as an inherently verbal category. Recent studies of tense as a nominal category in a variety of non Indo-European languages (Lecarme 1996, Nordlinger & Sadler 2004, Wiltschko 2003, among others) have faced objections both from syntax (Alexiadou 2008) and from semantics (Matthewson 2005, Tonhauser 2007).
In this talk, I would like to revisit the question of what nominal tense could be, in the light of this recent literature. I will present a synthesis of the different criteria that have been used to distinguish putative instances of nominal tense from other categories (adjectives, temporal pronouns, aspect, etc). I will then compare nominal temporal marking in a sample of languages including Halkomelem, Somali and Mbyá Guarani, and argue that it is not a morphosyntactically homogeneous phenomenon. In particular, I will argue that nominal temporal marking in Mbyá Guarani is the most likely instance of a TP projection inside DP, and that current arguments against the existence of nominal tense do not apply to this language.
Alexiadou, Artemis. (2009). Tense marking in the nominal domain: Implications for grammar architecture. Linguistic Variation Yearbook 8: 33-60.
Lecarme, Jacqueline. (1996). Tense in the nominal system: The Somali DP. In J. Lecarme, J. Lowenstamm & Ur Shlonsky (Eds.), Studies in Afroasiatic grammar: Selected papers 19from the Second Conference on Afroasiatic Languages, 1994 (pp. 159–178). The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.
Matthewson, L. (2005). On the absence of tense on determiners. Lingua, 115, 1697–1735.
Pesetsky, David and Esther Torrego. 2004. Tense, case and the nature of syntactic categories. In "The syntax of time," eds. Jacqueline Gueron and Jacqueline Lecarme. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Nordlinger, Rachel and Louisa Sadler. 2004. Nominal tense in crosslinguistic perspective. Language 80.4.776–806.
Thomas, Guillaume. 2014. Nominal tense and temporal implicatures: evidence from Mbya. Natural Language Semantics 22: 357-412.
Tonhauser, Judith. (2008). Defining cross-linguistic categories: The case of nominal tense. Reply to Nordlinger and Sadler (2008). Language, 84(2), 332–342.
Wiltschko, M. (2003). On the interpretability of tense on D and its consequences for Case Theory. Lingua, 113 (7), 659–696.
Determining the Semantics of Nominalizations
Scott Grimm, University of Rochester
-ing forms as in (1) have played an important role in debates both over the internal structure of phrasal categories in syntax (Chomsky 1970, Abney 1987, Emonds 1990, Harley & Noyer 1998, Moulton 2004, Newmeyer 2009, i.a.) and over natural language ontology for abstract objects (Vendler 1967, Bennett 1988, Zucchi 1993, Hamm & van Lambalgen 2002, i.a.)
a. Al’s raking the leaves (POSS-ing)
b. Al’s raking of the leaves (POSS-ingof)
c. the raking of the leaves (-ingof)
d. Al raking the leaves (ACC-ing)
e. the raking the leaves (the+VP-ing)
f. raking the leaves (PRO-ing)
Building on recent research in other areas of nominal semantics and on the results of an extensive corpus study, we develop an alternative semantics for -ing which connects its disparate uses through a novel combination of already existing hypotheses about the semantics of their parts. The analysis is ontologically parsimonious as the uses and interpretations of all -ing forms are accounted for using only event types and tokens, inspired in Zamparelli’s (1995) “layered” DP analysis on which nouns denote kinds and are converted to kind- or token-level descriptions via functional morphology, e.g. number. It is shown that differing interpretive effects arise depending on whether the event type/token is individuated through number or temporal anchoring and, further, through the choice of determiner.
One surprising result predicted by the analysis and verified through corpus work is that while uses such as (1e) have long been maligned in the literature, despite attested examples (e.g. Abney 1987, Milsark 2005), we found that such uses occur robustly precisely when an event type is referred back to.
(2) For a “normal” person, it’s the not wearing make-up that is stressful .... (GloWbE)
I conclude, in light of a worked-out semantics for gerunds, by considering the arguments for the DP based on evidence from gerunds.
(This talk reports on joint work with Louise McNally)
On Kinds and Anaphoricity in Languages without Definite Articles
Miloje Despic, Cornell University
There are two general approaches to the structure and interpretation of NPs in languages without definite articles. On the Universal DP approach (UDP), DP is present in all languages, regardless of whether or not they have a definite article (Longobardi 1994, Cinque 1994); the claim is that even article-less languages have a definite article (i.e., a D head) in syntax, but unlike in languages like English, the article is unpronounced/covert. The DP/NP approach, on the other hand, assumes that DP is present only in languages with articles; on this view, the lack of (overt) articles signals a simpler syntactic structure (i.e., NP) (Baker 2003, Boškovic 2008, Despic 2015). Under the DP/NP approach a limited set of type shifting operations is responsible for the interpretation of bare nouns (Chierchia 1998, Dayal 2004). I report here new observations regarding bare nouns in languages without articles, which I argue challenge the UDP approach, and directly support the type-shifting based analyses, in particular Dayal (2004). As is wellknown, bare singular count nouns in languages without articles can be used anaphorically, to refer to a previously introduced individual. Thus, the bare noun book in both Serbo-Croatian (SC) (1) and Turkish (2) can refer to Crime and Punishment in the antecedent clause. English, on the other hand, must use the definite article in the same situation.
(1) Juce sam procitao Zlocin i Kaznu – knjiga mi se zaista svidela. SC
Yesterday am read Crime and Punishment book-nom me-dat refl really liked
‘Yesterday I read Crime and Punishment – I really liked the book.’
(2) Dün Suç ve Ceza okudum. Kitap harikaydi. Turkish
Yesterday Crime and Punishment read-past. Book terrific-past.
‘Yesterday I read Crime and Punishment. The book was teriffic.’
Bare mass nouns, however, behave differently and haven’t been discussed before in this context: when they are used to denote kinds they cannot be used anaphorically; e.g., meyve ‘fruit’ in (3) cannot pick out üzüm ‘grapes’ in the antecedent clause, just like voce ‘fruit’ cannot refer to grož_e ‘grapes’ in (4). They only have the implausible general meaning (fruit in general); to get the anaphoric reading a demonstrative must be used. On the other hand, a mass noun with a kind reading can be used anaphorically in English, if it is accompanied with the definite article: in (5), ‘the fruit’ is anteceded by ‘grapes’.
(3) Ömrüm boyunca üzüm üretiyorum. #(Bu) meyve herseyim oldu. Turkish
My life throughout grape produce.1.PR This fruit my everything became
‘I have been producing grape my whole life. (This) fruit is everything to me.’
* if meyve ‘fruit’ is anteceded by üzüm ‘grapes’; OK if bu meyve ‘that fruit’ is anteceded by üzüm
(4) Naše mesto vec generacijama proizvodi belo grož_e. Sve dugujemo (tom) vocu. SC
Our town already generations produces white grape Everything owe (that) fruit-dat.
‘Our town has been producing white grape for generations. We owe everything to (that) fruit.’
* if vocu ‘fruit’ is anteceded by grož_e ‘grapes’; OK if tom vocu ‘that fruit’ is anteceded by grož_e
(5) We have been growing grapes for generations – and you know, we have made millions on the fruit.
This raises the following problem for the UDP approach: if the covert version of the definite article, which is overt in English, is responsible for the definite reading of the bare noun in (1)-(2), why can’t it produce the same effect in (3)-(4), given that ‘the fruit’ in (5) has the definite article? One could perhaps argue that covert articles are more limited in meaning than the overt ones, but that would only re-describe the facts and would not explain why the opposite of (1)-(4) doesn’t happen. I argue, on the other hand, that this state of affairs falls out directly from Dayal’s (2004) analysis (see also Chierchia 1998, Carlson 1977), which I show also makes correct predictions about the relationship between anaphoricity and bare plural and singular kinds. Facts from other article-less languages (e.g. Japanese, Chinese, Hindi etc.) will be presented in support of the main claim as well.
Student Poster Session
Madeline Clark, Graeme McGuire, Najia Khaled, Miriam Kohn, Cameron Morgan, Wes Orth, Anthony Vaccaro, Solveiga Armoskaite, University of Rochester
Let’s talk X
Wednesday Bushong, Florian Jaeger, University of Rochester
Processing the ordering of Definite and Indefinite Noun Phrases in Ditransitives
Clarissa Forbes, University of Toronto
Determination and [DETERMINATE]: The D projection in Gitksanimx̲
Carol-Rose Little, Cornell University
Ordinal numerals and DP structure in Ch'ol
Deniz Satık, Syracuse University
‘This My Dog' in Turkish
Ekarina Winarto, Cornell University
Chen Zhou, Syracuse University
Evidence for the DP-Hypothesis from Mandarin Chinese
Workshop: Dimensions of D
University of Rochester, September 17-18, 2016
Sponsored by the Mellon-funded Central New York Humanities Corridor; University of Rochester Department of Linguistics; Syracuse University Linguistic Studies Program; Cornell University Department of Linguistics. Additional sponsors: University of Rochester Humanities Project; Writing, Speaking and Argument Program; Computation and Language Lab; Center for Language Sciences.
Linguists have been arguing about what exactly a determiner is (e.g., English 'the', 'a') and what it does in the nominal domain ever since the groundbreaking work by Abney (1987). However, the search for a definitive list of indispensable functional categories for nominals has not yet yielded a definite result agreed upon by everyone. D is not an exception.
The issue, as linguists from diverse theoretical schools have come to realize, is clouded by the fact that syntactic configurations and morphemes which are not obviously determiners can have functions/semantic impact which are comparable to those of determiners (cf. Müller & Klinge 2008; Alexiadou et al. 2007; Ghomeshi et al. 2009, among many others).
In addition, if one takes into consideration languages without overt determiners, a further complication arises: is determination universal, even if it is not manifested overtly?
In some of our current work we explore these issues from a typological perspective couched in the tradition of generative grammar (Armoskaite & Wiltschko in prep.; Despic 2011; Gillon & Armoskaite 2015; Kornfilt forthcoming).
Long tradition and current work notwithstanding, the dimensions of D still remain unclear. Our workshop will bring together researchers from different subfields of linguistics to address some of the following questions:
- What does a typology of D look like if we set out to capture languages with and without overt D?
- How do functional categories other than D interact with D?
- When, if at all, can categories other than D take on the function of D?
- How, if at all, can information structure phenomena induce D-like effects?
- Jeffrey Runner, Professor of Linguistics, University of Rochester
- Solveiga Armoskaite, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, University of Rochester
- Greg Carlson, Professor of Linguistics, University of Rochester
- Jaklin Kornfilt, Professor of Linguistics, Syracuse University
- John Whitman, Professor of Linguistics, Cornell University