Colloquia

2014 Mar 05

Indo-European: Tyler Lau

5:15pm to 6:45pm

Location: 

Boylston 303

Microvariation in Ryukyuan Verbal Morphology

2014 Feb 26

Universals: Boris Harizanov

Registration Closed 5:15pm to 7:00pm

Location: 

2 Arrow Street

Syntactically decomposing denominal adjectives in Bulgarian
Consequences for the syntax-morphophonology interface

Abstract:

What are the atoms of syntax and how do they correspond to words? In this talk I address this question by documenting a certain kind of mismatch between the set of objects that syntax manipulates and morphophonological words. In particular, I provide novel empirical evidence from Bulgarian denominal adjectives that certain parts of words can behave syntactically as phrases....

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Registration: 

2014 Apr 10

Circles: Mark Baker (Rutgers)

5:30pm to 7:00pm

Location: 

Sever 306

Parameters of Structural Case

Abstract: Although there is decent evidence that some structural cases are assigned by agreement with a designated functional head (Chomsky 2000, 2001), there is good reason to think that not all are. In this talk, I explore the idea that other structural cases are dependent cases in (roughly) the sense of Marantz 1991: they are assigned to one NP if and only if there is another NP in the same local domain. The most general form of a dependent case condition, I claim, is “If XP is in c-command relationship R with ZP in domain WP, then...

Read more about Circles: Mark Baker (Rutgers)
2013 Oct 17

Circles: Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (Arizona)

5:30pm to 7:00pm

Location: 

Boylston 303

Steps to the Physics of Language

Abstract: The study of complex systems seems to affirm the Thompson-Turing claim that “some physical processes are of very general occurrence.” Notably, those involving Fibonacci-based “golden” forms, ubiquitous in nature, and a number of mathematical models standard in modern physics (matrix representation of operators, with associated eigenvalues and eigenvectors expressing directional stability). This lends immediate interest to the observation that the repeated  structural motif in the human syntactic system, the X-bar...

Read more about Circles: Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (Arizona)
2013 Nov 06

Universals: Norbert Corver (UiL-OTS, Utrecht university)

5:15pm to 7:00pm

Location: 

TBA

Small but Intense

Abstract: "Ideation reigns supreme in language, […] volition and emotion come in as distinctly secondary factors." With these words, Edward Sapir (1921:217) claimed that language is primarily a tool for the expression of thought (ideas). The expression of affect is only secondary. This secondary role is reflected in the form of language: "[T]he emotional aspect of our psychic life is but meagerly expressed in the build of language;" (Sapir ibidem). Roman Jakobson (1960) acknowledges the supremacy of the expression of thought but emphasizes...

Read more about Universals: Norbert Corver (UiL-OTS, Utrecht university)
2013 Nov 15

Universals: Juergen Bohnemeyer

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Boylston 103

The linguistic transmission of cognitive practices: reference frames in Mesoamerica

Abstract: Ongoing research since the 1970s has shown that speech communities vary in the types of reference frames their members prefer for reference to small-scale space in discourse. Furthermore, the frame types used in cognitive tasks such as recall memory show similar variability, and a given population's linguistic preferences significantly predict that population's preferences in cognitive tasks (Pederson et al 1998; Levinson 2003; Majid et al 2004). Two interpretations of...

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