January 25, 2016

Research Groups: Friday, January 29

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Phonetics/Phonology Group
Ruth Maddeaux (Ph.D.) on the results of her first Generals paper: an experiment on Irish consonant perception.

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Syntax Group
Paper discussion led by Ross Godfrey (Ph.D.): Nino Grillo and Keir Moulton (MA 2002), "Sorting out pseudo-relatives: Clausal determiners and mediated Agree."

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM
Semantics Group
Presentation by Dan Milway (Ph.D.) as a practice talk for the Berkeley Linguistics Society: "Specifying why a doctor isn’t Mary."

This talk addresses a long-standing puzzle with respect to specificational copular clauses. Namely, it addresses the fact that simple indefinites cannot be specificational subjects but more complex indefinites can. Starting from the observation by Mikkelsen (2004) that specificational subjects are obligatorily topics, I argue that the restriction on indefinite specificational subjects is due to a requirement that specificational subject DPs contain but not wholly be constituents marked as contrastive topic (in the sense of Buring 2003). I further propose that this requirement comes from a general constraint on contrastive topic marking in sentences, requiring novel and presupposed content.

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