March 7, 2016

Research Groups: Friday, March 11

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Psycholinguistics Group
Ruth Lee (OISE): "The influence of fantastical discourse context on young children's on-line sentence comprehension."

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Syntax Group
Keffyalew Gebregziabher (postdoc): "Bare nouns and the morphosyntax of number in Tigrinya."

In this talk, I will discuss a work in progress on the nature and morpho-syntactic properties of bare nouns in Tigrinya. Using both syntactic and semantic arguments, I show that bare nominals in Tigrinya are not fully predicted by Chierchia’s (1998) typology of nominals. Particularly, Chierchia predicts that languages, which exhibit a singular-plural distinction, should not allow bare singulars in argument position. I will present data from Tigrinya that directly disconfirm this prediction. In order to account for all the data, I propose that Tigrinya bare singulars are underspecified for number. I will conclude with some tentative views on how external agreement, subject verb agreement, happens in the context of bare nouns.

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Fieldwork Group
Guillaume Thomas (faculty): "Towards a nominal tense meta-questionnaire."

I have been working on a meta-questionnaire on nominal temporal markers that could be used by fieldworkers who are not necessarily specialists in truth-conditional semantics or even in generative grammar. My goal is to use it as the foundation of a collaborative project comparing the grammar of nominal temporal markers in a variety of South-American languages. This is a delicate task since (i) the meta-questionnaire has to abstract away from the grammar of specific languages, yet (ii) it should be precise enough to allow a linguist who is not a semanticist (let alone a specialist of nominal tense) to develop a full-fledged questionnaire in her field language. In this meeting, I present the current state of this meta-questionnaire and get feedback on its usability.

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