January 8, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, January 11

Note that there is no meeting of the Psycholinguistics Group this week.

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Syntax Group
Keir Moulton (faculty): "Exceptional agreement via clausal determiners"

In this talk, reporting joint work with Nino Grillo (University of York), we suggest a mechanism for exceptional or long-distance agreement into finite clauses via a determiner heading CP. I start with a novel observation about pseudo-relative (PR) constructions in Italian (Cinque 1992): that they allow their subjects to optionally and exceptionally govern matrix agreement as in (1).

(1)[PR Carlo e Paolo che ballano il tango] è/sono un evento da non perdere.
Carlo and Paolo that dance-PRES the tango is/are an event to not miss
'Carlo and Paolo dancing the tango is/are an event not to miss.'

(2)[DP DC [PR [DPS Carlo e Paolo ] [C' che ballano ]]]

We first argue that (1) has the parse in (2), in which the PR subject
Carlo e Paolo is an argument of the finite PR clause, not the matrix clause. We then assemble arguments that the PR is embedded under a null D, which is crucial to licensing the PR subject but is nonetheless deficient in its ϕ-features, and therefore permits exceptional agreement with the embedded subject. We claim, following Deal (2014) and Halpert (2016), that this is possible because a head can continue to probe after one goal only partially satisfies it. Our results also add to a growing body of literature arguing for determiners on clauses (Roussou 1991, Davies 2010, Hartman 2012, Kastner 2015) and the beginnings of a literature on the semantics of determiners that combine with event- and proposition-sized constituents (Ferreira 2005, Iatridou 2014).

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Fieldwork Group
Group discussion the documentation work done by Javier Domingo (Université de Montréal) of Tehuelche (a Chonan language spoken in Patagonia) with the last speaker of the language, Dora Manchado, who passed away recently.

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