Syntax

Award: Roger Shuy Best Paper in American Speech for 2020 for Article Co-Authored by Jim Wood, Raffaella Zanuttini, Larry Horn, and Jason Zentz

The “Roger Shuy Best Paper of 2020” prize for the journal American Speech was awarded to an article (“Dative Country: Markedness and Geographical Variation in Southern Dative Constructions”) co-authored by four members of the Yale Linguistics Department: Jim Wood, Raffaella Zanuttini, Larry Horn and Jason Zentz.

Sigríður Sæunn publishes a paper in Íslenskt mál og almenn málfræði [Icelandic language and general linguistics]

Sigríður Sæunn Sigurðardóttir published a paper entitled, “’Haf góðan dag’ Um uppkomu nýrrar kveðju út frá hugmyndum um talgjörðir” [‘Have a nice day’ The emergence of a new leave-taking term in Icelandic in the light of Speech Act Theory] in Íslenskt mál og almenn málfræði 41.-42The paper is on the leave-taking term Hafðu góðan dag (‘Have a nice day (ACC)’), which has become prominent in Modern Icelandic but has been prescriptively deemed “improper Icelandic” due to its being influenced by English Have

Milena Šereikaitė won award for best paper in Language

Milena Šereikaitė received the prestigious “Best paper in Language Award”, together with her co-authors Julie Anne Legate, Faruk Akkuş and Donald Ringe. Their article “On passives of passives” (Language 96:4, December 2020) furthers our understanding of the notion of voice and provides an account of the well-known but mysterious observation that verbs cannot be passivized twice.

Matt Tyler defends dissertation

On Thursday, July 23rd, Matt Tyler successfully defended his PhD dissertation. The defense, which was held virtually on Zoom, presented Matt’s dissertation entitled Argument Structure and Argument-Marking in Choctaw, supervised by Jim Wood. The committee members were Raffaella Zanuttini, Bob Frank, and Aaron Broadwell. Congratulations, Matt!

Sigríður Sæunn Sigurðardóttir presents a talk at DGFS

Sirrý Sigurðardóttir gave a talk at a workshop during the DGfS (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft) last week. Sirrý’s talk, entitled “The Anti-Occam’s Razor: The distinction between pronouns and expletives in Icelandic” (link to abstract), was presented at the workshop “Theoretical approaches to grammatical (non-)identity in synchrony and diachrony.”

Matt Tyler and Jim Wood publish in Linguistic Variation

Matthew Tyler and Jim Wood have published an article in the most recent issue of Linguistic Variation. The article is entitled “Microvariation in the ‘have yet to’ construction”, and reports on results from the research of the Yale Grammatical Diversity project. The ‘have yet to’ construction refers to sentences like ‘I have yet to visit my grandmother’, meaning ‘I have not visited my grandmother yet’.

Veneeta Dayal has a chapter on specific indefinites

Veneeta Dayal has published a chapter entitled “Singleton Indefinites and the Privacy Principle: Certain Puzzles” in the 2019 book “The Semantics of Plurals, Focus, Degrees, and Times: Essays in Honor of Roger Schwarzschild” (D. Altshuler and J. Rett eds., Springer). The chapter discusses definiteness and specificity by examining bare nominals in multiple languages, as well as markers of specificity such as the word certain in a certain puzzle.

Bob Frank receives NSF grant to study inductive bias in neural networks

Bob Frank has been awarded a grant by the NSF on the topic of “Inductive Biases for the Acquisition of Syntactic Transformations in Neural Networks.” This work, in collaboration with Tal Linzen of Johns Hopkins, will explore the degree to which explicit innate biases are needed to learn linguistic mappings, whether between linguistic forms (e.g., active/passive or declarative/interrogative) or between forms and meanings.

Veneeta Dayal will teach a course and give a talk at the University of São Carlos

Veneeta Dayal will teach a mini-course on “The Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics of Asserting, Asking and Answering” at the University on Aug 19-21 at the University of São Carlos, Brazil. She will also be giving and invited talk on “When does a clause become a question?” at the 3rd Referential Semantics Colloquium on August 22-23, also at the University of São Carlos. The program can be found online.

Matt Tyler publishes paper in Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

The most recent issue of Natural Language & Linguistic Theory includes an in-depth article on Choctaw by PhD candidate Matthew Tyler. The paper is entitled “Absolutive Promotion and the Condition on Clitic Hosts in Choctaw.” This paper originated as his second Qualifying Paper, and has been extensively developed and revised since then, in part in connection with his dissertation work,  which draws on original fieldwork he has been conducting in Mississippi on Choctaw.

Matt Tyler publishes paper on Choctaw in Studia Linguistica

The most recent issue of Studia Linguistica includes an article by PhD candidate Matthew Tyler. The paper is entitled “Choctaw as a Window into the Clitic/Agreement Split”. In this paper he draws on original fieldwork he has been conducting in Mississippi on Choctaw in connection with his dissertation work. He develops a series of tests, some specific to Choctaw, to argue that most “agreement” morphemes on the Choctaw verb are really clitics (essentially pronouns like I/you/we/etc. that are attached to the verb).

Sigríður Sæunn Sigurðardóttir publishes paper in Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax

The most recent volume of Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax has published a paper by PhD student Sigríður Sæunn Sigurðardóttir, entitled “Syntax and Discourse - Case(s) of V3 orders in Icelandic with temporal adjuncts.” This paper discusses the results of some research she has been conducting as part of her PhD coursework (and was also recently presented at the 34th Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop in Konstanz).

Samuel Andersson, Sirrý Sigurðardóttir, Rikker Dockum, and Claire Bowern present at ICHL24

A contingent of Yale linguists has traveled to Canberra, Australia this week for the 24th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, hosted at the Australian National University. Participants from our department include Professor Claire Bowern, PhD candidate Rikker Dockum, and PhD students Sirrý Sigurðardóttir and Samuel Andersson.
 
Their talks, with links to abstracts, are as follows:
 

Veneeta Dayal presents on the interrogative left periphery at UMass Amherst, NYU, and the ILLC in Amsterdam

Professor Veneeta Dayal has given presentations on “The Fine Structure of the Interrogative Left Periphery” in the US and the Netherlands. In April, she gave a colloquium talk on this topic at UMass Amherst, as well as an invited presentation at a meeting of the Semantics Group at NYU.

Sigríður S Sigurðardóttir presents research at CGSW

Graduate student Sigríður S Sigurðardóttir gave a presentation on Friday, June 14th at the 34th Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop, hosted in Konstanz. Her presentation was titled “Icelandic V3 orders with temporal adjuncts: A comparison with Standard Dutch and West Flemish”, and presented the results of research she has been conducting as part of her PhD coursework. In Icelandic, like some other Germanic languages, the verb is usually ‘second’, meaning it comes immediately after the first phrase.

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