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!
Last Friday Matt Tyler gave a colloquium talk at UMass Amherst entitled “Internal arguments disguised as external arguments: Lessons from an active alignment system”. Information about the talk, including an abstract, can be found on the UMass website: link to website.
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 published in the latest issue of the Annual Review of Linguistics. The paper, which is joint work with Yağmur Sağ at Rutgers University, discusses the syntax and semantics of bare nouns and determiners. The abstract for the paper is available on the Annual Review of Linguistics website.
Starting in 2021, Yale will co-sponsor two meetings of the African Linguistics School (ALS, link to ALS website), an organization focused on training young African linguists in theoretical linguistics, on the basis of the large number of languages spoken in Africa.
Veneeta Dayal was recently invited to teach at two one-day workshops. The first was on Identifying (In)definiteness at the University of Mumbai (India) on January 8, 2020, and the second on The Interrogative Left Periphery at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (India) on January 14, 2020.
The Yale linguistics department is well-represented at the coming Annual Meeting of the LSA, January 2-5, 2020 in New Orleans. But apart from the many current members of the department who will be attending, we are also hoping to connect with previous department members. A meet-up will be organized, with more information below:
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.
Seven Yale linguists presented six posters and two invited talks, highlighting their own research as well as projects from CLAY.
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 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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
Raffaella Zanuttini attended “Person & Perspective 2019: A workshop honoring the work of María Luisa Zubizarreta” held at USC, May 3-4, 2019. She presented a talk entitled “Person, politeness and the embeddability of imperatives”, joint work with Paul Portner and Miok Pak.
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.
On Friday, April 5th, Jim Wood spoke at the 2nd Princeton Symposium on Syntactic Theory (PSST), organized by Byron Ahn and Laura Kalin. The theme for the meeting is “counterexamples”. Jim Wood’s talk, entitled “Prepositions, Nominalization and Allosemy,” connects with this theme through the lens of his recent research on Icelandic deverbal event nouns, and what such nouns tell us about the interaction between syntax and lexical meaning.
Raffaella Zanuttini gave an invited talk last week at a workshop at NYU entitled “Antisymmetry and Comparative Syntax: Celebrating 25 years of antisymmetry and 75 years of Richard S. Kayne,” more informally referred to as “RichieFest.” The workshop celebrate’s Richard Kayne’s 75th birthday, as well as the 25th anniversary of his highly influential 1994 monograph The Antisymmetry of Syntax.
Graduate student Sigríður Sæunn Sigurðardóttir and her collaborator Thórhallur Eythórsson have contributed a chapter in the recent book The Determinants of Diachronic Stability, on stability and change in the history of Icelandic weather verbs. The paper was originally presented at the pre-conference workshop of DiGS 18 (19th Diachronic Generative Syntax conference) in Ghent, 2016. The abstract for this chapter is given below:
Prof. Jim Wood will give an invited talk at the ninth European Dialect Syntax Workshop (Edisyn IX) in Glasgow, Scotland. The title of his talk is “Microvariation and the set of possible grammars.” In it, he will discuss the work of the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project broadly, along with some specific results and case studies, including verbal ‘rather’, the ‘have yet to’ construction, personal datives and dative presentatives.
Prof. Raffaella Zanuttini and her co-authors Paul Portner (Georgetown) and Miok Pak (GWU) have a paper in the most recent issue of Language, “The Speaker-Addressee relation at the syntax-semantics interface”.
Many members of the Yale linguistics department made a mass exodus to the the recent LSA annual meeting in New York City, where they gave 19 oral and poster presentations at the main meeting, workshops, and sister society meetings. These included:
Ph.D. candidate Matthew Tyler has recently published two journal articles concerning his work on clitics in Choctaw (Muskogean). One, published in Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, is titled “Absolutive Promotion and the Condition on Clitic Hosts in Choctaw”; this article proposes a morphosyntactic analysis of Choctaw clitics.
We are excited to work with Caitlyn Antal, Marisha Evans, Randi Martinez, and Jared Sharp as they pursue their graduate studies!
Sean’s dissertation, supervised by Professor Raffaella Zanuttini, investigates the accusativus cum infinitivo construction in Latin.