Coyote Papers: Working Papers in Linguistics is a publication of the Linguistics Circle, the Graduate Student Organization of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona.

Volume 20: Special Volume for the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics.


Contact Coyote Papers at coyotepapers@gmail.com.

Recent Submissions

  • The Syntax of the Person Case Constraint Drives Morphological Impoverishment of Clitics

    Walkow, Martin; University of Massachusetts at Amherst (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    Several varieties of Catalan show restrictions on the morphological expression of person and number in combinations of direct and indirect object clitics. When both direct and indirect objects are third person, there is only one morphological marker for third person (3-3-Effects). When both direct and indirect object are third person and plural, only one of them surfaces with plural marking. I call this latter restriction Unique Plural Exponence (UPE). Dialects differ wrt which argument, DO or IO, surfaces with features, but it is consistently the linearly leftmost one that surfaces with person/number features. This is consistent across dialects with different orders of direct and indirect objects, alternations of clitic order within one dialect and under historical change. I develop a syntactic account of these restrictions that relates them to the Person Case Constraint. The absence of morphological realization is attributed to the failure of person/number licensing in the syntax. An analysis is given for the restrictions on person and number in two dialects that differ in the order of direct and indirect objects and accordingly which argument surfaces without person/number features. The consistent lefthand position of the person marked clitic is derived from the syntactic structure.
  • Change of State Verb and Syntax of Serial Verb Constructions in Korean: An HPSG Account

    Lee, Juwon; University of Texas at Austin (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    The simple, canonical form of SVCs has been much studied (e.g. Lee, 1992; Chung, 1993; Kim 2010 for Korean, and Aikhenvald, 2006; Dixon, 2006 for various African languages). In this paper, I investigate a more complex form of SVCs (namely resultative SVCs) which are almost ignored in the literature. Specifically, I show that (i) the causing event and result state of a Korean change-of-state verb should be separately represented in the lexical information of the verb, (ii) the resultative SVCs are really a type of SVC by comparing the core concept of SVCs (i.e. serializing subevents and so non-cancellation of V1 result state or object) with the corresponding properties of the construction in question, and (iii) SVCs generally have the constraint that result state or object should be created after the event of V1 (with more evidence from light verb SVCs). Finally, I present an analysis of the resultative SVC and light verb SVC in Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (Pollard and Sag, 1994; Sag et al., 2003).
  • Predicate which-appositives

    LaCara, Nicholas; University of Massachusetts Amherst (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    Predicate which-appositives (PWAs) are a class of nonrestrictive, parenthetical relative clauses that take as their antecedents predicate-denoting material in the spine of a clause. PWAs contain a gap, and it is difficult to tell whether this gap is derived by a deletion operation like verb phrase ellipsis or by wh-movement. Indeed, diagnostics meant to distinguish these two possibilities provide evidence that both are correct. In order to remedy the apparent conundrum, I draw on recent work on Danish verbal anaphora. I argue that the VP itself undergoes A'-movement and that the relative operator which is inserted post-syntactically in place of the VP, replacing its phonological material. This post-syntactic operation explains why there appears to be phonological deletion involved in the derivation of PWAs while still allowing the A'-movement properties of the construction to be explained.
  • Hixkaryana: The Syntax of Object Verb Subject Word Order

    Kalin, Laura; University of California, Los Angeles (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    In this paper I propose and motivate a syntactic analysis of Hixkaryana (a Carib language spoken in the Amazon in Brazil), drawing on the extensive, linguistically-informed fieldwork of Desmond C. Derbyshire (1979, 1985, inter alia). Hixkaryana displays basic/unmarked Object Verb Subject (OVS) word order, which is found in very few languages of the world (Dryer 2008). There are three main components to the proposal presented here. I argue that the syntax of Hixkaryana involves (i) a marked hierarchy of agreement projections, AgrO over AgrS; (ii) movement of the subject to a high topic position; and (iii) fronting of the rest of the clause over the subject. This analysis accounts for a constellation of properties in Hixkaryana, including the surface order of constituents (OVSX, where X is an adjunct PP or AP), surface constituency (the object and verb form a constituent exclusive of the subject), verbal morphology (agreement is a prefix while all other inflectional affixes are suffixes), structural relations (the subject c-commands the object and obliques/adjuncts), the position of particles (which are either in second position or invariantly post-verbal), and exceptional OSV word order (triggered by the first person exclusive pronoun amna). OVS languages, like Hixkaryana, are important for syntactic theory because they likely have special insights to contribute, given how rare they are; however, OVS languages receive very little attention in the literature. This paper aims to call attention to OVS word order as a real linguistic phenomenon that must be accounted for in mainstream linguistic theory.
  • Implicatures in Agreement

    Ivlieva, Natalia; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    The paper accounts for a puzzling agreement behavior of disjunctions, namely the fact that in certain environments plural agreement with a subject-disjunction is possible, even though both disjuncts are singular. I argue that such behavior is driven by the theory of implicatures. In particular, I argue that disjunction is a predicate and it can have plural feature, which closes the predicate under sum formation; second, this plural feature triggers a multiplicity implicature along the lines of Zweig 2009. When this implicature is in conflict with an exclusivity implicature generated by the scalar item or, the plural feature is blocked, hence no possibility of plural agreement. In environments where such conflict does not arise, plural agreement is possible.
  • Yidiny Coordination Reduction and Syntactic Ergativity

    Frazier, Michael; Northwestern University (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    I present an analysis of a typologically unusual pattern of coordination reduction in Yidiny, a Pama-Nyungan language (Dixon 1977). Yidiny shows two dissociated patterns of syntactic ergativity, one that is dependent upon surface morphological features and another indifferent to them. Because within a single language syntactically ergative phenomena can dissociate, there must be at least two possible, though related, routes to syntactic ergativity. I propose that syntactic ergativity can occur in a language either because of an operation yielding prominence of the internal argument of a transitive verb in the syntax, or because of the interaction of syntactic mechanisms with case-marking.
  • The Crosslinguistic Defaultness of BE

    Bjorkman, Bronwyn; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    This paper presents a formalization of view that auxiliary verbs such as be are in some sense default verbs. On the basis of languages in which auxiliaries arise only in certain combinations of inflectional categories (Latin, Kinande), it is argued that auxiliary be is not present in the syntax, but is instead a morphological strategy for realizing “stranded” inflectional features. A model of verbal inflection that implements this approach to auxiliaries is developed, providing a unified analysis of the auxiliary pattern found in languages of the Latin/Kinande type with the more familiar pattern of languages such as English.
  • External Argument Focus and the Syntax of Reflexivity

    Ahn, Byron; University of California, Los Angeles (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    It is unexpected under previous accounts that, in a subclass of sentences that contain reflexive anaphors, focus on a reflexive anaphor can be felicitously interpreted as a response to a subject-question (e.g. "Johnny burned HIMSELF" as a response to "Who burned Johnny?"). This focus phenomenon can only be accounted for under existing theories of focus and syntax-prosody mapping if the syntactic representation of reflexivity is amended, as is pursued in this paper. A revised model of reflexivity such as the one presented in this paper is not only able to account for this focus data, but is generally more empirically robust: able to better account for the distribution of phrasal stress in clauses with reflexive anaphors, as well as the realization of reflexivity of other languages.
  • Korean Evidential -te- Inference from Direct Evidence

    Lim, Dongsik; CCHS-CSIC (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    Korean evidential marker -te- introduces difference presuppositions depending on the presence or absence of tense markers. When there is no overt tense, it may introduce the presupposition that the speaker’s assertion is based on her direct perceptive evidence when it is used without any overt tense (direct evidential presupposition). However, when used with other tense markers, it introduces the presupposition that the speaker’s assertion is based on inference from her direct perception of some eventuality (inferential evidential presupposition). Furthermore, without any tense marker, the proposition embedded under the scope of -te- may refer to the eventuality which occurred before the utterance time. To solve this puzzle, I propose that -te- always introduce the inferential evidential presupposition, and the direct evidential presupposition is a special instance of the inferential evidential presupposition based on tautological reasoning. I also propose that -te- introduces a salient time interval t before the utterance time, and explain the past reading triggered by -te- with the absence of tense markers by making the additional assumption that when there is no overt tense is used a covert anaphoric tense is inserted instead.
  • The Syntax of Valuation in Auxiliary-participle Constructions

    Wurmbrand, Susi; University of Connecticut (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    This paper proposes that syntactic dependencies are established through Reverse Agree, a feature valuation dependency in which unvalued features are licensed (i.e., valued) by the closest c-commanding element with the appropriate valued feature. I illustrate that this view, in contrast to standard Agree or licensing under specifier-head agreement, provides a unified account of the morphological and syntactic properties of a series of Germanic parasitic participle constructions, which, so far, have been assumed to be unrelated.
  • On the Syntactic Reification of Implicit Subjects

    van Urk, Coppe; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    This paper presents an empirical argument for the claim that implicit subjects of passives are syntactically projected. It is shown that obligatory control by implicit subjects in the passive is subject to a syntactic restriction. Specifically, across languages, promotion of a DP to spec-TP blocks control by the implicit subject of a passive. This is what lies behind the old observation that subject control is incompatible with passivization in English, or Visser's Generalization (VG) (e.g. Jenkins 1972; Bresnan 1982). This generalization is a natural consequence of the logic of an agreement-based theory of control (Borer 1989; Landau 2000 et seq.), if it is assumed that control by implicit subjects is established syntactically.
  • Case and Phi Features as Probes

    Ussery, Cherlon; Carleton College (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    This paper uses case and agreement patterns to argue for a reformulation of Agree (Chomsky 1995, 2000, 2001). Throughout syntactic literature, various proposals that account for the assignment of case and agreement have been made. Chomsky (1991) proposes that different projections are responsible for the two types of features. Case is assigned in Spec,TP, while agreement is established in Spec,AgrP. By contrast, Agree divorces feature checking from movement (Bobaljik and Wurmbrand 2005, Wurmbrand 2006). Case and agreement are assigned under c-command via the same Agree operation. A head, T, checks the case of a DP with a matching case feature and, in turn, that DP checks the agreement features on T. The prediction, therefore, is that case and agreement should necessarily pattern together: verbs should agree with DPs that are in a case relationship with T. I provide evidence not only that case and agreement features may pattern differently, but also that individual agreement features may pattern differently. As such, I argue that features on heads – not heads themselves – are probes. While I argue that case and phi features are not an indivisible bundle, I maintain the proposal that feature-checking need not force movement to a specifier, thus eliminating the need for independent agreement projections. Additionally, I illustrate probing is not restricted to c-command. I redefine Agree so as to allow a probe-goal relation to be established either under c-command or in a spec-head configuration.
  • The Syntax of MEAN

    Taguchi, Shigeki; Shinshu University/University of Connecticut (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    In this paper, I examine the hitherto unnoticed issue of what syntactic categories mean may take as complements, analyzing the syntactic structure of sentences like What do you mean that I’m a liar? from the minimalist perspective. On the basis of the intuition that what starts out as the object of mean, I consider the mechanism of Case-licensing of wh-arguments. Noticing that under the current minimalist framework, object shift to SpecvP and vP-adjunction result in exactly the same configuration with respect to chain length, I consider how Case-licensing of wh-arguments in the complement clause of mean circumvent improper movement characterized in terms of the traditional A/A-distinction. I also discuss the Doubly Filled COMP Filter and the Superiority Condition in relation to the syntax of mean, both of which are shown to be consistent with the proposed analysis.
  • Strong Resultatives as a Bounded PathPP Construction: PathPP Structure and Parametrized Path Head Movement

    Suzuki, Takeru; Tokyo Gakugei University (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    This paper examines the Strong Resultative construction by comparing it with several path related constructions. It advances an analysis in which they all have a bounded path P. Its covert variant underlies some of the path related constructions and the Strong Resultative construction. We will see that the semantic property and the properties related with the phonetic emptiness of a bounded path P derive various characteristics of both of the constructions. I discuss implications and questions about the present analysis, one of which concerns the dual source of apparently the same meaning.
  • Stress and Suffixation in Isbukun Bunun

    Ouyang, Iris Chuoying; University of Southern California (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    Isbukun, a major dialect of Bunun, is one of the Austronesian languages spoken in Taiwan. According to the Taiwan government statistics in 2009, Bunun had a population of 51,447, around half of which were registered as Isbukun. As Mandarin and Southern Min are the predominant languages, the Austronesian languages in Taiwan including Bunun are endangered. This study investigates word stress in Isbukun Bunun from the perspective of Optimality Theory. In particular, the stress patterns of monomorphemic and compound words, derivational and inflectional suffixed words, and words with clitics are explored. In Isbukun Bunun, a single quantity-sensitive trochee formed at the right edge of a word. Consequently, prefixation is generally irrelevant to footing, whereas suffixation closely interacts with stress placement. This paper presents two types of extrametricality along with quantitative adjustment that are found in suffixed words. Morphological extrametricality prevents inflectional suffixes and clitics from being footed and thereby prosodically distinguishes derivation and compounds from inflection and clitics. Positional extrametricality avoids forming a foot at the left edge of a root, which only emerges in derivational words, because inflectional words are required to fulfill morphological extrametricality first. In addition, since feet are constructed at the end of a word and derivational suffixes are allowed to be footed, quantitative changes take place in derivational suffixation: adjacent vowels with the same quality merge into one when two vowels come from different morphemes (i.e. the final segment of the stem and the initial segment of the suffix), and moras are deleted if otherwise the number of syllables in a word would increase. To account for the morphological extrametricality, a pair of output-output faithfulness constraints are used: a higher ranked OO-IDENT(stress)INF with an index referring to inflectional suffixes and clitics, and a lower ranked clone OO-IDENT(stress) without an index. The constraint ranking OO-IDENT(stress)INF >> ALL-FT-R >> OO-IDENT(stress) generates inflectional words with stress on the same syllable as in their stems, while derivational words follow general footing principles. As for the positional extrametricality, an anti-alignment constraint *ALIGN-L(Root, FT) is proposed, which concerns positions of feet only with respect to the root, rather than the stem that may be polymorphemic. The constraint ranking OO-IDENT(stress)INF, DEP-μ >> *ALIGN-L(Root, FT) >> *STRUC-σ confines the emergence of non-initiality in derivational words with roots not smaller than two moras.
  • A General Theory of Bare "Singular" Kind Terms

    Nomoto, Hiroki; Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    Dayal's (2004) theory of kind terms accounts for the definiteness and number marking patterns in kind terms in many languages. Brazilian Portuguese has been claimed to be a counter-example to her theory as it seems to allow bare “singular” kind terms, which are predicted to be impossible according to her theory. However, the empirical status of the relevant data has not been clear so far. This paper presents a new data point from Singlish and confirms the existence of bare “singular” kind terms. A revised theory of kind terms is proposed that accounts for it. The proposed theory puts forth a number system with three basic categories, i.e. singular, plural and general. It is claimed that bare “singular” kind terms are in fact derived from general NPs, which are associated with number-neutral properties. The paper also discusses why bare “singular” kind terms are not perfectly acceptable in Brazilian Portuguese.
  • Syntactic Positions of Turkish Bare NPs The View from Aspect and Prosody

    Nagai, Miho; Öner Özçelik; CUNY Graduate Center; Indiana University (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    The goal of this paper is to show that internal arguments of verbs in Turkish do not uniformly occur in the complement position of the verb (contra e.g. Perlmutter 1978, 1989). We examine syntactic positions of bare arguments in Turkish on the basis of aspectual (Aktionsart) properties of VPs (e.g. Vendler 1967) and prosodic structure. Looking at where low adverbs appear, we propose that there are (at least) two different positions where bare internal arguments can occur in syntax – bare internal arguments of Turkish achievements occur in SpecVP while those of accomplishments occur in the complement position of V. This proposal is also supported by prosodic evidence.
  • Nouns Affect Aspect Syntactically

    MacDonald, Jonathan; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
    In this paper, I offer one argument for the universality of the effect that a noun has on the aspectual properties of the verb phrase based on a perviously unnoticed aspectual asymmetry between count and mass nouns in their aspectual effect. Both Slavic and Germanic show this asymmetry. Using this aspectual asymmetry as a litmus test, I evaluate existing semantic and syntactic accounts of the aspectual effect of the noun to determine which of the two components, syntax or semantics, is most likely the locus of aspectual effect of the noun. I conclude that syntactic accounts can handle these aspectual facts in the most parsimonious manner.