Headedness and the Lexicon: The Case of Verb-to-Noun Ratios
Is there a correlation between the relative size of a lexical class, such as verbs in relation to nouns, and whether members of that class precede or follow a dependent in phrases they head? This paper finds that there is.
Morphology in Austronesian languages
Postdoc Ted Levin and Professor Maria Polinsky provide an overview of morphology in Austronesian languages.
The agreement theta generalization
How does agreement between a head and a dependent relate to argument selection? Omer Preminger and Maria Polinsky observe a new restriction.
In this paper, we propose a new generalization concerning the structural relationship between a head that agrees with a DP in φ-features and the predicate that assigns the (first) thematic role to that DP: the Agreement Theta Generalization (ATG). According to the ATG, configurations where the thematic-role assigner is located in a higher clause than the agreeing head are categorically excluded. We present empirical evidence for the ATG, discuss its analytical import, and show that this generalization bears directly on the proper modeling of syntactic agreement, as well as the prospects for reducing other syntactic (and syntacto-semantic) dependencies to the same underlying mechanism.
Understanding heritage languages
Maria Polinsky joins UC Irvine’s Gregory Scontras to “synthesize pertinent empirical observations and theoretical claims about vulnerable and robust areas of heritage language competence into early steps toward a model of heritage-language grammar.”
Field stations for linguistic research: A blueprint of a sustainable model
Professor Polinsky describes the advantages of field stations for linguistic fieldwork, and the implementation of the UMD station in Guatemala.
Heritage Languages and their Speakers
Professor Maria Polinsky gives an overview to a field which she has helped found: the linguistics of heritage languages.
Experimental approaches to ergative languages
A summary of major results in experimental work on ergative syntax, focussing on competition with accusative syntax, and the effects of ergativity on processing of long distance dependencies.
A handbook chapter on Antipassive constructions: intransitive clauses where an oblique dependent corresponds to the direct object in a transitive with the same verb.
Cross-linguistic scope ambiguity: When two systems meet
Scope ambiguities permitted by most speakers of English are not permitted by those who are also heritage speakers of Mandarin, suggest Maria Polinsky and her collaborators.
A prospectus of what lies ahead for the studies of Spanish as a heritage language in the U.S., and of understanding heritage language as a general phenomenon.
Bilingual children and adult heritage speakers: The range of comparison
There are many kinds of bilinguals. This paper compares and contrasts three: child bilinguals, adult heritage speakers, and adult bilinguals who speak their home language natively.
Structure vs. use in heritage language
The grammars of native and heritage speakers may differ fundamentally in their representation of certain grammatical categories.
Deconstructing Ergativity: Two Types of Ergative Languages and Their Features
Maria Polinsky identifies two kinds of ergative languages: those where ergative subjects are prepositional phrases, and those where they are determiner phrases. She illustrates using her fieldwork on Tongan and Tsez.
The differential representation of number and gender in Spanish
Number are gender features are syntactically separate, argues visiting PhD student Zuzanna Fuchs, with mentor Maria Polinsky.
Heritage language and linguistic theory
Case studies on heritage linguistics, documenting some of the deficits and abilities typical of heritage speakers, together with the broader theoretical questions they inform.