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Paulina Lyskawa - Coordination without grammar-internal feature resolution

Linguistics PhD student Paulina Lyskawa standing in front of a white screen, speaking, elbows at her side, two hands up in front of her

Paulina Lyskawa - Coordination without grammar-internal feature resolution

Linguistics Friday, January 15, 2021 10:00 am-1:00 pm Online

This thesis investigates the ways in which grammars of natural language reflect and negotiate the "phi-features" (Chomsky 1981) of [person], [number] and [gender] under coordination. In many languages, the phi-features of a nominal phrase determine the overt morphophonology of the verb or auxiliary, thus controlling agreement morphology. In a typical coordination structure, which involves two nominal conjuncts, each conjunct bears its own independent set of phi-features. In a way, this is a surplus of information, as far as the needs of the rest of the clause are concerned. Just because the agreement-controller is a coordinate structure, there are not suddenly more agreement slots with which to express the phi-features of the controller. Therefore, the overabundance of phi-features in a coordinate structure needs to be somehow reduced. A common type of reduction of such overabundance is one where the features of both conjuncts are taken into consideration, i.e., they are resolved. Another type of reduction of this overabundance observed in some languages is single conjunct agreement, where agreement is controlled by the features of only one conjunct, while the phi-features of the second conjunct are ignored. Here I focus on languages that are typically described as allowing (if not requiring) resolution of the phi-features under coordination. The main question pursued in this thesis is whether resolution is a grammar-internal or a grammar-external mechanism. 

Add to Calendar 01/15/21 10:00 AM 01/15/21 1:00 PM America/New_York Paulina Lyskawa - Coordination without grammar-internal feature resolution

This thesis investigates the ways in which grammars of natural language reflect and negotiate the "phi-features" (Chomsky 1981) of [person], [number] and [gender] under coordination. In many languages, the phi-features of a nominal phrase determine the overt morphophonology of the verb or auxiliary, thus controlling agreement morphology. In a typical coordination structure, which involves two nominal conjuncts, each conjunct bears its own independent set of phi-features. In a way, this is a surplus of information, as far as the needs of the rest of the clause are concerned. Just because the agreement-controller is a coordinate structure, there are not suddenly more agreement slots with which to express the phi-features of the controller. Therefore, the overabundance of phi-features in a coordinate structure needs to be somehow reduced. A common type of reduction of such overabundance is one where the features of both conjuncts are taken into consideration, i.e., they are resolved. Another type of reduction of this overabundance observed in some languages is single conjunct agreement, where agreement is controlled by the features of only one conjunct, while the phi-features of the second conjunct are ignored. Here I focus on languages that are typically described as allowing (if not requiring) resolution of the phi-features under coordination. The main question pursued in this thesis is whether resolution is a grammar-internal or a grammar-external mechanism. 

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