• Blocking and causatives: unexpected competition across derivations

      Miyagawa, Shigeru; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2011)
      The Japanese causative verb exhibits the effects of blocking, whereby a causative verb (V-sase) is blocked from taking on lexical meaning if there is a competing lexical causative verb (Miyagawa (1980, 1984)). Given that the causative verb is most reasonably viewed as being formed in syntax, the blocking effect leads to the conclusion that the lexical causatives also are formed in syntax, contrary to the traditional view. A similar blocking effect is observed with English causatives formed with make, and this, together with what we can observe in Japanese, suggest that blocking is best viewed as one that arises in the process of deriving the causative verb (e.g., Embick and Marantz (2008)), and not as a result of a filter on the output of the generative component (e.g., Kiparsky (2005)).
    • The Crosslinguistic Defaultness of BE

      Bjorkman, Bronwyn; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle (Tucson, Arizona), 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.
    • Grammatical Relations, Lexical Rules, and Japanese Syntax

      Marantz, Alec; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 1981)
    • Implicatures in Agreement

      Ivlieva, Natalia; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle (Tucson, Arizona), 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.
    • On the Syntactic Reification of Implicit Subjects

      van Urk, Coppe; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle (Tucson, Arizona), 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.