• What Does Diachrony Say About English Tough-Constructions?

      Goh, Gwang-Yoon; The Ohio State University (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle (Tucson, Arizona), 2000)
      Introduction (1) English tough-constructions (TCs, e.g., Bill is easy to please, Mary is hard to work with) have caused considerable controversy about their correct analysis and this controversy can be roughly described by two main types of analyses. The first type, which can be called "strong connectivity" analysis, assumes syntactic connectivity between the tough-subject (i.e., the subject of the main clause in a tough-sentence) and the gap in the infinitival phrase/clause. Thus, studies along this line argue that the tough-subject is not the true subject of the tough-adjective but is generated as the object of a verb or preposition in the infinitival phrase/clause and moved to the subject position (Postal 1971, Postal & Ross 1971, Berman 1973, Postal 1974, Comrie & Matthews 1990, etc.)(2). This position is supported by the well-known fact that typical toughadjectives such as easy, hard, and difficult generally have no or little semantic effect on their subjects. On the other hand, the second type, which can be called "weak connectivity" analysis, argues that there is no syntactic connectivity between the tough-subject and the gap and that toughadjectives subcategorize for an infinitival phrase with a gap. Thus, early transformational studies such as Ross (1967: 231), Akmajian (1972), and Lasnik & Fiengo (1974) say that the object of the complement of a tough-adjective has been deleted. Government-Binding (GB) theory, for example, Chomsky (1977: 102-110, 1981: 308-314), proposes the movement of an empty operator that binds the trace in the object position and is coindexed with the subject. Furthermore, although no movement of an empty operator is posited, the analysis of HeadDriven Phrase Structure Grammar is similar to that of GB theory in that it does not assume syntactic connectivity. Thus, Pollard & Sag (1994) analyze TCs as a lexical fact about some special predicates and assume that such predicates as easy, difficult, take, and cost subcategorize for infinitive complements containing an accusative NP gap which is coindexed with the subject. Even though the second type of approach has long been more favored by current syntactic frameworks, it is not clear whether there is sufficient empirical evidence to support this more dominant, second type of analysis ( cf. Jones 1983 )(3). Since synchronic linguistics doesn't seem to be able to resolve this controversy one way or the other, what then does the diachrony of the relevant parts of English grammar say about the analysis of TCs? Does diachrony argue for any particular position?
    • "Y" Defends Cyclicity

      Denham, Kristin (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle (Tucson, Arizona), 1992)
      In this paper, I show that there are necessarily cyclic strata in English, using data from a Southeastern United States dialect (hereafter SUS) in which there are special rules of yinsertion and y-deletion. Cole (1990) argues that cyclic rules are unnecessary, and offers alternative proposals for others' cyclic analyses of a variety of problems in several languages. The analysis presented here, however, requires cyclic rule application, thus refuting Cole's claim that cyclicity may be eliminated.
    • Yes-no Ii questions in Russian: Interaction of syntax and phonology?

      Rudnitskaya, E.; The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle (Tucson, Arizona), 2000)
      In this paper, I look at yes-no questions in Russian with the question clitic Ii. I address the question of interaction of syntax and phonology in the derivation of these questions. I show that the phonological operation Prosodic Inversion is involved is required for the derivation of Ii questions. That is, syntactic movement alone cannot derive 1 W li questions. My derivation of li questions involves two steps: the syntactic step of the focused phrase preposing and the phonological step of Prosodic Inversion. It also accounts for the fact that the host of li must be the focus of the question. Li is both a focus particle and a question particle, and, as such, it has strong [+FOC] and [+Q] features. Li is base-generated in Foe. Li's [+FOC] feature attracts the focused phrase preposing to SpecFocP. Then li moves to C and gets inverted with the first PWd of SpecFocP.
    • Yes/No Questions in the Yaqui Indian Language

      Escalante, Fernando (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle (Tucson, Arizona), 1983)
      In this paper I will analyze two types of interrogative sentence structures in the Arizona dialect of the Yaqui Indian language. The first type of question sentence is the one that is usually answered by heewi 'yes' or e'e 'no', or something similar. The other type is the question that requires information and cannot be answered heewi or e'e. I will discuss the characteristics of each kind of Q-sentence such as intonation, tags, and special particles. Finally I will discuss their differences, what they both have in common, and how they fit together.
    • Yidiny Coordination Reduction and Syntactic Ergativity

      Frazier, Michael; Northwestern University (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle (Tucson, Arizona), 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.