• Size Restrictors and Prosodic Structure in the Acquisition of Stress

      Curtin, Suzanne; University of Southern California (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2000)
      This paper examines the stages of development in the acquisition of Dutch main stress by children. In the early stages of prosodic development, there are strong restrictions on word size. These restrictions can be explained by the high ranking of alignment constraints (McCarthy & Prince 1993) over faithfulness (McCarthy & Prince 1995). Moreover, the truncation and early prominence patterns are due to adherence to Strict Layering (Selkirk 1984) which emerges from the constraint ranking. The subsequent violation of Strict Layering (Weak Layering, Ito & Mester 1992) at later stages arises from constraint re-ranking. This analysis provides a unified account of child language and adult grammar. The development of the child's grammar moves from unmarked to marked structure (Demuth 1997) building on the units of the Prosodic Hierarchy (Selkirk 1980). Working within the Optimality Framework (Prince & Smolensky 1993), using well-attested constraints, the relationships between stages of acquisition are explained through constraint re-ranking. The paper is organized as follows. First I provide a general overview of the stages of stress acquisition. I then discuss on each stage individually focussing first on the size restrictions found in the early stages of development before turning to stages 3 and 4.
    • Towards a Universal Account of Possessor Raising

      Castillo, Juan Carlos; University of Maryland (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2000)
      This paper explores the nature of possessive relations in Universal Grammar, and their involvement in a syntactic process known as Possessor Raising or, as it is usually called in the Relational Grammar (RG) tradition, Possessor Ascension. Possessor Raising can be defined as the transformation that takes the D-structure possessor of a direct object in the sentence and assigns to it a surface grammatical relation (GR) to the verb of the sentence.
    • What Does Diachrony Say About English Tough-Constructions?

      Goh, Gwang-Yoon; The Ohio State University (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 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?
    • 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, 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.