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Topics for Proseminars - Archive

Proseminars are the special topics graduate courses taught in our department, with course numbers in the 250 range.  Typically these are prepared lecture courses given by faculty, but with strong student participation. The purpose of this page is to give visitors an idea of what is typically taught (and, indirectly, the faculty's research interests), as well as just to serve as institutional memory.

For the proseminars being given in the current academic year, please visit this page.

Spring 2012

Tim Stowell             Spring 2012              Thursday 4-7

Proseminar on Ellipsis, Tense, and Abbreviated English (AE)


I am scheduled to teach a proseminar this quarter; the meeting time is Thursday afternoon from 4:00 to 7:00 PM, in Haines A24.


I had originally planned to devote the course to the topic of ellipsis, but I learned relatively recently that Maziar Toosarvandani taught a proseminar on ellipsis last year (deans are typically too distracted to keep track of such things) and after consulting his syllabus I decided that the overlap might be problematic.  I have therefore decided to teach my proseminar this quarter on three somewhat unrelated topics, comprising, in effect, three mini-courses strung together to form a quarter-long course.


Because I understand that most grad students were blissfully unaware of this proseminar, and because there is a GLC meeting scheduled for this afternoon during the same time slot, the class will not meet this week.  The first class will meet next Thursday afternoon; I'll figure out a time for a make-up class for this week's meeting, probably at the beginning of exam week.


The first topic of the course will involve ellipsis, a topic that I have been interested

in for some time (I taught a proseminar on this in 2004.) More recently I have been working on a class of parenthetical constructions involving parenthetical modified adverbs, which I have come to conclude involves TP ellipsis with a derivation substantially similar to Sluicing.  I would like to look at this construction as well as some related literature on issues relating to topics that have become familiar in the literature on ellipsis, including antecedent contained deletion, 'vehicle change,' the nature of the identity condition on the antecedent, and certain issues specific to the theory of parenthetical constructions.


The second topic of the course will involve another topic that I have worked on over the past 20 years or so, namely the syntax and semantics of tense. (This is also a topic that Yael has done very interesting work on.) My specific interest here will be with certain issues relating to "sequence of tense," intervention effects associated with the interweaving present and past tense, and interactions between tenses and modals.


Finally,  I would also like to cover a third topic, namely the syntax of special registers of written English, associated with newspaper headlines, diaries, recipes and instruction manuals, titles and captions, and note-taking; I refer to these collectively as genres of Abbreviated English (AE).  These genres of writing share several properties, including (a) null subjects and/or objects, (b) null definite and indefinite articles and/or possessive pronouns, (c) null copulas, (d) null conjunctions, (e) the use of the present tense to report an event located in the past or in a temporally unanchored location.  We will also look at parallels between these registers of AE and other languages with respect to these phenomena.



Linguistics 254:  Lessons from Universal 20

Hilda Koopman

The starting point for my seminar will be Greenberg’s Universal 20 (U20) and its syntactic modeling. It will apply the lessons from U20 to the clausal domain: this will lead to a fresh look at the postverbal domain in English and other languages, and a potential re-evaluation of some widely held theoretical results which are based on the syntax of the postverbal domain.

Greenberg’s U20 states that in :

(1) a. prenominal position the order of demonstrative, numeral, and adjective (or any subset thereof) conforms to the order Dem Num A, and
in b. postnominal position the order of the same elements (or any subset thereof) conforms either to the order Dem Num A or to the order A Num Dem.

(1) a. has remained (virtually) unchallenged in the extensive literature on U20, but (1) b has been shown to be too weak: many more orders (but not all) are attested postnominally.

Cinque, 2005 derives these patterns from a universal hierarchy (Dem(Num(A(N)))), with the prenominal order a direct reflection of the universal hierarchy Postnominal orders result from various leftwards movements of a phrasal constituent containing N which can pied-pipe various elements (the post N domain thus hides much structural ambiguity). Patterns that are crosslinguistically unattested cannot be derived by the syntax.

These results for U20 lead to the following general expectation:

(2) a.    the order (of phrases) in prehead position is a reliable indicator of the underlying order of merge
b.    the posthead order shows much more structural variability:its structural analysis is therefore much more difficult and should be approached with great caution.

Applied to the sentential domain, (2) means that the preverbal domain in OV languages would hold priviliged information about the underlying merge order, but the postverbal order does not, as it can hide considerable structural ambiguity. This is not in line with the standard wisdom, which holds that OV languages scramble happily, leading to a much greater free word order, whereas VO languages are thought to have much more restricted orders and are widely thought to lack scrambling.

The seminar will:
(i) examine U20 and its derivations in the nominal domain, refine Cinque’s proposals in some ways (based on Koopman and Szabolcsi 2000), and account for variable orderings within the same language;
(ii) look at the typology of words, where we seem to find the same patterns and asymmetries as U20 and verbal complexes (Koopman and Szabolcsi 2000, Koopman 2005, in progress );
(iii) compare the structures of pre and postV domains in a number of languages (including Samoan and Malagasy), supporting (2);
(iv) model the difference between Dutch (OV) and English (VO) in this way (Koopman 2010), leading to the (to me ) quite surprising conclusion that the syntactic derivations of the postverbal domain in English and the preverbal domain Dutch are remarkably similar (perhaps identical), reducing to pied-piping in English, but not in Dutch.
(v) explore the consequences of (2) for the understanding of the syntax of the postverbal domain in English in some detail.

Can be taken for 2 or 4 units. scheduled to meet We 11-2.

Linguistics 254, The acquisition of semantics

Nina Hyams & Jessica Rett
Monday 10am-1pm
followup message: 
A second update on next quarter's Ling 254, Acquisition of Semantics.
We'll be meeting in Haines A78 Monday mornings from 10-1. A tentative syllabus is attached. The course website is here.
We'd like to begin by discussing the acquisition of definite determiners on the first day so we'd appreciate it if those of you who are planning on attending read Shaeffer & Matthewson 2005, which is attached. (You're also welcome to read van Hout et al. 2008, which you can find on the website.)
See you soon!
Jessica & Nina
first message:
The goal of this class is to use language acquisition to inform semantic theory and vice-versa. For instance, we'll study phenomena in which it appears as though acquisition studies can help determine, of polysemous words or constructions, which meaning is primary. And we'll study phenomena in which it appears as though semantic theory can help explain delays (or the absence of delays) in acquisition.
We'll address a different topic each week. For each topic, we'll suggest some papers from the semantics literature and some from the acquisition literature. We envision a course in which each student alternates which type of reading they do for a given topic. This way, we can use class time to learn cooperatively which considerations are most important for a given debate.
A rough schedule outline:
Week 1: The (over?)use of definite determiners
Week 2: Determiners and maximality
Week 3: Epistemic modals
Week 4: Evidentials
Week 5: Universal quantifiers
Week 6: The mass/count distinction and individualism
Week 7: Adjectives
Week 8: Scale structure
Week 9: Scalar implicature
Week 10: Numbers
We'll expect those enrolled for 4 credits to attend, present and write a paper; we'll expect those enrolled for 2 credits to attend and present. Please let us know if the time of the course is problematic for your schedule; we'll announce the room soon.

Winter 2012

Linguistics 213B, The biological basis of language

Susan Curtiss

213B will focus on topics related to the biological and neurological basis of language. We will try to examine what it means to assert that language is part of our genome and that UG is the biological endowment of every normal human. What do these assertions predict regarding normal and disordered language acquisition? To do this we will concentrate on three topics: 1) the genetics of language, 2) linguistic theoretic accounts of SLI and 3) linguistic-theoretic accounts of acquired aphasia.  If there is time, we will also examine the issue of neural plasticity and its relation to where language resides in the brain. including the effects of pediatric focal lesions and pediatric hemispherectomy on language development.

This quarter I will be offering a proseminar on "Auxiliaries and their kin", the blurb for which is below. Our currently scheduled meeting time is

Mondays 1-4 in Rolfe 3114

If you cannot make the first meeting but would like to attend, please email me with your scheduling constraints. (It is quite possible we can push the time later.)

Syntax-Semantics Proseminar:  Auxiliaries and their kin

Carson Schutze

This quarter I will be offering a proseminar on "Auxiliaries and their kin", the blurb for which is below. Our currently scheduled meeting time is

Mondays 1-4 in Rolfe 3114

If you cannot make the first meeting but would like to attend, please email me with your scheduling constraints. (It is quite possible we can push the time later.)

Given the prominent place of the analysis of the English auxiliary system in Chomsky’s earliest work, there are surprisingly few attempts to treat the same set of facts in a Minimalist framework (and none of them have appeared in journals, to my knowledge). This is probably because the insights captured in the original Affix Hopping approach are tricky to implement using Minimalist machinery. In this proseminar I would like to revisit these and other facts about auxiliaries (in a range of languages) and see whether we can develop insightful analyses in a modern syntactic framework. Among the issues we could explore are the following:

• How should we encode the relationships between auxiliaries and their participles, and the relative ordering restrictions among auxiliaries? (Selection, Agree, PF movement?)

• How should we capture the fact that English finite auxiliaries appear to act positionally like all finite verbs in French? (Should raising across negation be allowed? Is there a base generation alternative?)

• How should we capture the “last resort” nature of dummy do, particularly given that it was used more freely in earlier varieties of English? (Is it a coincidence that do almost exactly mirrors the distribution of modals in English?)

• What is the actual content of be, have and do, and can the same answer be given for all auxiliary and main verb uses? (If be and do are both semantically empty, what makes them different? Can all uses of have be analyzed as be+X, and what exactly is X? Do auxiliary selection phenomena shed any light on these issues? How do we differentiate Sp ser and estar?) Should BrEn do be assimilated to auxiliary do, main verb do, or something else?
?Gillian has made pasta and David is doing. ?I am eating a mango and Gillian has done.

• How can we explain the way auxiliaries interact with VP ellipsis and VP fronting? (Danish has an auxiliary that seems to be limited to these contexts.)
John might have been being criticized, and Fred might (have (been (*being))) as well.
I suspected that John might be being criticized, and by gosh, being criticized he was.
*criticized he was being.
I thought John might eat an apple, and by gosh, eat(??en) an apple he has.
eating/*eat an apple he is.

• Why can auxiliaries be dropped in various circumstances (e.g. colloquial yes/no questions in English, e.g. You going to the party?; ‘have’ following modals in Scandinavian)? Can children’s omission of auxiliaries tell us something interesting?

• In English many auxiliaries can contract. Is this purely a phonological process or does the syntax have to be sensitive to it?
Might’ve/??Might have the President done more about the crisis?
Mike should’ve not been eating cake.


Syntax-Semantics Proseminar:  Raising Effects

Keir Moulton
Winter 2012

The seminar will investigate some ‘peripheral’ raising phenomena, with a particular
eye to the interaction of the semantics of raising predicates and the interpretation of
the raised element. Here’s a taste of some particulars we’ll look at: It’s often reported
that universal quantifiers display an ambiguity with epistemic raising verbs, as in ‘Every
student seems to be sick’. But since the raising verb and the QP are both universal
quantifiers, it’s surprising that such a strong intuition is felt (Fintel and Iatridou 2003).
Instead, we’ll ask whether this ambiguity follows from a subtle interaction between domain
restriction and the evidential component of these raising verbs (one more obvious
in small clauses and copy raising constructions). Similar issues of raising/control in the
modality literature will be relevant. Depending on how things go, we’ll turn our attention
to another funny raising configuration—-covert tough constructions.
We’ll begin by assembling diagnostics, our central ones being scope and connectivity
(reconstruction) effects. The pedagogical component of the course will prepare students
new to the literature on scope and modality at the syntax-semantics interface.

Part A: Background
1. Basics: raising and scope/connectivity
Readings: Sportiche (2005), Iatridou and Sichel (2010), Lasnik (1999)
2. Control/raising questions: Modals
Wurmbrand (1999), TBA (course notes)

Part B: New stuff
1. Raising and evidential effects—small clauses, copy raising
Asudeh and Toivonen (2010), Landau (2009), Potsdam and Runner (2001), Moulton
2. Background: Domain restriction
Kratzer (2009), Schwarz (2011)
3. reconstruction in situation semantics (course notes)
4. Covert raising complements/covert tough constructions
Larson, Den Dikken, and Ludlow (1997), Moulton (2012)


  • Asudeh, Ash, and Ida Toivonen. 2010. Copy raising and perception. Manuscript, Univeristy of Ottawa.
  • Fintel, Kai von, and Sabine Iatridou. 2003. Epistemic containment. Linguistic Inquiry 34:173–198.
  • Iatridou, Sabine, and Ivy Sichel. 2010. Negative DPs, A-Movement, and Scope Diminishment. Ms. MIT.
  • Kratzer, Angelika. 2009.Context and content.Lecture slides, Institut Nicod, Paris.
  • Landau, Idan. 2009.Predication vs. aboutness in copy raising.Downloaded from lingBuzz (lingBuzz/000835).
  • Larson, Richard, Marcel Den Dikken, and Peter Ludlow. 1997.Intensional Transitive Verbs and Abstract Clausal Complementation.Ms. SUNY, and Vrije Universiteit.
  • Lasnik, Howard. 1999.Minimalist analysis.Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Moulton, Keir. 2011.Scope and Evidentiality.Talk given at GLOW 34.
  • Moulton, Keir. 2012.For Small Clauses.In prep.
  • Potsdam, Eric, and Jeffrey T. Runner. 2001. Richard returns: Copy Raising and its implications. In Proceedings of CLS.
  • Schwarz, Florian. 2011.Situation pronouns and nominal domain restriction.Ms, UPenn.
  • Sportiche, Dominique. 2005. Division of labor between merge and move: Stricty locality
  • of selection and apparent reconstruction paradoxes.LingBuzz/000163.
  • Wurmbrand, Susanne. 1999.Modal verbs are raising verbs.In Proceedings of WCCFL XVIII.


Experimental Phonology

Robert Daland

The Experimental Phonology course this winter will be focused on word segmentation. Word segmentation is the perceptual ability of fluent listeners to perceive speech in word-sized units, even when that speech contains unknown words. In recent years, an enormous amount of progress has been made on the segmentation problem as a result of a high degree of multidisciplinary attention to and cooperation on this problem; it is very likely that we will crack this problem within the next decade.
The course will consist of readings and discussion. Readings will focus on computational and experimental approaches to word segmentation. Class time will consist of critical discussion of the readings. The final project will be to design a study using any of the methods we discuss in class.

Please email me if you are interested in taking the course but have not yet signed up for it. The officially scheduled time is MW 2-4, but that can be adjusted based on the needs of attendees.


Formal Pragmatics: MultidimensionalMeaning

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This class is about so-called non-at-issue meaning. Non-at-issue meaning is part of conventional meaning, usually triggered by particular lexical items (unlike conversational implicatures), but in a sense to be made precise, not the main meaning contribution of a sentence (not its assertion). The most prominent example of non-at-issue meaning are conventional implicatures.

In this class we want to do three things:

 study particular analyses of items that have been argued to contribute non-at-issue meaning, and maybe come up with some of our own
 familiarize ourselves with the technical apparatus required to model non-at-issue meaning, in particular Potts' multi-dimensional semantics
(e.g. Potts, 2003)
 take a step back and see if we can nd more general properties of nonat-issue meanings; for example: is discourse-related meaning generally
non-at-issue? Are non-at-issue meanings use-conditional, rather than truth-conditional? Are non-at-issue meanings shiftable, or projective?

Apart from Pott's and others' work on classical conventional implicatures (parentheticals and expressives, among others), I'd like to look at work on ethical datives, sentence mood, and in particular so-called discourse particles, as well as some work in progress of mine on light or `high' negation (based on Buring and Gunlogson, 2000). Some initial references are given below, details will be announced later.


Bach, Kent (1999). \The Myth of Conventional Implicature." Linguisticsand Philosophy 22(4):327{366.
Buring, Daniel and Christine Gunlogson (2000). \Aren't Positive and Negative Polar Questions the Same?" UCSC/UCLA.
Geurts, Bart (2007). \Really Fucking Brilliant." Theoretical Linguistics 33:209214.
Gutzmann, Daniel (2007). \Eine Implikatur konventioneller Art: Der Dativus Ethicus." Linguistische Berichte (211):277{308.
Gutzmann, Daniel (2008). On the interaction between modal particles and sentence mood in German. Master's thesis, Universitat Mainz.
Gutzmann, Daniel (2011). \Expressive Modiers and Mixed Expressives." In Oliver Bonami and Patrizia Cabredo Hofherr, eds., Empirical Issues in
Syntax and Semantics 8 , 123{141.
Horn, Laurence (2007). \Toward a Fregean pragmatics: Voraussetzung, Nebengedanke, Andeutung." In Istvan Kecskes and Laurence Horn, eds.,
Explorations in Pragmatics: Linguistic, Cognitive, and Intercultural Aspects, 39{69. Berlin, New York: Mouton.
Horn, Laurence (2011). \The Landscape of Non-At-Issue Meaning." Talk presented at CRISSP Brussels, December 7, 2011; ms. available at
www.crissp.be/pdf/events/201112 horn3Landscap.pdf.
Kratzer, Angelika (1999). \Beyond Ouch and Oops. How Descriptive and Expressive Meaning Interact." unpubl. ms. UMass Amherst.
Kubota, Yusuke and Wataru Uegaki (2011). \Continuation-based semantics for Conventional Implicatures: The case of Japanese benefactives." In Ed Cormany, Satoshi Ito, and David Lutz, eds., Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 19 , 306{323. eLanguage.
McCready, Eric (2008). \What Man Does." Linguistics and Philosophy 31(6).
McCready, Eric (2010). \Varieties of Conventional Implicature." Semantics & Pragmatics 3:1{57. 2
Potts, Christopher (2003). The Logic of Conventional Implicatures. Ph.D. thesis, UC Santa Cruz.
Potts, Christopher (2007). \The expressive dimension." Theoretical Linguistics .
Potts, Christopher (to appear). \Conventional Implicature and Expressive Content." In Claudia Maienborn, Klaus Von Heusinger, and Paul Portner,
eds., Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.
Potts, Christopher, Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Ash Asudeh, Rajesh Bhatt, Seth Cable, Christopher Davis, Yurie Hara, Angelika Kratzer, Eric McCready,
Tom Roeper, and Martin Walkow (2009). \Expressives and Identity Conditions." Linguistic Inquiry 40(2):356{366.
Wang, Linton, Brian Reese, and Eric McCready (2005). \The Projection Problem of Nominal Appositives." Snippets 10:13{14.
Zimmermann, Malte (to appear). \Discourse Particles." In Paul Portner, Claudia Maienborn, and Klaus Von Heusinger, eds., Handbook of Seman-
tics, Handbucher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.


Fall 2011

Recognition of pronunciation variants:  process, methods and models

Linguistics 251

Megha Sundara

In this course we will discover how listeners recognize pronunciation variants (including phonetically reduced forms) of a word. We will try to answer the following questions (1) what is in the signal; (2) is bottom-up information enough for recognition of pronunciation variants; (3) which candidates are activated during their recognition; (4) what are the implications of these findings for existing models of spoken word recognition, specifically, for the initial, pre-lexical representation of input, and storage in the lexicon. To do so, we will review several psycholinguistic approaches used to investigate speech perception and spoken word recognition.

The class is scheduled to meet on TR 2-4pm.  If you are interested in taking the class, but cannot make the time, please email me.  For this week, we will be meeting on thursday at 2pm, not in BUNCHE, but in the phonetics seminar room - 2101K, in Campbell Hall.

Proseminar description:  The phonology of English

Linguistics 251

Bruce Hayes

Fall 2011

English phonology, oddly, is underresearched. The language was at the center of the research agenda during the period of The Sound Pattern of English, as well as in the 1970’s and 1980’s with the advent of metrical and lexical phonology. Since then, English seems to have receded in importance and is understudied from the viewpoint of modern phonological research methods. The classical analysis were done on paper, without any kind of quantitative checking against corpus data. Moreover, with isolated exceptions the generalizations were not tested for their productivity using native speakers. So it makes sense to return to the study of this language:  we can both reassess what was true in the classical work and perhaps also discover new phenomena.  In addition, I hope that the skills practiced in the course will be useful to phonologists working on any language.  Below are empirical areas and methods to be covered (tentative).

Empirical topics

The system of phonemes and allophones. Dialectal variation and emergent “semiphonemes” (Paul Kiparsky, Timothy Vance); consonant allophones marching in lockstep according to foot structure (Dan Kahn, Lisa Selkirk).

Segmental phonotactics.  Classical work (Bloomfield, Selkirk); searching for new generalizations (Michael Hammond, Hayes/Colin Wilson/James White).

The stress system.  Checking the classical generalizations from SPE and Liberman/Prince, gradient paradigm uniformity (Joe Pater), effects of nonstandard syllable weight (Deborah Nanni, Michael Kelly, Kevin Ryan)

Morphology and the “Level I/Level II” contrast.  Classical work of SPE and Kiparsky, Donca Steriade’s discovery of lexical conservatism in -able adjectives, the relationship of levels to productivity.

Segmental alternations:  Vowel Shift, Trisyllabic Shortening, Velar Softening and their productivity (John Ohala, R. Cena, Janet Pierrehumbert).  The minor alternations in strong verbs (Steven Pinker, Albright/Hayes).

Methods: corpus grooming; checking generalizations with the corpus; experiments to test productivity, particularly using the Mechanical Turk

Students enrolled for 4 units will do readings, a couple exercises, and a paper; students enrolled for 2 units need to do the readings.  Current planned time is TR 9-11.  Feel free to contact me with questions.



Proseminar description:  Auxiliaries and their kin

Linguistics 252

Carson Schutze

Fall 2011

I will be offering Ling 252 this fall, as described below. The class  will meet Thursdays 4-7 in Rolfe 3115.

Auxiliaries and their kin

Given the prominent place of the analysis of the English auxiliary system in Chomsky’s earliest work, there are surprisingly few attempts to treat the same set of facts in a Minimalist framework (and none of them have appeared in journals, to my knowledge). This is probably because the insights captured in the original Affix Hopping approach are tricky to implement under current theoretical assumptions. In this proseminar I would like to revisit these and other facts about auxiliaries (in a range of languages) and see whether we can develop insightful analyses in a modern syntactic framework. Among the issues we could explore are the following:

• How should we encode the relationships between auxiliaries and their participles, and the relative ordering restrictions among auxiliaries? (Selection, Agree, PF movement?)

• How should we capture the fact that English finite auxiliaries appear to act positionally like all finite verbs in French? (Should raising across negation be allowed? Is there a base generation alternative?)

• How should we capture the “last resort” nature of dummy do, particularly given that it was used more freely in earlier varieties of English? (Is it a coincidence that do almost exactly mirrors the distribution of modals in English?)

• What is the actual content of be, have and do, and can the same answer be given for auxiliary and main verb uses? (If be and do are both semantically empty, what makes them different? Can all uses of have be analyzed as be+X, and what exactly is X? Do auxiliary selection phenomena shed any light on these issues?)

• How can we explain the way auxiliaries interact with VP ellipsis and VP fronting? (E.g., why can being not be stranded?)

• Why can auxiliaries be dropped in various circumstances (e.g. colloquial yes/no questions in English, ‘have’ following modals in Scandinavian)? Can children’s omission of auxiliaries tell us something interesting?


Spring 2011

LING 251: Bayesian and information-theoretic approaches in linguistics

Robert Daland

The first part of the class will be devoted to covering fundamentals of information theory and Bayesian modeling, such as:
-- What is a probability distribution?
-- How do you measure the entropy of a probability distribution?
-- What is Bayes' Theorem?
-- How does Bayes' Theorem provide a good tool for studying computational models of cognition and/or acquisition?
-- What is a prior? What does a prior do?
-- What is a Bayesian model?

The second portion of the class will involve readings of Bayesian models and/or information-theoretically-motivated approaches to language acquisition and/or processing. Readings may span all areas of linguistic theory, according to student interest.
Possible topics include:

-- Online reference resolution (Tenenbaum and others)
-- Semantics of counterfactuals and conditionals (Kaufmann)
-- Acquisition of 'one' (Lidz and colleagues vs. Regier and colleagues)
-- Morphology induction (Goldsmith)
-- Paradigmatic gaps (Daland, Sims, & Pierrehumbert)
-- Lexical access (Norris, Cutler, & McQueen)
-- Word segmentation (Goldwater, Griffiths, & Johnson)

Meeting time and location negotiable.

207: Dynamic theories Jessica Rett

Static theories of semantics are those which view the semantic contribution of a sentence as propositional or truth-conditional. Dynamic theories of semantics focus on the role of sentences in a larger discourse and analyze the meaning of sentences in terms of their ability to effect a context (Context Change Potential). This theoretical shift occurred in the early 1980s in independent work by Hans Kamp, Irene Heim and Pieter Seuren. This early work focused on linguistic phenomena whose semantics seemed to rely in part on the wider discourse and on a distinction between new and old information, e.g. the resolution of indefinites and cross-sentential anaphora. The theories that came out of this work, Discourse Representation Theory (DRT), File Change Semantics, Dynamic Predicate Logic (DPL) and others, have since been extended to phenomena like modality, presupposition, donkey anaphora, tense anaphora, questions, conditionals, reflexives and reciprocals.

We'll begin with a fairly rigorous study of Montague's famous article "The Proper Treatment of Quantification in Ordinary English (PTQ)" (attached) to give us a formal lingua franca. We'll then study some classical motivations for dynamic theories and then look at some standard implementations of DRT and DPL before turning to some more recent empirical applications of these theories. Enrolled students will be expected to complete a few weekly homework assignments (exact number TBA) and a short term paper. I will be soliciting help in presenting some of the papers but this sort of participation will be voluntary. A preliminary syllabus is attached.

Ling 213C Language processing  Carson Schutze

This quarter I'm teaching Ling 213C, "Linguistic processing". The overview blurb is below, the full syllabus is attached. The class meets Tue/Thur 9-11am. The first class’s readings will be posted to the course web page shortly—let me know if you don’t have access.

The study of language processing focuses on the ways in which people comprehend and produce language in real time: how they map from an acoustic signal to the (presumed) meaning of what they heard, and how they map from a message they wish to convey to the articulatory gestures required to express that message in speech. This course focuses on the “higher” levels of processing, i.e. combining perceived morphemes into word structures and words into syntactic structures for interpretation, and planning syntactic structures and the word structures and morphemes that realize them for expression. (We will talk a little bit about the realization of morphemes in terms of phonemes and prosodic structure too.)

The course has two primary goals. One is to familiarize you with current thinking about how language processing works, focusing on the major influential models and the data that they seek to account for. The other goal is to critically examine some of the current “hot topics” and “hot methods” that have received a lot of attention recently, and allow you to arrive at informed opinions about what’s at stake.

LING 237: Lingusitcs methods lab

Megha Sundara

Hi Graduate & Undergraduate students,
I am going to be teaching "LING 237: Lingusitcs methods lab" starting monday.
The purpose of the course is to help you design an experiment that is ready to run at the end of the spring quarter.  This experiment can be in any area of linguistics.
This year, we will also be welcoming undergraduate students who have taken Language Acquisition with Nina or LING 104 with Pat or Sun-An, in the course.
If you want to get a feel for the course, you can show up at the phonetics lab conference room (suite 2101, Campbell Hall) between 2 and 4 on monday.  At that time we can decide if the time works for everybody, or we need to re-schedule.
If you would really time to take the class, but cannot make it at 2pm on monday (28th), just send me an email with times that will work for you.

252: Ergativity Masha Polinsky & Anoop Mahajan

252: Evidentiality Jessica Rett
"In about a quarter of the world's languages, every statement must specify the type of source on which it is based -- for example, whether the speaker saw it, or heard it, or inferred it from indirect evidence, or learnt it from someone else. This grammatical category, whose primary meaning is information source, is called `evidentiality'." (Aikhenvald 2004:1).

In this course, we'll look at evidentiality across languages and across semantic theories. The semantic content of evidentials has been likened to that of modals (especially in German, Salish and Japanese), tense (especially in Korean) and aspect (especially in Turkish). The pragmatic content of evidentials has been likened to parentheticals (especially in Cuzco Quechua and Kalaallisut) and more indirectly to questions (in Cheyenne). Because evidentiality strategies and the particular ways in which they contribute evidentiality vary so much across languages, the study of evidentials is a great starting point for students interested in exploring the semantics/pragmatics empirical and theoretical boundary, including theories of illocutionary mood.

Those of you taking the course for full credit will be asked to write a paper focusing on an evidentiality-marking language not discussed in class (I have a full bibliography of plenty of such languages and language families). I've attached a preliminary syllabus and a fun typological article (by Speas) that we'll review on the first day of class.


General remarks
What constitutes the knowledge of a language? This question has been at the core of linguistic
theorizing for the last forty years. The main emphasis over these years has been on delineating
particular linguistic phenomena in terms of primary data (linguistic description) and accounting
for these phenomena in a principled manner (theory construction). The data for such theory
construction were mainly drawn from introspection by trained linguists or informal elicitations
from native speakers of various languages.
In the last 10-15 years, as linguistics has gotten closer to cognitive science, new experimental
approaches to language has become increasingly available; the results of experimental studies of
language phenomena provide new valuable information which can be used in theory
construction. At the same time, researchers have started paying more attention to linguistic
populations that somehow deviate from the Platonic golden standard of what a language should
be; such populations have included people with speech disorders, brain injury, or special
language impairment. In the work with those populations, linguists have tried to identify what
aspects of language structure are robust and what can be more subject to change. Recently,
another special population has come to the attention of theoretical and experimental linguists:
heritage speakers.
Course Description
This course is about heritage languages and their speakers—individuals who are raised speaking
a minority language at home but are exposed to a dominant, majority language outside the home.
This dominant language becomes their main language in adolescence and adulthood. The
minority language, despite being first in the order of acquisition, is not learned in full; this
incompletely acquired language is referred to as heritage language. About one third of all
American college students come from homes where a language other than English is spoken, and
in the last 15-20 years, there has been a growing interest on part of young adults in re-learning
their heritage language during college years or after that.
The study of heritage languages provide researchers with a novel tool for understanding how a
grammar can be acquired under minimal input: what constitutes bare grammar, what constitutes
sufficient if minimal input, and what are the areas of strength and vulnerability in language?
We will examine heritage languages from three main perspectives:
1. SOCIO-CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE: What cultural and social factors give rise to the
phenomenon of heritage language? How does being a heritage language speaker
compare to being bilingual or multilingual? What is the connection between the rise
of heritage languages and language death? How can a heritage language be
Page 2 of 2
2. LINGUISTIC PERSPECTIVE: How do the linguistic properties of heritage languages
differ from the linguistic properties of their fully acquired counterparts? What do
these differences tell us about the universal principles of language structure, the
relationship between language and thought (linguistic relativity), and the nature of
language acquisition?
3. PRACTICAL PERSPECTIVE: What is the role of schooling in producing fully competent
speakers? Can heritage language speakers improve their skills through language
instruction, and when is the best time to start? What are the pedagogical and cultural
challenges of teaching heritage languages, and what strategies can be used to
overcome these challenges?



Winter 2011

Kie Zuraw, Lexical access and the phonology of morphologically complex words (Linguistics 251A/B)

Research on the phonology of morphologically complex words often appeals, implicitly or explicitly, to lexical storage and access. A simple example is the diachronic change of a compound into a simple lexeme, as in English 'cupboard', whose phonology is incompatible with a compound of 'cup' and 'board'. A more extensive case is Hay's (2003) hypothesis that whole words and their sub-parts race for lexical access, with resting activation determining the winner.  (For example, Hay finds more t-deletion in words like 'swiftly', which is more frequent than 'swift', than in words like 'daftly', which is less frequent than 'daft'; she interprets the difference as a difference in lexical access whereby 'swiftly' is accessed as a single unit and 'daftly' as a combination of 'daft' and 'ly'.)

This proseminar will review the psycholinguistic literature on lexical access of morphologically complex words. For example, under what circumstances does a complex word prime its base or vice-versa? Do instances of the same affix prime each other?

One goal is to get a sense of what is an a priori plausible claim about lexical access in a particular case, given the findings that already exist for similar cases. Another goal is to gain familiarity with the methods in use, and their pros and cons, so that we'll know how feasible it is to undertake our own psycholinguistic investigations where necessary. And a third goal is to gain an overall picture of models of lexical access, in both comprehension and production, to see where in those models there might be communication with a phonological grammar.

Students taking the course for 2 units will present papers (how many papers per student depends on the size of the class).

Students taking the course for 4 units will present papers and complete and individual or small-group final project. Possibilities include but are not limited to implementing a model from the literature, designing an experiment, or using existing experimental findings to explain a set of phonological data.

Maziar Toosarvandani: "Ellipsis in crosslinguistic perspective" Linguistics 252

Ellipsis comprises three phenomena---verb phrase ellipsis, sluicing, and NP-ellipsis---which, traditionally, were thought to be somewhat unique to English. In the past decade, however, an efflorescence of research has shown that many other languages have constructions that bear various degrees of resemblance to ellipsis in English. In some cases, the resemblance is merely a superficial one. Hungarian, Japanese, Malagasy, and Persian, for instance, have constructions that parallel English sluicing in their form, though they have different underlying structures. While, in other cases, the resemblance to English is at a deeper analytical level. For example, Hebrew, Irish, Persian, Spanish, and Swahili have all been argued to have a type of verb phrase ellipsis in which the tense-inflected verb itself does not go missing.

Why do we think that "verb phrase ellipsis" in English is the same as "verb phrase ellipsis" in Hebrew? Why do we compare "sluicing" in English to "sluicing" in Malagasy? What, in other words, are the crosslinguistic categories (or comparative concepts in Haspelmath's (2010) terminology) that syntacticians use to compare an elliptical construction in one language to an elliptical construction in another language? These criteria often are not explicitly articulated, and for different types of ellipsis they seem to yield similarities between languages at different levels of abstraction. "Verb phrase ellipsis" in English and "verb phrase ellipsis" in Hebrew only have an analytical resemblance (they look very little alike on the surface), while English "sluicing" and Malagasy "sluicing" only bear a superficial resemblance to one another (they have distinct analytical sources). Nonetheless, these crosslinguistic comparisons form the empirical foundation of the current theory of ellipsis.

In this proseminar, we will examine purported verb phrase ellipsis and sluicing constructions both in English and in several other languages. (We have to leave NP-ellipsis aside since it is not nearly as well understood.) We will seek to understand how researchers have studied elliptical constructions in English, and how they have extended these results to the study of elliptical constructions in other languages. We will try to answer questions like the following: What is ellipsis in English, and how is it different from other types of null anaphora? What are the properties of verb phrase ellipsis and sluicing in English? What is the grammatical mechanism (or mechanisms?) that elides verb phrases regardless of whether or not they contain the verb? What is the grammatical mechanism that elides TPs only in constituent questions? Even if we are not able to answer all of these questions, by asking them, we will at least bring to light new facts about ellipsis in individual languages, which will ultimately inform our more general theory of ellipsis.

The proseminar will consist of weekly readings (averaging 2-3 articles or book chapters), with discussion led alternately by the students and the instructor. A very tentative schedule and list of readings follows.

Week Topic Readings
1 Introduction Hankamer and Sag 1976
2 Identity in ellipsis Merchant 2001:Chapter 1, Chung 2006
3 Verb phrase ellipsis Lobeck 1995:Chapters 1-2, Johnson 2001 (English)
4 Verb phrase ellipsis and verb raising Goldberg 2005:Chapters 1-5 (Hebrew, Irish, and Swahili)
5 Verb phrase ellipsis and light verbs Folli et al. 2005, Toosarvandani 2009 (Persian)
6 Verb phrase ellipsis and negation Potsdam 1997, López 1999, Vicente 2006 (English and Spanish)
7 Sluicing Chung et al. 1995, Merchant 2001:Chapters 2-3 (English)
8 Sluicing, islands, and "pseudosluicing" Merchant 1998, Merchant 2001:Chapter 4, Takahashi 2004 (English and Japanese)
9 Sluicing and clefts Potsdam 2007, Paul and Potsdam Ms. (Malagasy)
10 Sluicing and focus van Craenenbroeck and Lipták 2006, Toosarvandani 2008 (Hungarian and Persian)

Fall 2010

Robert Daland: Experimental Phonology (Linguistics 217)

Dear grad students and other interested parties,

This fall I am teaching Experimental Phonology (LING 217). The primary goal of this course is to give you experience with the experimental process in phonology, by doing one or more phonology experiments. Specifically, we will create a large set of nonwords and norm them on a variety of experimental tasks, including nonword acceptability, nonword recall, nonword production, and lexical decision. The secondary goal is to make these nonword results publicly available in a web-enabled database, so that other language researchers may draw upon them for their own research needs.



Carson Schuetze: Fall 2010 Syntax Proseminar (Ling 252A/B): How and Why Subject Position Gets Filled

The title of the proseminar indicates its central concern. We will approach this question by looking at two classes of non-canonical ways in which the surface subject position of a clause (a notion we’ll define) gets filled:
1) Expletive subjects
2) “Surprising” contentful subjects, e.g. apparent cases of lower arguments leapfrogging
higher ones; apparent non-arguments behaving as subjects; non-DP subjects.
We will quickly see that three common ways of answering the question under Minimalism (i.e., What is the EPP requirement?) cannot be maintained:
a) a D-feature checking requirement in narrow syntax;
b) a requirement that the Case of Tense must be assigned/checked;
c) a PF requirement for pronounced material to appear in a particular position.
The question we will strive to answer is what the true nature of the EPP requirement is, and whether it must be treated as parametrically optional across languages.

The specific topics to be covered will be guided by the interests of the participants.
The prosem can be taken for 2 or 4 units, the latter requiring a paper.
It will almost certainly meet for a 3-hour block sometime on Tuesdays, exact time TBD. The first meeting, however, will be consistent with the official class schedule, viz.
Tuesday, September 28, 11am-1pm, Rolfe 3112
If you wish to attend the prosem but cannot attend this first meeting, please email me beforehand.

Below are some ideas for issues that could fall under areas (1) and (2) above; feel free to suggest others, either before or at the first meeting.

1) Expletives:
• At what point in the derivation or position in the structure are expletives generated? Is the answer different for different expletives (e.g. it vs. there; ‘expletive topics’ in Germanic) or for different uses of the same expletive (e.g. existential vs. presentational there)? If expletives move, do they move just like contentful expressions? Are they of varying syntactic categories? Are there such things as null expletives, or is the very notion “an abomination,” as Jane Grimshaw once said?

• What explains restrictions on the distribution of expletives across clause types, e.g. the fact that it and there are possible in ACC-ing but not (usually) POSS-ing gerunds in English?

• What’s the right analysis of quasi-expletives like “weather it”? Which expletives are genuine tests for a nonthematic subject position, e.g. raising vs. control?

• Why DON’T we get expletives in certain finite clauses where nothing overt seems to have ever occupied subject position (e.g. As (*it) has been shown, …)

• Why DON’T we always need expletives when subject position is traversed by something that cannot surface there, e.g. PPs/CPs ([That the Dems won] (*it) surprised nobody), wh-phrases with certain quasi ECM verbs (Who(m) do you allege to be the killer? vs. *I allege Stanley to be the killer); but sometimes we do, e.g. with right-extraposed clausal subjects?

2) Noncanonical meaningful subjects:
• Why/how is it ever possible to have two options for which what can become the subject, e.g. in Locative Inversion, Predicate Inversion, some applicatives…?

• Why can a theme become the subject over an experiencer in preoccupare-type psych verbs in e.g. Italian?

• Why can a downstairs subject raise across an experiencer of seem/appear/strike freely in English but only in limited circumstances in many other languages? Is it a coincidence that these are the raising predicates whose clausal complements cannot become subjects?

• Why/how can “oblique” arguments or even adjuncts be subjects of active predicates when the external argument is unexpressed and the canonical patient is overt (i), why does the associated preposition disappear, and why in the passive do the apparently same sentences require the patient and not the oblique to become the subject (ii), and require the preposition to surface?

(i) a. 1938 saw/found the world on the brink of war.


a.’ *The world found on the brink… in 1938
b. This car seats 5 adults.
b.’ *5 adults seat (in) this car
c. $100,000 won’t buy (you) a house in L.A.
c.’ *A house won’t buy (with) $100K in L.A.

(ii) a. The world was seen on the brink of war in 1938.
a.’ *1938 was seen on the brink... by the world
b. 5 adults were seated in the car.
b.’ *The car was seated with/by 5 adults.
c. A house won’t be bought for $100K in this area.
c.’ *$100K won’t be bought P a house…

• If we have some hypothesis about what passive does crosslinguistically (e.g. prevents the highest argument from being expressed as a subject), can we derive the crosslinguistic differences in what CAN be a subject in passives from independent properties (e.g. expletives, quirky-case-marked DPs, one or both internal arguments of a ditransitive, etc.), as Kiparsky has recently claimed?

• Does the solution to any of the above require “smuggling” à la Collins?


Spring 2010

Linguistics 251: Intonation-driven prosodic typology

Sun-Ah Jun

Monday/Wednesday 11-1, Rolfe 3120

In this proseminar, we will examine intonational phonology or intonation models of various languages and try to build a prosodic typology. The parameters to examine are: types of prominence marking, types of tones and realizations, types of prosodic units, and types of notations to mark prominence and phrasing.

Syllabus will be provided at the first meeting.

Linguistics 251: Vowel harmony

Bruce Hayes

Tuesday/Thursday 2-4 in Rolfe 3118

Quite a bit of recent literature in phonology has addressed the problem of vowel harmony. I’d like to go through this literature and ponder the issues. The course will cover typology, formal theory, phonetics, and psycholinguistic work.

1) Typology

What harmony systems are out there and how can we compile this information systematically? Work of Kaun, L. Anderson.

2) Theory

Finding a formal phonological theory that matches the typology has proven difficult. Particularly hard issues include the following

a) How should theory deal with transparent vowels, those which are “skipped over” by harmony? The problem is made harder by the discovery (in Finnish and Hungarian) of “translucent” vowels, which only permit the harmonizing feature to skip over them in a subset of words. Work of Ringen, Hayes, Zuraw, Londe, Siptár.

b) How to get the appropriate kinds of directionality? Languages demonstrate stem control, dominant-feature-value control, left-to-right harmony, and right-to-left harmony; it’s hard to get just these without others as well. Work of Clements, Lombardi, Bakovi, McCarthy, Jenn Fischer.

c) The notorious Vowel Harmony Monsters—impossible harmony systems predicted by classical OT (e.g. majority rule, long-distance blocking). How to avoid them? Work of Lombardi, Wilson, Finley, Bakovi.

3) Phonetics

Evidence that neutral segments are really undergoers at the allophonic level (Benus and Gafos on Hungarian, Gick et al. on Kinande, Walker et al. on Kinyarwanda). To what extent can this fact be used to simplify the phonological analysis?

4) Psycholinguistic study

Are certain vowel harmony systems preferred under UG? Sara Finley’s program of artificial language experiments.

Linguistics 252, “The Semantics of Sums & Scales”

Jessica Rett

Tuesdays, 10:00–1:00, Rolfe 2123

The goal of this seminar is to examine the semantic properties of various domains (individuals, degrees, events) and the empirical consequences of these properties. Plural (non-atomic) individuals are thought to form mereological sums of singular (atomic) individuals, forming a (complete) join-semilattice (Link 1983). The domain of degrees, on the other hand, seem to be linearly ordered into scales via a greater-than relation.

Events have been explicitly compared to both individuals and degrees. Like individuals, they can be pluralized (Lasersohn 1995), and an event of turning a page can be thought of as part of a larger reading-a-book event. Like degrees, events can be ordered linearly, if only via a homormorphism to times (Krifka 1989). We thus expect to find events behaving like individuals in some respects, and degrees in other respects. We'll look at how and why for phenomena like pluractionality (plural events), degree achievement predicates (like lengthen and cool), and more.

The course website is here; I have attached a tentative syllabus.

Winter 2010

Mini Course: Benjamin Spector

Scalar Implicatures, Alternative Semantics and Grammar

Schedule: From Feb 8th to Feb 17th (included) MWFMW 2-4pm (Friday 12th in lieu of the S&S seminar)
Location: in the conference room (and not where 252 is scheduled)

Description: This course will focus on current debates about the nature of Scalar Implicatures (SIs), in relation to the theory of alternatives and focus. We will start with a systematic introduction to the classical view of SIs, which view them as pragmatic inferences. Then we will present some recent arguments for an alternative view, according to which SIs are a grammatical phenonenon that can be connected to another well-known grammatical phenomenon, namely association with focus. We will develop such a 'grammatical approach' to SIs and will compare the two types of approaches (pragmatic vs. grammatical) in light of various challenges that have recently been presented."

Benjamin Spector will also give a general colloquium on Friday Feb 12th 11am.

Mini Course: Sharon Peperkamp

Neurological and psychological evidence for phonology

Schedule: from Feb 22nd to March 4th included MTMTR 4-6pm ( M's and T's in lieu of the phonetics and phonology seminars).
Location: Conference Room

Course Level: Intermediate (introductory phonology required, background in neuro- or psycholinguistics welcome but not required)

This course offers an overview of recent work in neuro- and psycholinguistics concerning phonological processing and acquisition. It particularly focuses on attempts at providing neurological and/or psychological evidence for phonological concepts and theories.

It is aimed both at students in theoretical linguistics who are curious to learn about the neurological and psychological plausibility of phonological theory and at students who do or want to do experimental work addressing these topics themselves.

Sharon Peperkamp will also give a general colloquium on March 5th 11am.

Linguistics 252

Peter Hallman

"VP Structure"

In this seminar, we descend fearlessly into the dark and murky depths of VP, where we will study the likes of such exotic and mysterious creatures as those below, with the aim of identifying generalizations about what's down there (and what isn't) and why.

Little-v and its progeny

Lexical and transformational passives

Object case alternations and their relation to aspect The 'aspect monotonicity hypothesis'


Morphological and semantic incorporation Object quantifiers and the interpretational problems they pose Traces and their interpretation

Readings by Embick, Kratzer, Wasow, Grimshaw, myself and others.

Participants must provide own flashlight.

This class is scheduled to take place at an unusual time and location.

Instead, we will have an organizational meeting on Monday, January 4, at 2:00 p.m., in the linguistics department conference room, and discuss then what the best meeting time will be (pending availability of a permanent room for that time).



Fall 2009

Ling 218: Mathematical Structures in Language


Fall quarter, 2009

MW 11:00 – 1:00

Rolfe 3123

TA: Thomas Graf

Section: Friday 11:00 – 12:00

3127 Rolfe

Course Goal

The purpose of the course is to learn to formulate and investigate linguistic phenomena

mathematically. The course serves as a prerequisite for our Computational Linguistics courses

and for students specializing in the Syntax-Semantics area.

Course Content

This course is introductory; no specific knowledge of mathematics is required though some

mathematical exposure is helpful to get used to mathematical thinking. Grades are based on

homework, class participation, and two take-home exams (which are really just review

homework). No paper is required. There is a text, Mathematical Structures in Language by E.L.

Keenan and L.S. Moss, available in the textbook section (A237) of Ackerman Union.

Topics covered by week

1. Defining recursive structures in natural languages

2. Math background: elementary use of sets, functions, and relations.

3. Syntax I: Trees and Order Relations

4. Syntax II: Generative Grammar: Design for a Language

5. Syntax III: Linguistic Invariants (with a dash of elementary group theory)

6. Semantics I: Composition Interpretation; Sentential Logic

7. Semantics II: Coordination, Negation and Boolean Lattices

8. Semantic III: Logic and Variable Binding Operators

9. Semantics IV: Monotonicity Properties and Semantic Generalizations

10. Semantics V: Types of Natural Language Quantifiers

Lx 251: Acquisition of function elements

Co-instructors: Nina Hyams & Megha Sundara

Meeting time: Th 1-4

We will have an organizational meeting on Thursday at 1:00 in the Linguistics Conference Room. (Note room change from on-line schedule.) We will try to find a time for subsequent meetings that is convenient for everyone (or almost everybody).


In this proseminar we will discuss how the production and perception / comprehension of function elements like determiners, noun and verb inflections, etc., develops cross-linguistically. Further, we will situate this in the context of (a) syntactic and phonological theories (b) cognitive development and (c) language input. To do so, we will read primary sources on experimental work with infants and children as well as naturalistic production studies.

Reading lists will be provided at the first meeting.

Ling 254: Linguistic Symmetries

Instructors: Ed Keenan/Ed Stabler

Meeting: Fall quarter 2009, once a week, three hours. Time TBA


1. Reading: Reworked forms of our ESSLLI Lectures will be handed out to get you

started and to review the basic approach. It is assumed that you are familiar with

defining functions and relations and proving basic properties about them. We will

suggest some readings on symmetries in other branches of science.

2. Students will give short presentations of mini-grammars they have formulated for one

or another purpose.

3. Possibly we’ll put together a UCLA Working Papers featuring a general introduction

and various mini-grammars.

Content: The seminar builds on our ESSLLI 09 lectures in Bordeaux. The focus will be on using semantically interpreted grammar fragments to explore various notions of structure and grammar comparison. In particular, a standard notion of invariance defines a notion of structure that is slightly more abstract than the usual, but which corresponds in key empirical respects. The first few meetings will introduce some elementary group theory, the language of symmetries.

Here are some of the phenomena we would like to model (new ones will likely arise during the course of the seminar, and likely not all those below will be covered):

1. A mini-grammar illustrating subject-verb agreement in number.

Can Ss built from singular verbs be isomorphic to ones built from plural verbs?

We review gender agreement in mini-Spanish DPs from Bare Grammar. Linguistic

symmetries may be represented by the variable (non-stable) automorphisms.

2. A mini-grammar illustrating allomorphy

Example: Korean case suffixes are -i/-ka, ul/lul for nom. and acc. respectively according as the noun suffixed is consonant or vowel final

3. A mini-grammar illustrating conjugation classes. Can we define the notion paradigm in Bare

Grammar terms? A moral: grammatical morphemes should be defined as those fixed by all stable (rigid) automorphisms.

4. A mini-grammar with active verbs isomorphic to passive ones. What linguistic phenomena

can break this symmetry? The distribution of reflexives? Coordination? (Symmetry

breaking is a major topic in the more general literature on symmetries in physical science).

5 .A mini-grammar modeling verb second: aux/modals in second position, past

participle/infinitive clause finally. All arguments follow Aux when an adverb is clause initial.

6. A mini-grammar for L with main clause SVO, complement clauses SOV.

7. K&S claim that the set of anaphors (in the Binding Theory sense, defined by them

semantically in language independent terms) is universally invariant. Make up a mini-

grammar where this fails (There must be such if our claim is to be empirically significant).

8. Analogous to K&S=s semantic definition of anaphor, (try to) define the Anaphor-Antecedent

relation in language independent terms. Here is one idea: antecedents of an anaphor y

would be constituents of the Aleast@ constituent containing y that is not itself anaphoric.

9. Exhibit two (non-trivial) mini-grammars that are isomorphic but are word order mirror

images. Is there any mathematically definable sense in which head final and head initial Gs are more uiniform than SVO grammars?

10. How can we say mathematically that two expressions have different distributions but the

same internal structure? (X-bar theory would like to do this).

11. Test in English (or some other well understood language) that isomorphic expressions

(= there is an automorphism mapping one to the other) are theta equivalent (= there is a

theta role preserving bijection from the constituents of one to those of the other).

12. Can you exhibit anything like a natural case where two rule sets would generate the same

categorized strings up to some complexity level (Lexn) but start to differ thereafter? That

would suggest a model for how the learner uses new data to choose between extensionally equivalent grammars.

13. Structural Continuity: Can you exhibit a rule set in which for some n > 0, Aut½Lexn =

(Aut½Lexn+1)½Lexn but is not equal to (Aut½Lexn+2)½Lexn, that is, the structure maps for

Lexn are the same as those for Lexn+1 restricted to Lexn but new structure types get

introduced at the Lexn+2 level. Do we expect human grammars to allow this? Does the

(weak or strong) Foundation axiom rule this out?

14. Exhibit some interesting cases where two grammars are different but their automorphism groups are

isomorphic B maybe even the same, so the set of categorized expressions would be the same but

generated differently. This would show that extension does not determine intension.

15. Exhibit two grammars for a simple language with relative clauses (semantically interpreted

the same) such that in one, the RCs are derived by movement and the other they are not.

Can you think of additional data which would push for one analysis over other? Does the

use of movement rules simplify the grammar (as naively judged)?

16. A general issue: How can we define “sameness of category” for different expressions in

different languages?

17. Comparing linguistic algebras (grammars) to standard algebras: Partiality is crucial in the

linguistic case, constituency relations (including sister of and c-command) are of great importance in the linguistic case, largely trivial in the case of classical algebras; the same structure as relation is usually a congruence in the classical case, not in the linguistic cases.

Spring 2009

Linguistics 207: Semantics II

Daniel Buring

This spring i'll be teaching semantics ii (207), in its intensional version. The class will start with a general introduction to intensional/modal phenomena such as sentence embedding verbs, modal auxiliaries, conditionals, and tense. In the second half i am planning to discuss recent work (and open questions hopefully leading to new work) on free choice permission (Nathan Kleindinst's recent UCLA dissertation), work on `at least' and `at most' under modals (by Geurts, Nouwen, and myself), and work on the interaction of tense, aspect and verbal mood (Bhatt's and Hacquard's work on actuality implicatures, Ippolito on temporally mismatched conditionals).

I will use Paul Portner's recent book `Modality' (OUP), as well as Heim/vonFintel's lecture notes (available for download at http://kaivonfintel.org/teaching/ ) as texts.

This class has practically no overlap with last year's `syntax & semantics' version, and can be taken for credit again. Students specializing in semantics are encouraged to take both versions of 207 at some point.

Class meets Th 2-5pm in PUB AFF 1256. All are welcome.

Ling 253a. Topics in Language Variation

Ed Stabler

(tentatively R9-11, Rolfe 3123)

On mathematical models of language variation and change, designed to complement the already scheduled classes:

Ling 202. Language change (Melchert, MW2-4)

Ling 212. Learnability (Stabler, MW9-11).

There is quite a lot of recent work on models of language variation, assessments of language similarity, quantitative arguments for phylogeny, and models of how language changes in a population as a function of learning biases, population structure, and other factors.

Partha Niyogi's book "The Computational Nature of Language Learning and Evolution" examines foundational issues and presents some example studies of population effects. Biologist Martin Nowak presents a slightly different perspective in his recent book, emphasizing rational, communicative consequences of language structure, as computational linguists like Jaeger and others have also done. There are a number of recent, good assessments of quantitative methods in historical and comparative linguistics, and some interesting particular proposals that rely on some of those methods. The class will select from this recent literature according to participant interests.

Though the idea of the class is to explore mathematical perspectives on language variation in a way that could be useful to Ling 202 and 212 participants, the course is open to everyone. If interests and backgrounds are quite various, as I am expecting, this should make the discussions all the more lively.

The class is now on the registrar's list! But since this class is being added so late, we may need to adjust the meeting time, to fit as many schedules as possible. If you would like to participate but cannot make the scheduled time of the first meeting (Thursday 9-11) send me a note with your time constraints and I'll get back to you.

Linguistics 251: Processes in Phonology

Aaron Kaplan

This proseminar will probe the status of processes in phonology: Do we need a theory that can directly regulate how processes apply? We will approach this question by investigating two ways in which researchers have often granted rule-based theories the power to regulate processes:

Iterativity and optionality. OT rejects processes as formal entities and therefore cannot require a process to apply noniteratively, and Vaux

(2008) argues that OT cannot account for the full range of optional phenomena. We'll examine several (purported) examples of noniterativity (vowel harmony in Lango, Chamorro umlaut, and tone spread/shift) and optionality (Chamorro umlaut again, French schwa deletion) and ask whether a theory must formalize processes to adequately account for them.

Phil 287 Spring Quarter 2009

Theories of Truth and Semantic Paradoxes.

Terry Parsons

This is a graduate seminar on the topic of semantic paradoxes and theories of truth -- especially their interaction. Early in the quarter we will work carefully through Alfred Tarski (1933): "The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages" and Saul Kripke (1975) "Outline of a Theory of Truth." Additional reading will depend on interests of the participants, and will likely include Tyler Burge (1979) "Semantic Paradox," Anil Gupta (1979) "Truth and Paradox," Charles Parsons (1974) "The Liar Paradox," Steve Yablo (1992) "Paradox without Self-reference." Some medieval "solutions" of semantic paradoxes will be touched on in lectures. We will also look at some more recent work, such as Gupta's criticisms (forthcoming) of Tim Maudlin (2004) Truth and Paradox, Graham Priest's (1997) criticism of Yablo (1992), and perhaps work on inconsistent but paraconsistent solutions in several of Priest's books.

Enrolled students will be expected to make a presentation sometime during the quarter, and write a term paper.

Winter 2009

Linguistics 251A/B

Large-scale acoustic phonetic analysis in studies of linguistic voice quality

Patricia Keating

In my current NSF project on linguistic voice quality, we are recording extensive amounts of speech from many speakers of several languages, yielding original audio and physiological data on a scale that is new to me. One aspect of the project is to develop and compare novel acoustic measures of voice quality, meaning that the recordings are likely to be analyzed many times, which again is a scale of analysis that is new to me. In addition, the project is committed to providing the larger research community with voice analysis tools that ideally are easy for non-specialists to use.

Jonathan Harrington's book Phonetic analysis of speech corpora, which will be published in summer 2009, lays out in a workbook format methods for querying and analyzing annotated speech databases. I propose to work through this ms., applying it to voice quality measurements and corpora. Along the way we will see what we can discover about the linguistic use of voice quality. Thus the pro-seminar is intended both for students interested specifically in voice quality research, and for students interested in learning general methods for large-scale acoustic phonetic analysis.

The pro-seminar is scheduled to meet MW 2-4. 251A= 4 units; 251B = 2 units. Prerequisite: Linguistics 104/204 or equivalent.

Linguistics 252: The Syntax-SpellOut Interface

Carson Schütze

We will hopefully meet for one 3-hour block per week, at a mutually convenient time to be determined by the participants. The course may be taken for 2 or 4 units.

If you think you may want to attend, please drop me an email to that effect.

This proseminar will address issues in what one may call the Syntax-SpellOut interface, by which I mean the processes and representations that connect the “Narrow Syntax” (in Chomsky’s sense) with “The Phonology”. Numerous disparate grammatical phenomena are supposed to be handled in this vast untamed hinterland, but models of how they fit together are extremely rare if they exist at all. Interestingly, though, this in-between region has received considerable attention in the language production literature, which almost universally assumes that the lexical/morphological/phonological content of a sentence is inserted into an independently constructed syntactic frame. One aim of the class will be to explore whether the production literature can contribute to our understanding of the theoretical issues.

To the extent that I will bring any theoretical framework to the table, it will be that of Distributed Morphology (DM; Halle & Marantz 1993 etc.), because it’s the only theory of SpellOut I know anything about. (I welcome discussion of alternatives.) Interestingly, there is some psycholinguistic work proposing that DM can be used virtually off the shelf as a production model that makes surprisingly intricate (and correct) predictions about speech error patterns.

In supplying a list of potential topics below, I should stress that its only purpose at this stage is to spark people’s imagination. I am not committed to including any of these in the class, and I would be thrilled to receive suggestions (also for things to read) from others; we will talk about whatever is of greatest interest to the participants.

• What used to be syntax is now SpellOut: In recent years Chomsky has suggested that former bread-and-butter syntactic operations (rightward movement, stylistic movement, head movement) might be better treated outside the Narrow Syntax, in the SpellOut component, partly because they allegedly do not affect (the relevant kind of) meaning. Others have made the same proposal for phenomena that Chomsky now considers the very core of syntax, viz. case and agreement. What sorts of machinery would be needed to make these suggestions feasible? Will anything short of a full “second syntax” suffice? Are there any unifying characteristics shared by these operations, or has SpellOut merely become the garbage can where thorny problems are dumped?

• Where do you pronounce what?: Chomsky and many others have proposed that syntactic movement consists in merging the same object into the same tree multiple times, creating multiple dominance structures. It is then the job of SpellOut to determine which “instance” of this object is pronounced and which are silent, yielding overt/covert/partial movement, or the possibility of partial pronunciation of multiple instances, e.g. to account for resumptive pronouns. This is one of a family of situations where SpellOut is assigned the task of determining whether portions of a sentence can be left unpronounced; ellipsis is another. But these operations clearly do affect interpretation. Also, it has been claimed (e.g. by Lasnik) that failing to pronounce part of a sentence (by whatever means) can rescue what otherwise would have been a syntactic violation. These proposals seem to imply that the output of SpellOut can be perused by Syntax and Semantics—what does the resulting model look like? Also, with multi-dominance, unlike literal copying, the bookkeeping involved in simply determining what to spell out where can get hairy, especially with remnant movement running wild. Does Cyclic SpellOut help or just make things worse?

• Word-specific syntax: Various theories of “morphology” advocate Late Insertion of vocabulary items into syntactic structures, in the SpellOut component, i.e. after syntactic operations have run their course. One motivation for this is that information that we believe syntax never refers to should be unavailable to it in principle, e.g., no language has a rule that fronts nouns beginning voiced segments but not those beginning with voiceless segments, so the phonological content of lexical items shouldn’t be part of a syntactic derivation. The same seems to be true for open-class meanings (e.g. feline vs. canine). However, there are some instances where meaning does seem to matter. For example, some uses of have raise to Tense in English and others do not; only the non-agentive uses are candidates for raising, and within that class, dialects can differ, hence British Have you any milk? vs. North American Do you have any milk? Wherever head movement applies, it apparently must be sensitive to the semantic feature [±possessive] in verb meaning, as well as the difference between have and possess. Does pushing head movement into SpellOut (cf. 1st bullet above) breathe new life into a strict Late Insertion approach?

Late Insertion also raises a probably insurmountable problem for any hopes of adapting the grammatical theory as a processing model, since for that purpose you must select lexical items early in order to know what syntactic structure you need to build; you can’t generate a structure at random and then hope to find words that express your intent when inserted into it. At the same time, however, there is solid speech-error evidence that the segmental content of words is not activated at the point when they are being slotted into syntactic positions. This suggests that lexical access itself might suffice to explain why we do not find segment-sensitive syntax.

• Ineffability: A scattering of phenomena have been claimed to have the property that a syntactically well-formed structure yields no grammatical sentence because there is no way to Spell Out that structure. Paradigm gaps are one such case; various configurations of case-marking clashes are another; rivalry between equipotent competitors (e.g. strided/stridden) may be a third. On the other hand, researchers such as Marantz have proposed that SpellOut is a purely interpretive, non-filtering component of the grammar in which default forms are always available; according to them, genuine cases of ineffability should be of a very limited sort, perhaps just those involving phonological non-identity when feature bundles are combined (e.g. German free relatives). Who is right? How do you test for ineffability empirically? How wide is the range of possible pronunciations of a single syntactic representation?


Instructor: Edward L. Keenan

Topic: Mathematical results on quantification in natural language

(and the boolean bedrock on which they stand)

Meeting time and place: Winter quarter 2009

Tuesday from 1:00 – 4:00

Haines Hall A82

Consult this pdf file and this website .

Linguistics 252, Topics in Syntax & Semantics

"The Semantics of Wh-phrases"

Jessica Rett

Thursdays, 1pm-4pm, BUNCHE 2150

In many languages, wh-phrases are used to form a wide variety of constructions: questions, free relatives, correlatives and exclamatives (and, in some cases, quantifier constructions and equatives). I've provided some data from Romanian (below) to illustrate such a language. (English is another such language, but with complications, as always.)

Wh-phrases and/or the clauses containing them have been variably described as having universal quantificational force, existential quantificational force, a definiteness or specificity component, an exhaustivity or maximality component, or "none of the above" (with the same denotation as indefinites). Many people conflate the semantics of matrix questions with embedded questions but distinguish free relatives, while others conflate the semantics of free relatives and embedded questions but distinguish matrix questions. Some conflate exclamatives with free relatives but not questions, others with questions but not free relatives.

The primary goal of this class is to survey and characterize the semantic properties of the constructions in which wh-phrases occur. The secondary goal is to try to determine if it is possible to assign a single meaning to wh-phrases that allows for a compositional semantics of these constructions as a whole.

It's important to me that we cover the semantics of questions, free relatives and exclamatives. Beyond that, I'd like your own interests to shape the class... see the syllabus for a list of possible sub-topics.

Philosophy 287

Sam Cumming

Causality -- if Hume is right, a variety of cognitive economy -- permeates psychology and language. In this seminar, I will investigate reference to causality mainly at the inter-clausal level: in conditionals, aspectual categories, and the coherence of narrative.

Philosophy 127B

Sam Cumming

Paul Grice, in an effort to sharpen and simplify literal meaning, emphasised that many putatively semantic facts have commonsense explanations, and demonstrated the continuity of linguistic utterance with other forms of intentional activity. He further claimed that in many cases the basis of such pragmatic interpretations was rational inference. As he says in "Logic and Conversation":

I would like to be able to think of the standard type of conversational practice not merely as something that most or all do in fact follow but as something that it is reasonable for us to follow, that we should not abandon.

In this course, we will evaluate the normativity of pragmatic meaning in the context of contemporary work in philosophical, linguistic and computational pragmatics.

Syllabus available @ http://ccle.ucla.edu/course/view.php?name=09W-PHILOS127B-1

Fall 2008

The PPP (Prosody-Pragmatics-PhraseStructure)Triangle

Daniel Buring

This proseminar is a research seminar investigating the interface(s) between pragmatics (information structure), syntax (phrase structure, thematic structure), and prosody (stress, phrasing, accent). The primary object of investigation will be English (and its regional variants such as German, Dutch...), but i'll be happy to include other languages depending on students' interests.

The goal is to identify rules and constraints that govern the relation between syntax, information structure and prosody. You can think of these constraints either as predicting prosodic structure based on syntactic structure and information structure (such as focus marking etc.), or as predicting the discourse requirements of a sentence, given a particular intonation.

Obviously, a comprehensive theory of these interfaces, and even of the individual levels that interface, is very much a desideratum, and accordingly there are plenty of open questions, and plenty of starting points for original research in semantics, phonology, phonetics and even syntax, for example:

-- on the pragmatic (semantic) side: We have a sufficient formal machinery to model numerous kinds of information structure related interpretations, and these will be surveyed. But what exactly are the proper pragmatic categories of information structure, and how are they formally defined?

-- on the prosodic side: We can represent the three main ingredients to the realization of information structure -- stress, accent and phrasing -- using a hybrid between metrical structure (trees or bracketed grids) and intonational structure (pitch accents, phrase tones and boundary tones). But how do metrical structure and intonational structure relate to one another, what are the relevant phrasal categories, and indeed, what does the `normal' prosody for phrases and sentences look like (there's actually a lot of experimental investigation to be done here)? How to account for variability in prosodic realization for what is ostensibly the same syntactic and information structure?

-- on the syntactic side: We represent vanilla type phrase structure in terms of trees, defined in the usual way. But to what extent is information structure reflected in constituent structure?

Are there syntactic projections corresponding to categories like focus, topic etc. (e.g. Rizzi)? Do syntactic constituency and prosodic phrasing really mismatch to the extent often assumed in the literature on prosodic phonology, or is syntactic structure in fact much more flexible, and hence closer to prosodic structure, as proposed e.g. in categorial grammar (e.g. Steedman)?

The basis for this seminar will be selected readings mostly on information structure and the syntax--prosody interface, as well as (hopefully) the first few chapters of a book i am working on which surveys the state of the art and pinpoints some particularly vexing questions. Participants are encouraged to quickly move to original work, either theoretical or experimental that can help address some of these questions, and flesh out the larger picture.

First meeting is on Monday, Oct. 29, 9am, Rolfe 3131. People who are interested but can't make the M/W 9-11 slot should send me an email with their availability. I will post readings later this week.

Syntax Seminar: The Subject Configuration

Peter Hallman, with participation of Hilda Koopman Mondays 4-7 (tentative)

Syntactic theory has witnessed the gradual disintegration of the traditional Government-Binding characterization of subjecthood--that tense, nominative case, agreement, and hierarchical prominence including controllability are mutually dependent properties with a single syntactic locus: INFL/T. Research on case-bearing or agreement-triggering PRO in Greek and Portuguese, and oblique subjects and nominative objects in Icelandic and various ergative languages has led to the demise of a unified notion of "subject configuration". In response, structural constraints on case assignment and agreement have loosened considerably to relations (e.g. Agree) that do not require structural adjacency and that are relativized to other syntactic relations.

This seminar seeks to determine whether the various properties associated with subjecthood can in fact be said to have absolute and universal configurational correlates, i.e., whether a configurational notion of subjecthood, or at least the various subject properties individually, can be recouped from the facts that seemed to undermine it.

Readings trace the analysis of the notion of subject in generative grammar from pre-GB analyses to recent developments in Minimalism.

Minicourse: The study of syntactic microvariation: perspectives and tools.

Dear all,

The graduate syntax program this coming fall looks as follows: (200B; Syntax and semantics Fridays;) Peter Hallman and Hilda Koopman join forces on Mondays (4-7) (see Peter's blurb); Minicourse (Koopman): November 1-15, 5 core lectures (Norvert Corver and Marjo van Koppen + preparatory lectures, see below for a tentative schedule:

This minicourse is sponsored by a joint UC--University of Utrecht collaborative grant (with PIs Norbert Corver from the University of Utrecht and Hilda Koopman from UCLA), and is centered around the following themes:

  • why it is important and necessary for theoretical syntax to study microvariability;
  • how it can be studied;
  • results so far;
  • what tools are needed to further develop this type of research;
  • future perspectives and directions
  • Nobert Corver and Marjo van Koppen will be visiting UCLA November 1-15th

(Norbert Corver from Nov 1-15; and Marjo van Koppen Nov 9-15),

and present a series of lectures around their ongoing project

The Diversity of the Dutch DP

(the documentation and study of the microvariability within the Dutch DP, based on contemporary dialects and older variants of Dutch).

Blurbs for the lectures will follow later.

Here is a link to the Diversity of the Dutch DP project:


a link to Norbert Corver’s recent publications (click on “publicaties”),


and to Marjo van Koppen’s webpage:


(Tentative) schedule:

(I will use doodle for scheduling purposes sometime next week, blurbs and further announcements will follow later).

  • Wednesday October1st (time to be determined: stay tuned)
  • Wednesday Oct 29th (sometime between 2-7 depending on psychobabble)
  • Monday or Wednesday: November 3 or 5th (time and place to be determined (between 2-7))
  • Friday: November 7th 2-5 (syntax and semantics slot)
  • Monday: November 10 4-7 (joint meeting with syntax seminar)
  • Wednesday: November 12th (time and place to be determined)
  • Friday: November 14th 2-5 (syntax and semantics slot)
  • follow up meeting(s): to be determined

Please contact Hilda Koopman if you have questions, particular time constraints, etc)


Fall 2008

Edward L. Keenan
Lawrence S. Moss

Dear Students,

I'm alerting you to a course, Ling 208, I'm offering this quarter in the Linguistics Dept. I attach a table of contents for the course notes , available at Ackerman hopefully by 9/26, that I will be using.


Ed Keenan

Table of Contents


  • 1. The Roots of Infinity ........................................................................
  • 2. Some Mathematical Background ...................................................
  • 3. Syntax I: Trees and Order Relations ............................................
  • 4. Naive Segmental Phonology ..............................................................
  • 5. Syntax II: Design for a Language ....................................................
  • 6. Semantics I: Compositionality and Sentential Logic ........................
  • 7. Semantics II: Coordination, Negation and Lattices ........................
  • 8. Semantics III: Logic and Variable Binding Operators .....................
  • 9. Semantics IV: DPs, Monotonicity and Semantic Generalizations ....
  • 10. Semantics V: Classifying Quantifiers ..................................................
  • 11. Alphabets ............................................................................................

Spring 2008

Computational Linguistics II (LING 185B)

Marcus Kracht

Spring 2008
Time: Monday and Wednesday 9 - 11 am
Place: Bunche 2150
Course ID: 253784200

Short Description of the Course

In this course we shall look at semantics of natural language expressions in a very concrete way. We shall construct a finite model M and then translate sentence into logical formula which can be evaluated in M. Possible candidates are:

1. Boolean expressions (and, or, not)
2. Modal/temporal expressions (will, possible)
3. Quantifiers (every, some)

We may also consider different ways to interpreted a formula (static versus dynamic).

The idea is stay concrete: models are finite, and manipulations are done on elements of the model. This allows to use a computer to do the bookkeeping for us. Moreover, finite structures guarantee (at least in principle) that an answer to a query can be found.

On the way we shall discover how the different types that we find in OCaml are reflected as different objects in the model. A first-order structure, for example, sees the meaning of a relational symbol as a set of tuples. A functional model sees them as higher order functions. While we would like to think of them as being the same, they are not. And so must find ways to mediate between these two.

LING 225, Language Topics: Zapotec Syntax
Felicia Lee
MW 2:00-3:50
Public Affairs 1278

The Zapotec languages of southern Mexico show a range of syntactic patterns that provide a rich testing ground for current syntactic theories. Among their features are a large variety of left-periphery phenomena (overt focus and topic movement, different question particles with different syntactic constraints and pragmatic usages), complex verbal morphology and verb movement behavior, and anomalous binding and coreference patterns.

The course will begin with a descriptive and comparative overview of the Zapotec languages, then move on to detailed theoretical and descriptive examination of selected syntactic constructions and morphological phenomena. As a point of departure, we will focus primarily on a single language of the family (San Lucas Quiaviní (a.k.a. Tlacolula Valley) Zapotec, spoken in central Oaxaca); we will also examine data from other Zapotec languages.

Course requirements will include a term paper, an in-class presentation of a selected reading, and a few short assignments.

Prerequisites: LING 120B required; LING 200B highly recommended. A basic reading knowledge of Spanish will be helpful, but not essential.

Linguistics 251: Bantu Tonology

Michael Marlo

The Bantu languages are a huge family of 400-500 languages, spanning virtually the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. In most of these languages, tone is lexically contrastive in nouns and verbs and plays a significant role in the grammatical system of verbs, marking tense-aspect-mood-negation and clause-type distinctions. While most Bantu languages have "simple" tone systems in that they contrast only two (/H/ vs /L/) or one (/H/ vs. /Ø/) tones, the complex morphology of verbs often results in extremely complicated surface tone patterns, as different morphemes can contribute Hs to an underlying representation which commonly interact phonologically with one another (causing one to, e.g., delete or shift). Bantu languages commonly have striking patterns of tone movement (i.e., spreading and shifting) in which, for example, a tone contributed underlyingly by a morpheme at one edge of a word may surface at the other edge of the word.

The study of tone in Bantu languages has made many important contributions to theoretical linguistics. In phonology proper, the theory of autosegmental phonology was developed initially to account for Bantu tone systems and later expanded as a general theory of phonological representations. More recently, a non-autosegmental theory of domain-based representation called Optimal Domains Theory was developed based on Bantu tone data; the main insights of this work have been implemented in John McCarthy's Span Theory. Throughout the years, data from Bantu tone languages have also been brought to bear on issues of locality, the relationship between tone and metrical structure, and the role of constraints like the OCP in phonological theory. However, over the past 10-15 years (since about the time three important Ph.D. theses were written at UCLA on complex Bantu tone systems), Bantu tonology seems to have been only marginally important in phonological theorizing in Optimality Theory, the dominant theoretical paradigm since the early to mid 1990s. The likely cause of this is the fact that the "classic" studies of Bantu tones systems involved multiple rule interactions and opacity effects, which are notoriously difficult to analyze in surface-oriented OT. While Bantu tone has not been discussed much, the problem of opacity has not gone away in OT, and there have been recent proposals by leading phonologists like McCarthy to re-introduce derivations into the theory. Perhaps we should see this state-of-affairs as a challenge and an opportunity.

Bantu tone languages have also played a central role in studies of the architecture of grammar and the interaction of grammatical components. Descriptions of Bantu tone systems (as well as patterns of vowel lengthening and shortening) have occupied a prominent position in the literature on phonology-syntax interactions. In particular, they have been brought to bear on the debate between "indirect reference" and "direct reference", i.e., to what extent phonological rules and constraints can refer to syntactic structure, and they have contributed greatly to the development of the theory of Prosodic Phonology. In recent years, such data have been used by some researchers to argue against the prosodic hierarchy, in favor of a phase-based theory of spell-out, following developments in syntactic theory. An understudied aspect of tone in many Bantu languages is that tonal patterns in verbs are often controlled by the syntactic structure in which the verb is realized. For example, keeping all other factors constant, a given verb may be realized with a different tonal pattern in matrix clauses, in clauses in which a subject DP is extracted, and in clauses in which an object DP is extracted.

The study of Bantu tone systems also bears on theories of phonology-morphology interactions and has played an important empirical role in evaluating prominent theories. For example, phrase-level opacity effects reported in some Bantu languages should not exist given the model of grammar espoused in the theory of Lexical Phonology and Morphology and its more recent incarnations as Stratal OT. In-depth studies of Bantu tone systems reveal that tonal processes often display a high degree of sensitivity to morphological categories and domains. For example, the location of grammatical tonal suffixes is controlled in many Bantu languages by tense-aspect-mood-negation distinctions, such that in one set of tenses a H may be located on the stem-initial mora, in another set of tenses a H is located on the second mora of the stem, in another set of tenses a H is located on the third mora of the stem, and in another set of tenses a H is located on the fourth mora of the stem (this is Kikuria, Chacha's language). In other languages, tonal processes may show sensitivity to particular morpheme types, such that, for example, Hs contributed by object prefixes, the reflexive prefix, the verb root, and inflectional suffixes are treated differently by tonal rules. In some Bantu languages, the tonal patterns of nouns and verbs operate by the same principles; in other languages, the two lexical categories require an entirely different analysis.

Given this introduction, Bantu tone is therefore a topic that is rich in data that bear not only on phonological theory but also on theories of grammar and component interaction. I hope that students and faculty with different theoretical interests will participate in this seminar. We will read detailed studies of the tonal systems of a number of Bantu languages and discuss implications for phonological theory and theories of phonology-morphology and phonology-syntax interaction. Students will choose a language to investigate, giving a presentation of the data and developing a re-analysis of (a portion of) the data, which will be written up as a term paper. Perhaps from this seminar we too can author a paper or two that pushes linguistic theory.

LING 254A SEM 2 "Locatives", Spring 2008

Marcus Kracht

Time and Place: Tuesday & Thursday 14-15:50, Rolfe 3123
Course ID: 65340602

Locative expressions are abundant in language, yet they have not been as much studied as, for example, tense. Recently, one notices a growing interest in space and spatial expressions (there is a new series "Explorations in Language and Space" by Oxford University Press and various books among other by Robert Levinson). The proseminar is devoted to the study of locatives. I propose to cover (depending on time) the following topics:

Morphological systems (locative cases in various languages, especially Uralic and Caucasian languages, locative PPs in Indo-European)

Semantics of spatial expressions: Jackendoff has proposed a layered structure, one element defining the spatial region, the other a path. We first study the subtleties of specifying the region.

+ axes and frames (Levinson): some special properties of Australian indigeneous languages, Inuit, and Oceanic languages.
+ factors determining the use of Ps (Tversky, Landau)
+ modes and directionality (special attention to Uralic languages, in particular Finnish (V. Fong))
+ orientation (Nam, Kracht)

Interactions between syntax and semantics:

+are local cases structural or semantic? (Vainikka vs Niikanne)
+case selection and the bimorphemic analysis (Kracht)

Metaphorical uses of spatial expressions

fictitious motion, ception (Talmy, Givon)

aspects of cognitive grammar (Langacker)

Historical development: how spatial expressions "radiate" into other domains (tense, possession, etc)


No special knowledge besides basic linguistic training is needed.The mathematics and formal semantics which is involved is fairly basic.


Topics in Linguistics


Nina Hyams

Children generally appear not to produce or understand verbal passives and raising under verbs like seem and appear until ages 5-7 (though there are claims that this is not so for passives in languages such as Sesotho, Quiché, and Inuktitut). There are various accounts of this late development, the most prominent of which is the Maturation of A-Chain Hypothesis (Borer & Wexler 1987, 1992). Other proposals include the External Argument Requirement Hypothesis (Babyonyshev et al. 2001); the Universal Phase Requirement (Wexler 2004); the Universal Freezing Hypothesis (Hyams and Snyder 2005); the Canonical Alignment Hypothesis (Hyams et al. 2004); and the Theta Transmission Hypothesis (Fox & Grodzinsky 1998; Okabe & Sano (2002). On the other hand, there is evidence from Romance auxiliary selection and other sources that children have unaccusative structures, requiring A-movement, by age 2-3 (Snyder et al. 1995; Hyams & Snyder 2005, Lorusso 2004, Friedmann 2007, a.o.).

The goals of this class are three-fold:

(i) to review the early and recent literature in this area (and related syntax),

(ii) to try and resolve the apparent conflicting findings, and

(iii) to investigate other sources of data to evaluate the various approaches.

My hope is that we will be able to uncover other A-chain or unaccusative phenomena (especially in languages other than those most typically looked at) which can be examined in acquisition.

Course requirements include class presentations of readings and a term project.

Note: The class is currently scheduled for Mon. Wed. 11-1, but this conflicts with Syntax 3. I would like to find a 3-hour slot once a week that is convenient for everyone. If you are interested in attending, please let me know what your availability is.

Winter 2008

Linguistics 252, Peter Hallman

Topic: Aspect and (In)definiteness at the Syntax-Semantics Interface

A predicate's aspectual type commonly affects the definiteness or specificity of NPs related to that predicate, as in 'definiteness effect' contexts or interactions of the Finnish kind where Case is involved (for one verb class, object Case marks definiteness, for another it marks predicate aspect). The proper analysis of these phenomena is bound up with the question of whether definiteness and specificity, and for that matter Case, are 'scope' phenomena, i.e. correlated with syntactic configurations, for this tells us how syntactic the interactions with aspect are. Further, the question of just exactly what we mean by 'definiteness' and 'specificity' and whether these terms can be defined language-independently is an important preliminary question. In this seminar we investigate what definiteness and specificity are, whether they can be appropriately characterized as scope phenomena, and then attempt to address the question of what explains their mysterious attraction to aspectual alternations. Requirements: readings and a term paper.

We will have an organizational meeting as scheduled on Monday, Jan. 7 at 2:00 p.m. in Rolfe 3114. The course may need to be subsequently rescheduled so if you're interested in attending but have a schedule conflict let me know and we'll take you into account.

Linguistics 251: Metrics

Bruce Hayes

Metrics studies how conventionalized rhythmic patterns are manifested in phonological material. Metrical systems can vary greatly across languages, including systems based on stress, on syllable weight, on the distribution of word boundaries, on tone, and on various mixtures thereof. They can apply to song, chant, and spoken poetry.

Metrics has long served as a kind of laboratory for phonology: by studying the application of phonological structure to rhythm, we obtain independent evidence for the nature of phonological structure. In addition, the fairly limited, controlled character of a metrical system makes it a useful testing ground for proposals about linguistic theory in general, notably the character of constraints and their interaction.

This course will include a mixture of:

-- Empirical study (a survey of metrical systems of different types, with particular emphasis on English)
-- Theory of metrics (metrical patterns, metrical constraints, how constraints interact, grammatical components)
-- Learnability theory (application of recent tools, including stochastic OT and Maximum Entropy). The goal here is to employ simple, general theories of constraints and constraint schemata, and let hardwork inductive learning algorithms deploy them to account for the richness of the data patterns.

Anticipated assignments for 4-unit students: readings, a few exercises, and an paper

Linguistics 251: Development of speech perception

Megha Sundara

In any organism’s interaction with its environment, the ability to sort input into categories or kinds, is fundamental to survival. Without the ability to categorize, every instance is unique, and consequently, unrelated to the organism’s previous experience and knowledge. In this proseminar, we will try to understand how learners of different ages and language experience acquire phonetic categories that are fundamental to language. We will be discussing the perception of phonetic categories – methods for testing, development trajectories, mechanisms, and its role in typical and atypical language acquisition.

In addition to participating in class discussions and attending presentations (by other students and by me), students will be expected to read primary sources. In the reading list (a) classic articles are interspersed with recent research (b) using several different methodologies – perception testing, training studies of adults, testing of infants (c) with different kinds of learners – monolinguals, sequential bilinguals, simultaneous bilinguals, international adoptees, language impaired children and monkeys.

The proseminar will be held Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:00am-10:50am in Rolfe 3127.

Linguistics 218, Mathematical Linguistics II

Ed Keenan

Time: TTh 2:00 B 4:00

Ling 218 is a variable content course; it presupposes the content of Ling 180/208.

The focus of this offering is the mathematical characterization of grammatical categories (gc=s) in natural language. The first four weeks treat algebraic semantic properties of gc=s.

Weeks 1-3 Expressions in Argument Categories denote in freely generated boolean lattices (algebras). The free generators are the individuals. This works well for DP. What about CP? What about infinitival arguments (e.g. To talk with your mouth full is impolite)? Modifier categories (modifying adjectives, intensifiers, manner adverbs) denote in factor algebras (defined in class). Quantifiers denote in algebras of conservative functions. Indexing categories, such as locative PPs (John is smiling in Ben=s picture) and temporal deictics (John only smoked once yesterday) lack an algebraic characterization at the moment.

Week 4 Generalized quantifiers: Why do they arise in natural language? Why do they exhibit scope ambiguities, B an emergent property, contrary to the usual pattern (Borer In Name Only, 2005 Oxford ) in which complex expressions reduce the interpretative possibilities for the expressions they are built from? Why do we find quantifiers that cannot be represented in the usual iterated way? To what extent do anaphoric DPs (himself, every student but himself,...) increase logical expressive power?

Readings for weeks 1-4 class handouts, an overview paper on Quantifiers for the Handbook of Semantics, and a version of Beyond the Frege Boundary (by yours truly).

Weeks 4- 8: abstract syntax, specifically syntactic properties of gc's. We use Bare Grammar (Keenan & Stabler, 2003) as a partial text, plus class handouts and selections from Baker's Lexical Categories 2003 CUP. We consider several candidates for universal properties of categories B Syntactic operations may change category, but must respect sameness of category, AIs recursion a primitive (as many linguists from Chomsky on down claim), or is it a consequence of quantity? What basis is there for saying that expressions in different languages have the same category? Is the set of possible human grammars closed under duals? How can we generalize across languages which are not isomorphic? Our answer to these questions builds on the notion of linguistic invariant. They are the expressions, properties of expressions, relations between expressions,... which are invariant under the structure preserving maps (automorphisms) of the language. Function words are the lexical expressions mapped to themselves by the automorphisms. An invariant property might be has category C for C some gc in the grammar. Some relations, such as c-command are universally invariant from their definition; others, such as the Anaphor-Antecedent relation, appear to be invariant empirically even though we can make up formal grammars in which they are not. A basic question here is Which semantic relations are syntactically invariant (coded in the grammar) and which ones aren't? Arguably the Anaphor-Antecedent relation is invariant, the entailment relation is not. A more general algebraic way to put some of these questions is: How much can we tell about a language from the automorphism group of its grammar? (So we cram in a little group theory in this second half)

The last two weeks are open, to allow us time to pursue matters of interest that arise.

Work required:

2 units: do the erratically assigned homework problems.

4 units: homework plus a paper.

Fall 2007

Sun-Ah Jun: Fall Proseminar (251A): Topics in Phonetics & Phonology

Topic: Focus Prosody

Organizational meeting: Thursday 2pm at Haines A20

The course will cover readings related to the prosodic realizations of focus, emphasizing cross-linguistic data. Students will acquire the methodological and analytical skills to read the literature and to conduct original research on this topic.

Linguistics 252, Philippe Schlenker

Topic: Presupposition

In the 1980's, the analysis of presupposition contributed to a 'dynamic turn' in formal semantics: the concept of 'meaning as truth conditions' was replaced with a more powerful notion, whereby the meaning of a sentence was identified with its potential to modify the beliefs of the speech act participants. This seminar has two goals:

(i) We will introduce the motivations, formal tools and empirical achievements of the dynamic analysis of presuppositions.

(ii) We will discuss critiques of the dynamic approach and ongoing attempts to offer a systematic alternative to it.

(Time permitting, neighboring topics such as anaphora and implicatures might be touched upon.)


(i) Do the readings and participate actively in class discussions.
(ii) Give one class presentation and/or do some exercises.
(iii) Write one term paper.

Preliminary Website


Linguistics 254, Carson Schutze

Fall Syntax Proseminar

Topic: Adverbial PPs and Light Prepositions

Tentative Time & Place: Thursdays 11-2 in Rolfe 3106

(We will meet at that time in that place this Thursday Sept 27 to discuss organizational matters and people's specific interests regarding the content of the prosem. If you would like to attend the course but cannot make it to that meeting please email me beforehand.)


While the fine semantics and syntax of adverbs has received considerable attention recently, thanks in part to the work of Cinque (1999), adverbial prepositional phrases have inspired less work. We will focus on a subset of these that raise particularly interesting questions for interpretation and syntactic licensing, namely those introduced by the light prepositions {in, on, at, to, for}. These have in common the fact that they can be missing/unpronounced in circumstances when they seem to be semantically present, e.g.,

He stayed here (for) three hours.
I've lived (in) all the places she's lived (in).
Nothing special happened (on) that day.
I was told they could arrive (at) any moment.
He drove us (to) someplace where we had never been before.

In some cases, particularly with temporals, an overt light preposition may be impossible:

She will arrive (*in/*on/*at) next week.

An optional light preposition may become obligatory if the PP is moved:

John has been a Republican (for) many years now.
John has *(for) many years now been a Republican.

Such facts can lead to a number of lines of inquiry, among which we will choose based on the interests of the attendees (and their linguistic competence--surprisingly, at least among Familiar European Languages, patterns like this seem to be widespread). Issues could include:

- Can we resolve the debate between McCawley/Emonds vs. Larson on whether the absence of an overt preposition indicates an inherently case-marked NP versus a PP with a silent head? Should the same answer be given for English and for a rich case language like Finnish?

- If we are dealing with silent prepositions, can their distribution be related to other phenomena of "silence" for which theoretical apparatus has been developed, e.g. null complementizers, gapping, empty categories,...?

- How can we characterize the set of nouns that can be relativized without an overt preposition (or wh-phrase that arguably contains one), cf.

the time (when) he came to see me vs.
the occasion *(when/on which) he came to see me

- How can we explain why certain kinds of D(P)s license "omission" of prepositions more readily than others, cf.

I'll meet my love {(on) some sunny day/ *(on) a sunny day}.


Requirements: [modified slightly from Philippe's]

(i) Do the readings and participate actively in class discussions.
(ii) Give one class presentation.
(iii) Write one term paper.

Spring 2007

Linguistics 218: Mathematical Linguistics II

Spring 2007, TR 9 - 10:50, Rolfe 3123 (tentative)

Marcus Kracht

I shall devote the course to the study of compositionality. All linguists agree that a compositional theory is better than a noncompositional one. But which theory can legitimately claim to be compositional and why? I guess that few people can really answer this question satisfactorily. Moreover, the formal literature is sometimes at war with ordinary intuitions. But I think substantial progress has been made, and I want to talk about that.

There is a manuscript of a lecture I held last year, which you can find at


Linguistics 225: Writing a Teaching Grammar

Spring 2007, MW 9-11

Pam Munro

This course will be a practically oriented course dedicated to producing a draft of a teaching/reference grammar aimed at engaged high school level non-linguists while beginning development of other enrichment and teaching materials.

The language we'll work with is Pima, a Uto-Aztecan language spoken on two reservations in central Arizona. Pima is closely related but not identical to Tohono O'odham (Papago) and has been the subject of three UCLA MA theses (Shapira, Jackson, Smith) and one UCLA dissertation (Jackson; a second (Smith) is in progress), as well as considerable other research by these and others at UCLA (though it remains almost completely unstudied elsewhere). Pima is an extremely interesting language with highly variable word order (but no case marking!), second position particles, complex verb structure, vowel length, "lenis/fortis" stop oppositions, and numerous other features exciting to linguists.

It's an endangered language: although there are still some fairly young speakers, we don't know of any children acquiring the language.

The goal of this course is to produce a basic teaching grammar that can be used as a resource for students in UCLA Linguistics 114 and by heritage learners of Pima in Arizona and Los Angeles, along with exercises, dialogues, and other supplementary material. After a crash couse in Pima grammar, class members will decide on the order in which grammatical elements should be introduced, choose necessary and appropriate terminology, and divide up the writing task. Mr. Virgil Lewis, a wonderful and most accomplished native speaker, will be in class once a week to serve as a resource and assist with the process.

Hopefully we'll also have the assistance of Marcus Smith, C.Phil. and Pimologist extraordinaire.

If you take this course, you'll

• acquire firsthand experience in producing accessible documentation for an endangered language • learn a great deal about a fabulous language • have the satisfaction of helping to create a product that will be used seriously both by heritage learners and by UCLA undergraduates

No prior field experience is required. Please email any questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Winter 2007


Marcus Kracht

Topics in Syntax and Semantics (Linguistics 252B)

Tuesdays and Thursday, 2 - 4 pm, Public Policy 2319

This seminar will be dedicated to the study of locatives. We shall look at

(a) the semantics of local expressions: I will both discuss model-theoretic semantics (due to Zwarts and myself) as cognitive semantics (Talmy)

(b) the syntax and morphology (cases, PP structure)

(c) the historical development: where do local expressions come from and into what do they develop

I have given this course before and there are course notes on my website (see http://kracht.humnet.ucla.edu/marcus/courses/locatives/locatives.html). However, the course notes do not reflect all the content and are very rough. I hope that I can take the time and rewrite at least parts of them. I also point out that Peter Svenonius will be giving a minicourse on adpositions (mainly devoted to spatial adpositions), which will nicely complement the seminar.

Proseminar (Linguistics 252): Three Minicourses

There will be a series of mini courses in syntax this quarter regrouped under a 252 proseminar. This proseminar will be listed under Dominique's name on the registrar's site.

It will meet according to the following schedule:

Mondays 5-7pm starting Monday the 15th of January until the end of February
Fridays 2-4pm in February
Another two hour slot weekly in February to be determined later.

Doubling in the Left Periphery in West Germanic Dialects

Martin Prinzhorn

From 1/15 to 2/ 2 (4meetings)

In this mini-course, we will at two doubling phenomena, doubly-filled Comp and complementizer agreement. The two phenomena are usually described as being optional in the variants they occur in. I will concentrate on this question of optionality.

In the history of generative grammar, many optional phenomena turned out not to be optional after all. By taking a closer look at doubly-filled Comp and complementizer agreement in various Germanic dialects, it will be shown that there are indeed external licencing conditions for both constructions having to do with different types of relative clauses, scope of pronouns etc.

Another question which we may touch upon, and provide a partial answer to, is why both phenomena seem to be restricted to verb second languages (verb final in embedded clauses).


  • Bayer, Josef (1984). COMP in Bavarian Syntax. The Linguistic Review 3, 209-274.
  • Bayer, Josef (2002). Decomposing the Left Periphery. Dialectal and Cross-linguistic Evidence.Proceedings of IATL 18. (http://atar.mscc.huji.ac.il/~english/IATL/18/TOC.html) .
  • Brugger, Gerhard & Martin Prinzhorn (1996). Some Properties of German Determiners. Ms, University of Vienna.
  • Groos, Anneke, & Henk van Riemsdijk (1981). Matching effects in free relatives: a parameter of core grammar. In: Adriana Belletti, Luciana Brandi and Luigi Rizzi (eds.), Theory of Markedness in Generative Grammar. Proceedings of the 1979 GLOW Conference. Pisa: Scuola Normale Superiore, 171-216.
  • Fuß, Eric (2004), „Diachronic clues to pro-drop and complementizer agreement in Bavarian", in: Fuß, Eric/Trips, Carola (Hrsg.), Diachronic Clues to Synchronic Grammar, Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • van Koppen, Marjo (2006), One Probe – Two Goals: Aspects of agreement in Dutch dialects, Dissertation, Universität Leiden, ( http://www.lotpublications.nl/publish/articles/001227/bookpart.pdf )
  • Prinzhorn, Martin & Viola Schmitt (2005). A note on relative pronouns in Standard German. In: H. Broekhuis, N. Corver, R.Huybregts, U. Kleinherz & J. Koster (eds.), Organizing Grammar. Studies in Honor of Henk van Riemsdijk. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 505-513.
  • Riemsdijk, Henk van (2000). Free Relatives. In: Syncom: Case 44.
  • Schmitt, Viola (2006). Hessian relative clauses and the syntactic role of the relative pronoun. Thesis, Universität Wien.
  • De Vogelaer, Gunther, Annemie Neuckermans, Annemie & Guido van den Wyngaerd (2002), „Complementizer agreement in the Flemish dialects”, in: Barbiers, Sjef/Cornips, Leonie/ van der Kleij, Susanne (Hrsg.), Meertens Institute Electronic Publications in Linguistics (MIEPiL) II: Syntactic Microvariation, http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/books/synmic/ , Amsterdam, 2002.
  • Weiß, Helmut (1998), Syntax des Bairischen: Studien zur Grammatik einer natürlichen Sprache, Tübingen: Niemeyer.

David Adger

Language Variability and Linguistic Theory

From 2/5 to 2/16 (5 meetings)

These lectures look at the question of whether there is variability (a range of forms with the same meaning which provide a choice of expressions to a speaker) in I-Language, and if so how it is best modeled, and what challenges modeling it raises for Linguistic Theory. It takes a number of case studies, mainly from one dialect of Scottish English, and uses these to explore the theoretical question and to provide some tentative answers.

Good background readings can be found in Cornips and Corrigan, 2005, Syntax and Variation. I'll spend some of the time going through Adger, 2006, 'Combinatorial Variation' Journal of Linguistics. For background on Labovian approaches, Tagliamonte 2006, Analysing Sociolinguistic Variation, CUP is good, and Alison Henry's paper in the Blackwells Handbook of Language Variation and Change is also worth reading.

Peter Svenonius


Between 2/19 and 3/2 (5 meetings)

The course is on the structure of adpositions cross-linguistically, and the relationship of that structure to the compositional meaning of expressions of location and directed motion. The focus will be on spatial adpositions and equivalent expressions, such as local cases in languages like Finnish and Lezgian. The results have important implications for the nature of categories in syntax and for our understanding of the syntax-semantics interface in general.

The course draws on the results so far of the Moving Right Along project, a five-year project (2005-2009) investigating these issues. See http://www.hum.uit.no/mra/ for more information.

Suggested background readings:

  • den Dikken, Marcel. 2006. On the functional structure of locative and directional PPs. Available at
  • http://web.gc.cuny.edu/dept/lingu/dendikken/papers.html
  • Koopman, Hilda. 1997 Prepositions, postpositions, circumpositions, and particles. The structure of Dutch PPs. Available at http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/koopman/koopman.htm
  • Kracht, Marcus. 2002. "On the Semantics of Locatives", Linguistics and Philosophy 25, 157 - 232. Available at
  • http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/Kracht/html/public-ling.html
  • van Riemsdijk, Henk and Riny Huybregts. 2002. Location and locality. In Progress in Grammar: Articles at the 20th Anniversary of the Comparison of Grammatical Models Group in Tilburg, edited by Marc van Oostendorp and Elena Anagnostopoulou, pp. 1­23. Meertens Instituut, Amsterdam. Available at http://meertens.library.uu.nl/progressingrammar/riemsdijk.pdf
  • Svenonius, Peter. 2006. The Emergence of Axial Parts. Tromsoe Working Papers, link on Moving Right Along website,
  • http://www.hum.uit.no/mra/
  • Svenonius, Peter. 2004. Spatial P in English. http://ling.auf.net/lingBuzz/0000001
  • Svenonius, Peter. 2004. Adpositions, Particles, and the arguments they introduce. http://ling.auf.net/lingBuzz/000042

Fall 2006

Proseminar: The Prosodic Word (Ling. 251A/B, Special Topics in Phonetics & Phonology)

TR 11:00-12:50

Kie Zuraw


When we describe prosody, phonological alternations, or phonotactic restrictions, we must specify the domain of application of the rules or constraints involved. For example, saying that a nasal assimilates in place to a following obstruent is insufficient: do the nasal and obstruent have to be in the same word? if they’re in adjacent words, does the syntactic relation between the two matter? does it matter whether a pause intervenes?

This question of domains has been approached in a variety of ways. Most common these days is to use a prosodic hierarchy (Selkirk 1980, ...). The grammar assigns to an utterance a prosodic tree, with nodes such as intonational phrase, phonological phrase, p-word, foot, and syllable; rules or constraints are sensitive to this prosodic structure.

Current literature tends to draw freely on prosodic structure, without explicit comparison to other approaches. The purpose of this proseminar is to examine the evidence for one level of prosodic structure, the p-word (short for “prosodic word” or “phonological word”).


The p-word is roughly a syntactic word, but with various language-specific modifications: a function word may be combined with an adjacent content word, prefixes (and, less often, suffixes) may be excluded from their stem’s p-word, and a compound may include more than one p-word.

The p-word has been proposed to do a variety of jobs:

• minimal domain for stress assignment
• domain for certain segmental rules/constraints
• (less commonly) domain for phonotactic restrictions
• unit of prosodic morphology

I’ve chosen to examine the p-word, rather than some other level of structure, for several reasons:

• Unlike the syllable and the foot, the p-word hasn’t been subjected to much critical examination.
• More than the syllable or the foot, the p-word is dependent on morphological/syntactic structure.
• Unlike utterances, intonational phrases, or phonological phrases, p-words lack an intonational signature.
• More than utterances, intonational phrases, or phonological phrases,p-words are likely to be precompiled (because they are small enough that many are frequent), which raises some psycholinguistic questions.
• I’m interested in what determines whether a morphologically complex word is treated as complex or simple by the phonology. Explanations based on assignment of p-word boundaries seem to cover some of the same ground as processing explanations (e.g., decomposed vs. direct lexical access). Do we really need both?
• Cross-linguistic asymmetries concerning left vs. right edge of stems, or prefixes vs. suffixes, are psycholinguistically tantalizing.
• Because a p-word is roughly the amount of material that is often supposed to be generated in the lexicon, we can compare the prosodic approach to competing views of the relationship between phonology and morphology (lexical phonology, intra-paradigm correspondence).


In the proseminar, we will examine...

• reasons researchers have espoused the p-word (domain for certain segmental rules, domain for stress assignment, unit in prosodic morphology, cliticization facts)
• how well the different purposes of the p-word line up: within a language, can a single algorithm for p-word construction account for the domains of multiple segmental and prosodic rules?
• competing explanations: boundary types, erasure of morphological boundaries (whether by rule or for psycholinguistic reasons), interleaving of phonology and morphology (i.e., Lexical Phonology), paradigm uniformity
• the typology of p-words (what tends to constitute a p-word, and what phenomena tend to take the p-word as their domain): what is the typology, and is it better explained by the prosodic approach or by competing approaches?

After a few sessions of lecture-and-discussion to set the stage, we’ll move to student-led discussions of readings, with occasional lectures. I want to try something new (to me): two students will be responsible for each paper, with one student presenting the paper’s analysis (say, a p-word analysis of various segmental phenomena in Irish), and the other devising and presenting an alternative (say, an analysis using boundary symbols). Note “presenting”, not “arguing for”: unlike in debate club, you don’t have to pretend to agree with the side you’re responsible for. Adjustments will be made to this format depending on the type of paper.


For 2 units (251B), participate in the discussions, including taking turns to present.

For 4 units (251A), do the above plus write a final paper related to the course topic.

Suggested paper topics—you can propose others:

• Survey a set of roughly word-level phenomena within a language. Can a consistent p-word structure be proposed for all of them?
• Take on a case (perhaps one encountered in class) where different diagnostics of the p-word are known to disagree. What account can you propose?
• Compare a p-word-based explanation to a p-word-free explanation of some phenomenon (perhaps one that’s already been analyzed one way in the literature).

Proseminar: The Syntax/Semantics Interface (Ling 252A/B)

Daniel Büring

I'll be teaching a semantics proseminar 252A/B this quarter. The class will be about various issues at the syntax/semantics interface.

We'll be reading and discussing recent published and unpublished workon various issues, with the aim of understanding the proposals, sorting out the data landscape, and identifying areas where those proposals leave room for improvement.

The list of topics is open to student input, but tentatively includes at this point:

- copular constructions (predicational, equative,...), including clefts
- comparatives and superlatives

The first meeting for this class is scheduled for this coming Monday,Oct 2nd, from 2-3:50pm in Campbell 2122 (aka conference room). On that occasion we can discuss additions/changes to the list of topics, readings, scheduling (currently the class is scheduled to meet M/W), and, i guess, a new location, as our conference room will be used to host homeless students and faculty during interior construction.

Spring 2006

Proseminar: Focus & Intonation (Ling 251A/B)

Spring 2006, M/W 2--3:50pm, Public Policy 1256

Have you noticed how problems in intonation and prosody have been in hiding lately?

That's because they know we're out to get them!

We (Sun-Ah Jun & Daniel Buring) will co-teach a proseminar entitled

Focus & Intonation (Ling 251A/B)

This is a class on the relation between syntax, focus, and prosody.

Our aim is to bring together current research on intonational phonology, prosodic phonology, and information structure, working towards a theory that integrates the results of these different sub-fields, with special emphasis on ways to use experimental methods to address theoretical questions. We intend this class to be a starting point for original research in the area of focus and intonation.

The full course description is now available at

http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/linguistics/people/buring/locker/focus.and.intonation.pdf .

Note that Ling 111 - while useful - is *not* a prerequisite for this class. Neither is knowledge of formal semantics, which is not at all central for our purposes (that's right, folks, no lambdas!).

Hope to see many of you there!

Daniel & Sun-Ah

Linguistics 205: Morphology

Bruce Hayes

Tues., Thurs 9-11, Public Policy 2292

Topics for this year include morphological analysis (problem sets in Anderson's EWP framework), productivity, paradigms and bases (Albright), morphological learning theory, the Mirror Principle, causatives, polysynthesis and incorporation.

Linguistics 254: Language Processing in Children

Nina Hyams and Carson Schuetze will be doing a proseminar (254) on “Language Processing in Children”, currently scheduled for Mondays 11-2. Details to follow.


Winter 2006

See announcement for Spring 2006, above (Buring/Jun).

Fall 2005

Linguistics 251A/B: Speech Perception

Pat Keating

This pro-seminar will meet MW 9-11 in Rolfe 3106, together with Colin Wilson ’s 217 (Experimental Phonology). 251 lectures are on Mondays, 217 lectures on Wednesdays. Experimental Phonology also has a section meeting some weeks, Mondays 1-2, recommended for 251 students. Some of this quarter’s 422 meetings (Wednesdays 1-2) will also be relevant for this course. The prerequisite for this course is Ling. 104/204 or equivalent.

Topics covered on Mondays include acoustic cues; cue weighting; categorical perception; category structure; gestural perception; role of experience; infant perception; tone perception; statistical methods. The schedule of topics for both 217 and 251 is here .

Linguistics 254: Probability and Statistics in Linguistics

Marcus Kracht

Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 11-12.50

Where: Bunche 3157

This course is about probability and statistics in linguistics.

The web site is http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/Kracht/courses/mathling2/statistics.html

The previous course on this topic, on which the notes on that web site are based, was quite theoretical and not intended for use in this course. This time I will give a rather more practical course, for which a more appropriate background site is this one:


The course shall achieve two goals. It will make you familiar with the basics of probability theory, statistics, and R, a software package that allows to do quite complex statistical analysis. It will also tell you what all this has to do with linguistics, and so we shall look at some data and analyse it. The precise content will be tailored according to need. In addition to what the notes by Keith Johnson provide, I may talk about word frequency, probabilistic grammars and/or data oriented parsing.


Spring 2005

Linguistics 207: Semantics II

Philippe Schlenker

This quarter's Ling 207 (Semantics II) will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, 9-10:50am, Rolfe 3123.

This course follows 'Semantics I' (Ling 200C), and is highly recommended for students with an interest in meaning. We will discuss the following topics:

  1. Definition of a model-theoretic semantics for some simple fragments of English with pronouns, quantifiers and definite descriptions. (A brief analysis of paradoxical statements will be included...)
  2. Extension of these fragments to intensional phenomena such as tense, mood, modals, conditionals and attitude reports.
  3. Formal analysis of scalar implicatures and presuppositions.

Exercises and readings from the literature will be assigned on a weekly basis.

Pre-requisites: C180 or C208, 200C [please contact me if you do not have one the pre-requisites]

For any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Linguistics 251

Proseminar: Phonotactics

Bruce Hayes and Colin Wilson

Meets MW 11-1 in Rolfe 3127.

Phonotactics is the system of principles that determines the phonological well-formedness of words and other sequences. In Chomsky and Halle's classic example: brick is an existing, well-formed word of English, blick does not exist but could be a word (that is, is phonotactically well-formed), and bnick is phonotactically ill-formed and in principle could not be a word.

This proseminar will consider phonotactics from three points of view:

  • Traditional phonological analysis: Whorf, Fudge, Selkirk, Clements and Keyser, Steriade, Prince and Smolensky
  • Experimental work in assessing knowledge of phonotactic well-formedness and the role of phonotactics in speech segmentation: work of Jusczyk and colleagues; Frisch, Large, and Pisoni; Frisch and Zawaydeh; Cutler and colleagues; others
  • Work in modeling phonotactics; particularly work based on learning phonotactics from language data: work of Mark Ellison, Prince and Tesar, Coleman and Pierrehumbert, Bailey and Hahn, others

Prerequisite: at least one graduate course in phonology

Course requirements are two exercises and a term paper project.

The Web site for this course is located here .

Winter 2005

Linguistics 218

Marcus Kracht and Edward Keenan

The topic for this quarter is "Counting Techniques and Statistics". For details on the course see


Linguistics 254: Comparative Processing of Language and Music

Carson Schutze

The goal of this proseminar is to compare the processing of language with the processing of music in order to see how research in each of these domains can inform the other.

Parallels between language and music have been noted since ancient times, and concepts from generative grammar have been famously applied to music in a book by Lerdahl and Jackendoff (1983). That work, however, is mostly concerned with characterizing a "competence grammar" of human knowledge of (Western tonal) music, whereas in this proseminar our focus will be on the distinct (though obviously not entirely independent) issue of the processing of language vis-à-vis music, that is, how the two are produced or comprehended in real time, including some discussion of the development of these processing systems in children. There are many parallels in these two processing domains (see below), but differences in the way that music and language are used, particularly in Western culture, make certain activities easier to study in one domain than another, e.g., people tend to listen to the same fairly small set of musical works many times, whereas this hardly ever happens with texts, consequently it is easier for music listeners to focus on interpretive properties to the exclusion of "content". This provides opportunities for complementary research strategies.

I don't have a complete syllabus at this stage because I am still getting to know this literature myself and I want to tailor it to the interests of the participants, but here are some themes that I know there's work on:

  • Universality: Just as all cultures have language, all cultures have music, and all normally-developing humans are demonstrably sensitive to certain fundamental properties of music, e.g. timing (rhythm), frequency (pitch), amplitude (volume), spectral distribution (timbre). Acoustically these properties are obviously relevant to language as well. To what extent are speech perception and music perception subserved by the same basic (innate?) machinery, and to what extent does each domain depend on specialized systems tailored to its particular demands? In both domains, work with infants shows very early discrimination based on certain properties, insensitivity to others.
  • Modality: Just as many languages/cultures have no writing system, many cultures have no music notation system. Within cultures with a means for committing the material to paper, still many will be poor readers or completely unable to read or write music or language. In both domains the written representation is clearly a secondary piggy-backer on the acoustic, and cultures have solved the problem of notating in quite a range of ways. Nonetheless, a lot of processing research, especially on the language side, has been done using written stimuli. This calls for a greater understanding of the relationship between reading and listening. Common issues that arise: Do you have to construct an auditory representation from the visual one before you can process it, i.e. do you have to "hear it in your head"? How does the ability to look back at previously-read material (but not to rewind the auditory stream, at least in the environment in which we evolved) change your perception of a composition? How does the movement of your eyes across the page reflect your processing? (We have an excruciating amount of data on this for reading text, almost nothing for reading music.) How should children be taught to read? (In music education there is an interesting counterpart to the phonics vs. whole language debate.)
  • Error analysis: Just as speech errors inform our theories of (psycho)linguistics, so errors in musical performance can inform our understanding of the musical mind. Similarly, it is easy to show experimentally that people¹s expectations (top-down knowledge) can override what they actually perceive (bottom-up knowledge), and the same is true in music. (There is a famous story of a well-known piano piece containing a typo that went undetected for decades until a relatively untalented student played what was literally written, rather than the note that made musical sense.)
  • Brain measures: In the normal brain, people have looked for counterparts to the classic ERP signatures associated with different aspects of language processing--N400, P600, etc. Some of these show up quite clearly in response to musical anomalies, others do not. What can this tell us about the proper interpretation of these components? [One of the experts on this, Ani Patel, is in San Diego, I would hope to have him come talk to us.] In people with brain damage, researchers have found dissociations of subcomponents of musical processing skills akin to linguistic work in aphasia, but further interesting cases arise at the junction of these systems: does loss of musical pitch perception necessarily imply loss of linguistic intonation perception? What about rhythm and stress? Anecdotally it has been reported that patients who can speak no words may still be able to sing song lyrics, and stutterers can often sing lyrics fluently--where are the words coming from in these cases, and why can¹t they be channeled into speech?
  • Some of you may be wondering: How much do I need to know about music to understand this stuff? Again, I hope to be able to tailor this to the people who attend. My impression of the literature is that you don¹t need to be an expert musician to get at least the basic idea of it, but if you¹re at all hesitant, come talk to me.

Likewise, I won't be presupposing any knowledge of language processing--you needn't have taken 232 or 213C.

My intention, rather unconventionally for a proseminar, is to make this a broad survey, picking and choosing topics that are of most interest to theparticipants. I hope you'll join us!

Fall 2004

Linguistics 251: Prosody in Disordered Speech

Sun-Ah Jun

Place and time: Rolfe 3131, MW 11-1pm. Prerequisite: Ling 211 (Intonation) or knowledge of English ToBI .

Linguistics 252: Case

Hilda Koopman and Anoop Mahajan

The organizational meeting will be held on Tuesday October 5 at 12 noon in Linguistics Conference Room. We plan to meet for about an hour on Tuesday in order to discuss possible schedule options and the structure/coverage of the course.

The broad topic remains the phenomena of case including morphological, quirky and structural case/Case.

If interested, please do come for the organizational meeting. If you would like to attend the seminar but can't make it to the organizational meeting, please send an email to Hilda and me outlining what time slots work the best for you.

The course will meet once a week for 3 hours.

Linguistics 252: Current Issues in Semantics

Daniel Büring

I'll be teaching a semantics seminar (252a/b-sem2) this Fall, which is scheduled to meet T/Th 2-4pm at a yet-to-be-disclosed location.

The highly original title is `Current Issues in Semantics' -- if you want it even snazzier you can add an umlaut to the `e' in semantics.

Things I thought about including are

  • focus particles like `only', `even' etc.; their meaning, presuppositions, scope behavior etc.
  • stuff on negative inversion i'm working on
  • comparatives and superlatives

Email me with any other suggestions. Though 207 is recommended as a prerequisite, I believe you will be able to follow (most of) this seminar without it.

Linguistics 252: Medieval Logic

Terry Parsons

This Fall I'll offer a Graduate Seminar on Medieval Logic. The course will be based on a book I am writing on the topic. The aim is to give an account of a kind of notation, and semantics for that notation, that is presupposed by medieval authors on logic. Various medieval doctrines will be formulated and criticized.

Familiarity with the Predicate Calculus with relation symbols and identity will be presupposed. Additional advanced work is logic is desirable.

Students will have an option of writing a research paper or doing weekly problem sets.

The course is currently scheduled to meet on Thursdays 3-6 in Dodd 399.

The website for the course is at http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/phil/faculty/tparsons/Medieval Logic Fall 2004/

The seminar first meets on September 30.

Reading Seminar: Malagasy

Edward Keenan

Tthis quarter I'm giving a reading seminar in Malagasy. We will go through a first grade reader, one collection of (very) short stories, and a selection of largely glossed newspaper articles. Noro Ramahtafandry, a native speaker, will attend the seminar meetings. We meet every Wednesday afternoon 2:00 - 5:00 in the conference room.


Spring 2004

Linguistics 205: Morphology

Bruce Hayes

T/Th. 10-12, 3131 Rolfe Hall

I plan to cover the following topics in this year's offering:

1) Descriptive morphology: survey of phenomena of inflectional and derivational morphology. About three problem sets, mostly solved using the "Extended Word and Paradigm" theory of Stephen Anderson.

2) Morphology and syntax: the Mirror Principle, incorporation, polysynthetic languages

3) Level ordering and bracketing paradoxes

4) The questions of bases: can we locate a member of an inflectional paradigm that serves as the base for formation of the other members? Assessment of the "double-base" phenomenon, of which various examples have been put forth by Steriade and others.

5) Productivity: Wug testing, theories of morphological productivity, how productivity is learned, paradigm gaps, the relation of productivity to level ordering

I will also consider covering particular topics of special interest to the participants.

Work for the course (tentative) is planned to consist of three problem sets and a term paper.


Linguistics 252

Proseminar: Remnant Movement and Remnant Deletion

Anoop Mahajan

Remnant movement has come to occupy a central role in syntactic theory over the last few years. The purpose of this seminar would be to discuss some of the central ideas and analyses that use/promote/require remnant movement. This will include discussion of recent work by Richie Kayne, Gereon Mueller, Koopman and Szabolcsi and others. In the later part of the course, we will discuss remnant deletions ­ deletion of remnant constituents. In particular, the focus will be on the treatment of constructions like pseudo-gapping and gapping (and possibly VP deletions and sluicing). Here we cover some relevant work by Jayaseelan, Lasnik, Johnson, Merchant and others.

The course will meet on Wednesday 2-5 p.m. (If you have are interested in attending the course and have a conflict, please let me know. I know that there is a one hour overlap with TA training course that may affect some of the first years. I will try to see if we can work some compromise there.)

Linguistics 252

Proseminar: Event Semantics

Terry Parsons

(meets simultaneously with Philosophy 287)

Tuesdays 4-6:50 in Dodd 399

No meeting on April 27. Possible extra meeting (optional) on June 15.

We will cover various issues in Event Semantics. This is an approach to the semantics of natural langauge that posits underlying quantificaiton over events and states in ordinary sentences, such as 'Maria left' and 'Gerald knows Cynthia'. Topics will likely include the logic of modifiers, implicit and explicit talk about events, perception sentences (small clauses), events versus facts, events versus states, unaccusative verbs, causative verbs, thematic relations, states underlying nouns and adjectives. We will spend some time on recent work by Tanya Reinhart that supplements and also challenges much of the theory already discussed.

Each enrolled student will give a 20 minute presentation. Students enrolled for a letter grade will submit a course paper.

For course readings, follow this link.

Linguistics 252

Proseminar: Locatives

Marcus Kracht

Locative expressions are abundant in language, yet they have not been as much studied as, for example, tense. Recently, one notices a growing interest in space and spatial expressions (there is a new series "Explorations in Language and Space" by Oxford University Press and various books among other by Robert Levinson). The proseminar is devoted to the study of locatives. I propose to cover (depending on time) the following topics:

-> Morphological systems (locative cases in various languages, especially Uralic and Caucasian languages, locative PPs in Indo-European)

-> Semantics of spatial expressions: Jackendoff has proposed a layered structure, one element defining the spatial region, the other a path. We first study the subtleties of specifying the region + axes and frames (Levinson): some special properties of Australian indigeneous languages, Inuit, and Oceanic languages.

factors determining the use of Ps (Tversky, Landau)
modes and directionality (special attention to Uralic languages, in particular Finnish (V. Fong))
orientation (Nam, Kracht)

-> Interactions between syntax and semantics:

are local cases structural or semantic? (Vainikka vs Niikanne)
case selection and the bimorphemic analysis (Kracht)

-> Metaphorical uses of spatial expressions

fictitious motion, ception (Talmy, Givon)
aspects of cognitive grammar (Langacker)

-> Historical development: how spatial expressions "radiate" into other domains (tense, possession, etc)

Prerequisites: no special knowledge besides basic linguistic training is needed. The mathematics and formal semantics which is involved is fairly basic.


Linguistics 254

Proseminar: Aspectual Matters in Acquisition

Nina Hyams

In this proseminar I will focus on the acquisition of Aspect. There are three distinct areas of research into children's aspect development. The first dates back to the early 70's, when various studies seemed to show that children's acquisition of verbal inflections (for tense and grammatical aspect) were heavily influenced by the aspectual properties of particular verbs (actionsarten). The Aspect-before-Tense hypothesis, which claimed that Aspect was an ontologically prior category, developed out of this line of research. This early research was based on children's spontaneous productions. More recently, there has there have been a number of experimental studies in several different languages (e.g. English, Russian, Polish, Italian, etc.) probing children's interpretation of aspectual and tense markers. Although results are not consistent, there seems to be some renewed support for the Aspect-before-Tense hypothesis (now called the Aspect First hypothesis). A third line of research into Aspect development comes from the study of the interpretation of children's nonfinite verbs in root contexts, e.g. root infinitives and bare participles. In my own work, I have argued that Aspect plays an important role in the licensing of non-finite root clauses. Although these three areas of research have not overlapped, I believe there is a unified account to be found.

I would like to accomplish two things in this seminar. First, read the relevant literature in these three areas and try to connect the dots. Second, do hands-on investigation of the aspectual systems in whatever child languages we (collectively) know, using (ideally) the CHILDES database as a first step. This of course requires that we first understand something about how the adult language works in this regard.

The proseminar will be seminar-style, which is to say, everyone will be responsible leading discussions of particular reading and for presenting empirical results on the different child (and adult) languages.


Winter 2004

Linguistics 209A, Introduction to Computational Linguistics

Marcus Kracht

Tues/Thurs. 10-12, Campbell 2122A

The course in Winter 04 will as usual be taught to both graduate and undergraduate students, and for computer science and linguistics students alike. Computer science students will get a chance to see the linguistic side of it, while linguistics students will get a chance to do some language oriented programming. The language we shall use is OCaML. Since it is not widely known, I will make sure that everybody has access to the program as well as documentation. I will teach how to use it as we go along. The first two week will get people started on the features of OCaML, especially its typing. This is a good excuse to teach something about typing in general. After that we shall look at finite state automata and transducers. Finite state technology has estalished itself quite firmly in in practical applications of phonology and morphology, and there are nowadays quite sophisticated tools for linguistic analysis. We will look at the theory and try to implement some techniques. After that we shall turn to context free grammars. We shall again first deal with the theory, for example parsing techniques and normal forms. Then we shall implement some algorithms.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of either programming (in whatever language) or MathLing 1.

Materials will be posted on


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Linguistics 221: Computational Semantics

Marcus Kracht

Time and locations to be announced

Bureaucratic note: the Linguistics Department has approved this new course, but it will take a while until it gets onto the registrar's list. If people need to be officially enrolled before January please tell me so and we shall find a solution, perhaps by using a course number from the 25x series.

The course will be flexible. I have several scenarios in mind, which can be invoked and mixed depending on interest:

a) We can study semantical mechanisms in language, such as presupposition projection, anaphor resolution, tracking reference, time and space. Typically, the discussion will be centered around ways in which languages function and what the algorithms look like. (This is what I wrote as the original course definition. However, there is nothing sacrosanct about it.)

b) We can study the syntax-to-semantical representation mapping. There exist precursors to this, for example the book by Kamp and Reyle. But we may look beyond that, looking at the way syntax and morphology go together to define the representation.

c) The experimental variant: define an artificial world, define the semantics of expressions and check out the truth in a model. Have it be a tiny world à la SHRDLU, where the machine can be asked to change things and then ask it questions. Or one could implement a fragment in the Montagovian tradition, now with "real" models in place of formulae.

Prerequisites: Depending on the scenario, more or less computing skill or more or less knowledge of semantics/math.ling./syntax will be necessary.

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Linguistics 218, "Mathematical Linguistics II"

Edward Keenan

TTH 9-11, Bunche 2150

I am planning to focus on two closely related issues:

1. A semantic characterization of grammatical categories, with an emphasis on adjectives and quantifiers.

2. A syntactic characterization of grammatical categories (with some semantic correlates), based on the recent book Bare Grammar: Lectures on Linguistic Invariants (Keenan & Stabler, CSLI, 2003), available at the beginning of the quarter in the textbook section of Ackermann.

Linguistics 252B - Topics in Semantics: Moods and Attitudes

Philippe Schlenker

Wednesday, 10am-12:50pm, Rolfe 4330

First session: January 14th

We will discuss the semantics of mood, concentrating on its interaction with the expression of attitudes and attitude reports. We start with the classic possible worlds analysis of conditionals offered by Robert Stalnaker ('A Theory of Conditionals', 1968; 'Indicative Conditionals', 1975), and present some recent attempts to reinterpret it in order to attain greater explanatory depth (relating the semantics of 'if' to that of 'the') and broader empirical empirical coverage (esp. with respect to the widespread syncretisms between tense and mood). We will then consider some of the shortcomings of the possible worlds analysis of attitude reports (I'll briefly present my 'Plea for Monsters'), with applications to the semantics of 'renarrated moods' found in German and Bulgarian. The last part of the seminar will be devoted to the Romance (esp. French) Subjunctive, which can still be considered an open problem in semantics - one that has rich empirical ramifications.

The seminar will include several guest lectures [e.g. R. Pancheva (USC) on renarrated forms in Bulgarian, and D. Farkas (UCSC) on the Romance Subjunctive].

Please do not hesitate to send me e-mail if you have any questions about the seminar.

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Linguistics 252 - Ellipsis

Spring 2004

Tim Stowell

This proseminar will be devoted to the issue of ellipsis. We will be concerned with a few issues, including (a) how do we recognize true ellipsis and distinguish it from alternatives; (b) is ellipsis derived by deletion, or does it simply involve a phonetically null analogue to a pronoun, or is some other mechanism involved; (c) why do some kinds of ellipsis constructions involve apparent island violations? In addition, various issues specific to certain constructions may be discussed. Among other things, we will look at sentence fragments, sluicing, VP deletion, pseudogapping, and certain types of parentheticals. Time permitting, we may also look at issues involving ACD, though this topic is generally covered in some detail in Ling 216.

Some readings on Ellipsis, fragments, and related matters.

Barton, Ellen (1990) Nonsentential Constituents. Benjamins, Amsterdam.
Chung, Sandra, William Ladusaw, and James McCloskey (1995) Sluicing and Logical Form. Natural Language Semantics 3,239-282.
Emonds, J. (1979) Appositive Relatives have no properties. Linguistic Inquiry 10, 211-243.
Fiengo, Robert and Robert May (1994) Indices and identity. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Fox, Danny (1999) Focus, parallelism, and Accommodation. SALT 9.
Fox, Danny (2000) Economy and semantic interpretation. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
Fox, Danny, and David Pesetsky (2003) Cyclic Linearization and the Typology of Movement, MS, MIT.
Fox, Danny, and Howard Lasnik (2001) Successive Cyclic Movement and Island Repair: the difference between Sluicing and VP Ellipsis. Ms, MIT and U. Conn.
Hankamer, Jorge and Ivan Sag (1976) Deep and surface anaphora. Linguistic Inquiry 7, 391-428.
Johnson, Kyle (2001) What VP ellipsis can do, and what it can't, but not why. In Mark Baltin and Chris Collins (eds.), The Handbook of Contemporary Syntactic Theory, 439-479. Blackwell, Oxford.
Lappin, Shalom (1996) The interpretation of ellipsis. In S. Lappin (ed.), The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory, 145-175. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Lasnik, Howard (1999) A note on Pseudogapping, in Lasnik's Minimalist Analysis, Blackwell, Oxford (pp.151-174).
Lobeck, Anne (1995) Ellipsis: Functional heads, licensing, and identification. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
McCawley, James D (1982) Parentheticals and Discontinuous Structure. Linguistic Inquiry 13, 91-106.
Merchant, Jason (2001) The Syntax of Silence: Sluicing, Islands , and the Theory of Ellipsis. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Merchant, Jason (2003) Fragments and Ellipsis. To appear, Linguistics & Philosophy.
Stainton, Robert (1995) Non-sentential assertions and semantic ellipsis. Linguistics & Philosophy 18, 281-296.
Stainton, Robert (1998) Quantifier phrases, meaningfulness in isolation, and ellipsis. Linguistics & Philosophy 21, 311-340.
Potts, Chris (2002) The Syntax and Semantics of As-Parentheticals. NLLT 20, 623-689.
Sag, Ivan (1976) Deletion and logical form. PhD thesis, MIT.
Stowell, Tim (2003) (Parenthetically). Ms, UCLA.
Tancredi, Chris (1992) Deletion, Deaccenting, and Presupposition. PhD thesis, MIT.
Tomioka, Satoshi (1997) Focusing Effects and NP Interpretation in VP Ellipsis. PhD thesis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Philosophy of Language Workshop: Semantics in the Fregean Tradition

Terence Parsons

Wednesdays 3-6 in Dodd 399

The topic for Winter quarter will be semantics in the Fregean tradition, eventually focusing on the nature of Frege's hierarchies of indirect sense. Included will be discussion of theories of truth, of meaning, and of logic. Graduate students will lead discussion on some of the readings. Topics and readings may include:

Frege: Function and Concept, On Sense and Reference, 1902 letter from Frege to Russell

Carnap's discussion of Frege's semantics in Meaning and Necessary, chapter III.

T. Parsons "Frege's Hierarchies of Indirect Sense and the Paradox of Analysis," Midwest Studies in Philosophy VI, 1981, 37-57.

T Burge "Frege and the Hierarchy,"Synthese 40, 1979, 304-23. (Perhaps also some new material by Tyler.)

Truth and hierarchies in Carnap? in Russell?

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Fall 2003

Linguistics 251, "Readings  in Laboratory Phonology"

Linguistics 251, "Electroglottography"

Pat Keating

Phonetics Lab seminar room, MW 11-1.

As an experiment, and since this is the only phonetics or phonology proseminar course this year, I will be offering two separate topics under the rubric of this single course. Each topic will meet once a week. Students may enroll in one or both.* My preference for the day for each topic is indicated here, but if necessary this could be changed.

 Readings  in Laboratory Phonology. Preferred day: Monday. In this class we will read and discuss papers of interest (to be selected by the group) from the most recent volumes of the Laboratory Phonology conference proceedings series, plus possibly other similar papers. If anyone is submitting an abstract for LabPhon9 (due Oct. 15), we could discuss it in the group. Recommended prerequisite: Ling. 203 or equivalent. Requirement for credit (in addition to general participation): lead discussion of one paper in class.

Electroglottography. Preferred day: Wednesday. This will be primarily a lab class, concerned with the capabilities and use of the lab's new EGG system. EGG is used to study voice, including voice quality, but it has rarely if at all been applied to the study of linguistic voice quality variation. We will read the crucial EGG literature, learn to use the system, prepare a webpage on its use, and consider how it could be applied to linguistic questions. Anyone who intends to use the system should take or audit this class; recommended for anyone looking for a project to take to the 75th ASA meeting in May. Prerequisite: Ling. 204 or equivalent. Requirements for credit (in addition to general participation): Design an EGG experiment; contribute to the webpage.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about either topic.

* Linguistics 251, like all our proseminars, has two versions: 251A offers 4 units with letter grading, while 251B offers 2 units with S/U grading. If you will be taking either one of the two topics, enroll in 251B. If you will be taking both topics, enroll in 251A.


Spring 2003

Linguistics 209B, "Computational Linguistics II"

Currently scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 - 1:50, Public Policy 1329; subject to change based on scheduling requirements of participants.

The course will deal with mildly-context sensitive languages. One essential characteristic is that they are recognizable in polynomial time. The notion has been introduced by Joshi in an attempt to specify the amount of "non-context freeness" that is used in natural languages, which is far less than is allowed for by Type 1 languages.

Many grammar formalisms have been shown to be mildly context-sensitive, e.g. Linear Context Free Rewrite Systems, Multi-Component Tree Adjoining Grammars, Minimalist Grammars in the sense of Stabler. These three formalisms have been shown to be weakly equivalent, adding a natural point of convergence, which lies strictly between context free languages and Type 1 languages. It is widely believed that natural languages are mildly context-sensitive.

Although the content of the course is specified rather mathematically, we shall consider parsing issues and linguistic properties of these languages in equal detail.

Overview of the course.

Week 1+2. Definition of mildly-context sensitive languages. Discussion of the linguistic relevance: are all languages mildly-context sensitive? What does it mean if this is true or false?

Week 3+5. Characterization of PTIME-recognizable languages by Groenink (following Rounds). Introduction of Literal Movement Grammars.

Week 6+7. Linear Context Free Rewrite Systems, Multi-Component TAGs. Equivalence and polynomial time recognizability. Weak equivalence.

Week 8-10. Minimalist Grammars. Weak equivalence with MCTAGs/LCFRSs. Linguistic significance. Discussion of the differences between these formalisms.

 Readings. The first half of the course is covered by my manuscript

"Mathematics of Language", available electronically (please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for details). Further reading will be specified during the course.

Linguistics 251, "Field Methods for Studying Intonation"

Sun-Ah Jun

Monday/Wednesday 2-4 p.m.
Public Policy 1329.

I will be teaching a proseminar in Spring (Topics in Phonetics and Phonology, Ling 251) on field methods for studying intonation. We will learn how to develop an intonational phonology model of a language X by eliciting data from a native speaker. There is no prerequisite, but it is recommended that you have taken either Ling 204 (Experimental phonetics) or 211 (Intonation).

Linguistics 252, "Binding"

Daniel Buring and Edward Keenan

T Th 4-6pm
Rolfe 3115

This Spring quarter Ed Keenan & Daniel Buring will offer a Ling 252 seminar on Binding. The focus of the seminar will be on integrating anaphora patterns in the world's languages into current linguistic theory. The more theoretical part of the seminar will be led by Daniel and built around his book ms. The Syntax and Semantics of Binding Theory. The more typological part will be led by Ed looking at anaphora patterns in the world's languages. Basic prerequisites are Ling 200B and, at least preferably, 200C.

Questions concerning the relative role of case marking, voice, linear order and c-command will be prominent. Students will be required to elicit anaphora paradigms from speakers of a non-CE (Common European) language, present them in class, and write a (short) paper.

The first class meeting is Tuesday, April 1st, where we will discuss classical GB binding theory, zooming in in particular on the notion of `command', and crack some April Fool's jokes. The background reading for the former is Chapter 1 of Daniel's book; if you feel a little rusty about GB binding theory, you may also want to read the pertinent chapter in any introduction to syntax.

On April 3rd and 8th, the class conflicts with von Stechow's minicourse, so we won't meet. We'll continue on the 10th with a discussion of cross-linguistic binding domains (chapter 2 of D's book), and, in the week after, exempt anaphora (chapter 11). Further readings and topics will be negotiated and announced in class.

Daniel's book ms, which will be the background reading for the theoretical classes, is available for download from http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/buring/webpage/binding%20book/bookmain.html 

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Linguistics 252, "Modality, tense, and aspect: An introduction into the semantics of the verb"

Arnim Von Stechow

Wednesday, April 2nd, 3-6pm: Class #1, during the Philosophy of Language Workshop, Dodd Hall rm. 399
Thursday, April 3rd, 4-6pm: Class #2 (instead of Binding seminar), Rolfe 3115
Friday, April 4th, 2-5pm: Class #3, during the Syntax/Semantics Seminar Campbell Hall 2122
Monday, April 7th, 4-6pm: Class #4 Rolfe Hall 3114
Tuesday, April 8th, 4-6pm: Class #5 Rolfe Hall rm. 3115

Topics to be covered:

The course starts where (Heim and Kratzer, 1998) ends, i.e., with chapter 12 on intensional semantics. We will introduce the syntax and semantics of modals and verbs of attitudes, following (Fintel and Heim, 2000). In a second step we will introduce tense and aspect thus arriving at a comprehensive view of the interplay of tense and modality.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of Chapter 1-11 of (Heim and Kratzer, 1998) or of an equivalent introductory book into semantics. The basics will be shortly recapitulated.

Lecture 1. Repetition of the basic techniques of semantic interpretation within the system of Heim & Kratzer. Introduction of intensional semantics: Chapter 12 of (Heim and Kratzer, 1998).

Lecture 2. First half of (Fintel and Heim, 2000): Modal verbs as quantifiers over worlds, modal accessibility, attitude verbs as modal operators.

Lecture 3. Second half of (Fintel and Heim, 2000): de re, de dicto, scope, anaphora, modal predicates and argument structure, objects of transitive intensional verbs.

Lecture 4. Introducing tense and context dependency. I try to be compatible wit (Kaplan, 1977), I will distribute handouts introducing the notion of character and context. The theory of tense introduced will be compatible with (Schlenker, 1999).

Lecture 5. Aspect and Aktionsarten. Tenseless VPs are classified into different (Vendlerian) Aktionsarten (e.g. states, accomplishments, achievements, activities). All these behave differently when they are combined with so-called aspectual adverbs (in 10 minutes, for 5 minutes, since Tuesday). This lecture will partially talk about my own work: (Stechow, 2002 (to appear)), (Stechow, 2003), (Stechow, 2002), (Paslawska and Stechow, 2002).

Preparation: The most influential classic in Aktionsarten is (Vendler, 1967), (Dowty, 1979: chapter 3 and 6). To get an idea, what aspect is, read the introductory chapters of (Smith, 1991).


Dowty, David. 1979. Word Meaning and Montague Grammar: Synthese Language Library. Dordrecht: Reidel.
Fintel, Kai von, and Heim, Irene. 2000. Notes on Intensional Semantics. Ms. Cambridge, Mass.
Heim, Irene, and Kratzer, Angelika. 1998. Semantics in Generative Grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.
Kaplan, David. 1977. Demonstratives. An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics, and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals. In Themes from Kaplan (1989=, eds. Josef Almog, John Perry and Howard Wettstein, 481-564: Oxford University Press.
Paslawska, Alla, and Stechow, Arnim von. 2002. Perfect Readings in Russian. Ms. To appear in "The Perfect Book" (Alexiadou, Rathert, v. Stechow eds.).
Schlenker, Philippe. 1999. Propositional Attitudes and Indexicality: A Cross-Categorial Approach, MIT: Ph.D Dissertation.
Smith, C. 1991. The aspect parameter. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Stechow, Arnim von. 2002. Temporal Prepositional Phrases with Quantifiers: Some Additions to Pratt and Francez (2001). Linguistics and Philosophy 25:40 pages.
Stechow, Arnim von. 2002 (to appear). Binding by Verbs: Tense, Person and Mood under Attitudes. In The Syntax and Semantics of the Left Periphery, eds. H. Lohnstein and Susanne Trissler, 44. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Stechow, Arnim von. 2003. Feature Deletion under Semantic Binding: Tense, Person, and Mood under Verbal Quantifiers. Paper presented at NELS 33.
Vendler, Z. 1967. Linguistics in Philosophy. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

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Linguistics 254

Hilda Koopman

Hilda Koopman's proseminar will be centered around agreement, pied-piping, morphosyntax, spiced up with some inevitable verbal complexes. The class will meet once a week for 3 hours: either Wednesdays from 11-2, or Wednesday 2-5. More to follow.

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Philosophy 290: "Philosophy of Language Workshop: Common Ground"

Daniel Buring, Terry Parsons, and Philippe Schlenker

Wednesdays 3-6, Dodd Hall 399

The UCLA Philosophy of Language Workshop will meet at its regular time during Spring Quarter, on Wednesdays 3-6 in the Philosophy Common Room (Dodd 399). The central theme for this quarter will be Robert Stalnaker's notion of Common Ground (as applied to presupposition, questions, focus) and Paul Grice's notion of Implicature. We will look at how these notions are incorporated into semantic/pragmatic theories of natural language developed by linguists and philosophers. The workshop will be lead by Daniel Buring (Linguistics), Terry Parsons (Philosophy), and Philippe Schlenker (Linguistics).

Our first meeting will be a special session, which will coincide with the first class of a 5-day minicourse (sponsored by UCLA Linguistics) taught by Professor Arnim von Stechow of Tubingen University. The topic is Binding by Verbs and Adverbs: Modal and Tense Semantics. Our discussion of Common Ground & Implicature will thus begin on Wednesday of the second week of the quarter.

If you are interested in participating in the Workshop you should place yourself on the regular Workshop email list. To do this, send an email to < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text87980 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >; in the body of the email write

Subscribe LangWork-L

(Your name in brackets should consist of two parts separated by a space or by an underscore. There is no place for your email address; the server will use the email address that you send your request from.) All further details (such as weekly readings) will be publicized only through this email list.

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Winter 2003

Linguistics 217, Mathematical Structures in Language II

Marcus Kracht

This course is a continuation of Part I. The contents and level of the course can be accommodated to student's interests and needs. The emphasis will be on mastering the mathematics and the technical apparatus and on understanding the difficulties that beset different approaches rather than on particular solutions.

I propose the following topics for the course.

1.) Compositionality. We will look in depth at what compositionality means in formal and informal terms, what people have said about it and whether their proposals keep the promise. We shall propose a definition of compositionality that makes predictions about phrase structure and show that there exist (at least under this definition) weakly context free languages that have no context free compositional grammar. Furthermore, it will be shown that if a compositional context free grammar exists at all, then a Montague style grammar exists as well.

2.) Categorial Grammar. Following the discussion of compositionality, we shall introduce categorial grammar and type theory, and propose some versions of CG. These may include Montague Grammar and the AB-Calculus, Lambek--Calculus, Combinatory Categorial Grammar in various modes of presentation (natural deduction style, and sequent style). We shall see whether this or that grammar is actually compositional (which categorial grammars are often claimed without argument to be).

3.) Generalized Quantifiers. We shall follow up on Part 1 in discussing Generalized Quantifiers in some depth. Some will include some discussion of the boolean structure of the semantic universe (and discover where the universe has more than just boolean structure).

We shall see how they can be integrated into a grammar that is based on type theory.

Course requirements: There will be weekly take home exercises and a short oral exam (15-20 minutes) at the end of the term.

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Linguistics 254 [preliminary description]

 Carson Schutze

 Carson will be doing a 254 proseminar on Speech Errors (aka slips of the tongue) in winter quarter. We will read some of the classics in this area (many written at UCLA) as well as numerous recent works, to learn about 1) methods by which speech errors can be studied; 2) what they can tell us about the language production process; 3) what they can tell us about the systems of linguistic competence (morphology, phonology, syntax...).

The class is currently scheduled from 12-2pm on Tuesdays & Thursdays. There are no specific prerequisites, anyone in our graduate program should have the background necessary for this prosem. Watch for more details in January.

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Fall 2002

[Schlenker 207 ] [Zuraw 251 ] [Kracht/Stabler 254 ][Parsons 292A ]

Ling 207: Semantic Theory II

Philippe Schlenker

Wed 11-2

Prerequisites: Courses 200C ('Semantics I'), C180/C208 ('Mathematical Structures in Language I') or some course in logic (First-Order logic, rudiments of Modal Logic).

This course will be concerned with (i) intensional phenomena (tense, mood, attitude reports) and (ii) the foundations of formal pragmatics (definite and indefinite descriptions, presuppositions and implicatures). The course is designed for graduate students in linguistics, as well as graduate students in philosophy who wish to learn about natural language semantics.

After some introductory remarks on truth and paradox, we will start the first part of the course by extending to time and modality the tools developed in Semantic Theory I to analyze reference to individuals, especially anaphora and generalized quantification. Special attention will then be paid to attitude reports, which present problems of their own; we will focus in particular on the issue of De Re and so-called De Se readings (e.g. readings that are true only in case the agent has a thought in the first person). This will allow us to study in greater detail some properties of tense that specifically affect attitude reports (Sequence of Tense phenomena and Double Access Readings). Time permitting, we will then consider briefly the semantics of mood and conditionals.

In the second part of the course, we will discuss topics that fall under the label 'formal pragmatics'. Building on the tools developed in the first part, we revisit the semantics and pragmatics of definite and indefinite descriptions, with special reference to their scopal properties. We will then discuss presuppositions and how they are computed (presupposition projection), as well as implicatures (esp. implicature projection).

Note: In the future we are planning to offer Ling 207 in two versions, in alternate years. One version, devoted largely to intensional semantics, will be roughly similar to the class offered this quarter. The other version will be primarily concerned with the syntax/semantics interface, somewhat along the lines of Heim & Kratzer's textbook 'Semantics in Generative Grammar'. All this remains to be confirmed, however, and we will revisit this issue towards the end of the quarter.

[go back to index for Fall 2002 ]

Linguistics 251A/B "Loanword phonology"

Kie Zuraw


Time TR 12:00-1:50 No class on Thursday, October 10
Place Bunche 3161
Course ID 251A: 653382200 (4.0 units, letter grading)
251B: 653383200 (2.0 units, S/U grading)

Instructor Kie Zuraw
Office Campbell 2102S
Phone TBA
Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Office hours TBA

1. Description and approximate outline

When cultures come into contact, along with food, music, clothing, and religious ideas, words are exchanged. Because of the diversity of the world’s phonologies, foreign words typically contain sounds, sound sequences, and prosody that must undergo ‘repair’ if they are to be usable in the receiving language. Because these foreign sound structures were likely absent from the data speakers encountered during acquisition of their native language, adapting loanwords requires speakers to apply their implicit phonological knowledge to novel situations, revealing aspects of the grammar that are underdetermined by the native-language learning data and are presumably the residue of the grammar’s initial (pre-learning) state and of learning strategies. The treatment of loanwords should therefore tell us something about universal grammar that is not evident from looking at the native phonology alone.

-Theories of loan adaptations

When a foreign word violates native-language phonotactics, how is a ‘repair’ chosen? Is a rule chosen from a universal repertoire (and somehow evaluated against other rules that would also do the job)? Does the ranking of previously irrelevant constraints come into play (and if so, where does that ranking come from)? Is the foreign pronunciation compared to candidate repaired versions to find the closest perceptual match? Is some form of analogy to native words and existing loans used? We will examine the evidence for and against (versions of) these proposals, all of which hold implications for the grammar that go beyond loan phonology.

-Loanword participation in alternations and morphology

Beyond deciding how to repair a foreign word so that it may be pronounced in isolation, speakers must decide whether a loan should participate in various alternations, and how it should be treated by phonologically intrusive morphology such as reduplication and infixation.

-Assignment of loans to an inflectional class

In order to receive inflection, a foreign word often must be assigned to an inflectional class. How does similarity to existing words affect the choice of inflectional class? Do loans have a greater tendency than non-loans to join the ‘default’ inflectional class?

-Etymological layers (core & periphery)

Both in isolation and with respect to alternations, loans often violate phonotactics more freely than native words do. How is it possible for different words in the same lexicon to be treated differently by the grammar?

-Loanwords as filtered through the speech community

Established loans are not the result of one individual’s seat-of-the-pants decision about how to pronounce a word, but rather are filtered through the speech community. We’ll discuss the evidence from loans bearing on a model of how interactions between speakers and hearers shape individuals’ lexicons.

-Phonological selection of loans

Research in first-language acquisition finds that children’s early vocabularies are often biased towards words with certain phonological properties. Preliminary data on loanword vocabularies suggests something similar in adults’ selection of words to import (or in the speech community’s selection of words to retain). We will scrutinize this finding and attempt to explain it.

Not all the questions raised above will be answered, but I hope to make some progress.

2. Prerequisite

Linguistics 200A or permission of instructor

3. Requirements

251B (2 units)

· Read and reflect on readings before class
· Contribute to discussions
· Present one article to the class

251A (4 units)

· Read and reflect on readings before class

· Contribute to discussions
· Present two articles to the class
· Write a short paper analyzing a set of loanword data and discussing its theoretical implications

4. Readings

Required readings will be made available in a form to be announced (probably a bound reader at a local copy shop).

You may choose your article(s) to present in class from a list that I will circulate, or you may find an article that’s not on the list.

[go back to index for Fall 2002 ]


Linguistics 254A "Formal Analyses of 'Movement'"

Marcus Kracht, Edward Stabler

Fall 2002, MW 2-4

Some, but not all, discontinous dependencies are often assumed to be "movement relations," but the variety of proposals is bewildering. This class will study some prominent ideas, with the goal of making some of them clear enough, at least in their fundamentals, to allow comparison and empirical assessment.

The tendency in the literature is to adopt some assumptions about movement and then to show that an analysis of a particular phenomenon in some particular language can be provided. But sometimes when there is a new idea about movement, it is relevant to consider more general questions too, like:

i. Can analyses with the new idea be "translated" into essentially similar analyses based on other assumptions? If not, where does the translation fail?

ii. Does the idea allow "simpler" analyses of all constructions (with a relevant notion of "simpler")?

iii. Does the idea have consequences with respect to what sequences of morphemes can be defined?

Five decades of linguistic research, together with recent formal work, have provided tools and results that allow a deeper understanding of questions like these than was ever possible before. Particular attention will be given to ways of addressing basic questions like the following:

* Are there reasons to think that really movement relations should all> be treated as relations among elements of a "chain"?

* Is there evidence that movements leave "traces"?

* Is there evidence that movements are always "local" (in some sense), with apparent "unboundedness" deriving from multiple moves? Could there be a "unified" account of all the "island effects"?

* Is there evidence in favor of theories that have no head movement, but only phrasal movement? Or is there evidence for rejecting head movement in favor of a "mirroring" spell-out function?

* Why is it sometimes, but only rarely, proposed that binding relations might really be movement relations? How could this work?

* What is the semantic significance of the "move" relation?

* Are there fundamental, important differences between "move," "attract," and "probe"?

* Can the computational complexity of different proposals be assessed?

Is it empirically relevant?

Prerequisites: Some syntax (Lx 206 or equivalent) and some basic math linguistics (Lx 180/208, or 185/209, or equivalent)

Requirements: Grades (for students taking the class for a full 4 units) will be based on occasional short homeworks, participation in discussion, and a short final squib on a relevant topic of your choice.

 Readings: Readings will be taken from the current literature, with selections from the following list -- to be adjusted based on class background and interests:

1. Quick review of some basic issues: movement-vs-chains,derivations-vs-constraints, etc (Chomsky,Kayne,Brody,...)

2. the formal derivational models of Stabler, Groenink et al.

3. the formal constraint-based models of Rogers, Kracht et al.

4. Pesetsky et al. on chains and spell-out; Kracht on multi-dominance

5. Brody on head movement, affix hopping, and "mirror theory"; Kobele's formal model

6. Szabolcsi&Koopman, Mahajan, et al. against head movement

7. Kayne, Richards et al. on movement and binding

8. Chomsky, G"artner et al. on probe vs. attract vs. move

9. historical and modern perspectives from on the semantic significance of move (including esp: Chomsky et al. on "do

transformations preserve meaning?")

10. Do we really need earliness principles, defaults, or trans-derivational constraints?

[go back to index for Fall 2002 ]

Linguistics 292A "Event Semantics and Pluralities"

Terry Parsons

meets Tuesdays from 3 to 6 in Public Policy 2292

This Fall the topic of Ling 292A will be "Event Semantics and Pluralities". The primary text for the course will be Fred Landman's book Events and Plurality (Kluwer, 2000), and our discussions will primarily follow the order of his text.

The first three chapters of this book describe what is now a fairly well-known kind of semantics for English sentences that utilizes underlying quantification over events, and makes appeal to thematic relations. This is often called a neo-Davidsonian semantics because of Davidson's role in originating the underlying events part. The sentence "Brutus stabbed Caesar" (ignoring tense) is given a logical form such as "for some event e, e is a stabbing & the AGENT of e = Brutus & the THEME of e = Caesar". (The thematic relations here are "AGENT" and "THEME".) Landman develops a version of this theory that criticizes but mostly agrees with that developed in my 1990 book.

The next two chapters discuss how to give a semantics for plurals in English. At issue are what kinds of entities must be assumed to exist (individuals, groups of individuals, pluralities of individuals, and of groups, and of combinations of individuals and groups) and how to link these up with sentences, so as to provide correct accounts of century-old cases ("The apostles are twelve") and contemporary puzzles ("Ten hens laid thirty eggs"). In Landman's view these examples should all be handled within a framework of underlying events.

The sixth chapter puts the pieces together and gives a theoretical account of a fragment of language that includes all of the above. (Chapters 7-10 are advanced topics that we will probably not get to in class. They constitute a good source of paper topics.)

Although everything we discuss will be fully explained from scratch, some of the explanations are terse, and it would be best if students had some background in formal semantics, such as the material that is covered in Semantics I, or in a semantics text such as Heim & Kratzer or Chierchia & McConnell-Ginet. (You could also make do with only a course in set theory.)

Students taking the course for credit will be expected to share in giving expositions of parts of the reading (e.g. of readings in addition to Landman's book), and will be required to write a course paper, typically one that addresses some problem that is raised in the course of our discussion or in one of the readings. Auditors are welcome.

[go back to index for Fall 2002 ]

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Spring 2002

Indo-European Studies / Linguistics M150: "Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics"

Raimo Anttila

class meets TR 11:00A-12:15P in PUB POL 1343

The Indo-European languages (ancient and modern), including their relationships, chief characteristics, writing systems, and sociolinguistic contexts, nature of the reconstructed protolanguage and proto-culture. The course will concentrate on phonology and morphology, with emphasis of some of the major languages (Sanskrit, Greek, Germanic [Gothic], Latin)

No formal prerequisites or Indo-European languages other than English.

The main text will be B. Fortson's Indo-European Language and Culture, available at ASUCLA.

Linguistics 213C

"Issues at the Grammar­Processing Interface"

Carson Schuetze

Tuesday & Thursday 2-4pm, Haines A20

[Note: for those who may be worried about a conflict with Anoop's prosem on Thursday, he will be considering changing the time.]

The focus of 213C this quarter is on issues that arise when we try to relate the representations and procedures posited in grammatical theory to those relevant for real-time language comprehension and production. We take the null hypothesis to be that the processor and the grammar are well-suited to each other, and therefore that evidence about one of these systems should be taken to bear rather directly on the other. This leads us to focus on issues where prevailing views of the grammar fit poorly with prevailing views of the processor, or where internal evidence for choosing among competing theories is scarce.

Prereq: 200B or equivalent. Recommended: 232, 206.

Following are the titles of the major topics to be covered. Email me if you'd like to look over the syllabus.

Parsing and left-to-right derivation

Parsing empty categories and syntactic formalisms: PPT vs. GPSG

Effects of parsing pressures on grammatical word orders

Derivational morphology, semantic (non)compositionality, lexical representation and access

Production of subject-verb agreement (errors)

Production architecture, speech errors and Distributed Morphology

Other content/function separations in grammar and processing

Linguistics 218: Mathematical structures in language II

Ed Stabler, Ed Keenan

Lecture 12-2 TR in Bunche3164

This class aims to develop an inventory of structural invariants of human languages. This requires a mathematical conception of language structure which is independent of the specific notational conventions employed in the various formalisms used in current theories.

Our "natural history" knowledge of the range of phenomena distinctive to natural language has grown enormously over the last quarter century, but this has led to quite complex descriptive grammars in which it is difficult to distinguish notational conventions from substantive, empirically supported claims about human grammars. The universals can be lost in the conventions and details.

The current project builds on that work in the extremely simple framework we call "Bare Grammar" (BG), focussing on questions like this:

(1) What kinds of semantic properties and relations are structurally invariant in grammars? Properties like is logically true/false and relations like entails are demonstrably not. The Anaphor/Antecedent (AA) configurations in each language arguably are, and this fact can be stated without commitment to the idea that the configuration is the same in all languages. In BG we develop methods to show that this kind of claim is compatible grammars of different languages that are non-trivially different in many respects. Now given that AA and entailment are both semantic relations, what makes them different? Why should one be structurally invariant, the other not?

(2) What is the universal characterization of "grammatical morpheme" ("function word")? And what is their universal role in a grammar? Do they always denote semantic constants? What allows their precise inventory vary so much from language to language?

(3) Are there universal intrinsic syntactic properties characteristic of standard grammatical categories (S, VP, NP,...)? If we had a generative grammar of English and rewrote it replacing the category symbols with C1, C2, ... arbitrarily could the linguist structurally tell which Ci was the original S? The linguistic community at large has no simple answer to this query. This is boggling, and pushes some to think that major categories are identified in part semantically. (Declarative Ss are expressions that are true or false,...). But the present project proposes a purely syntactic answer.

(4) Given the lexicon and structure building operations of a grammar G, can we predict that certain changes in G are relatively easy to effect and others difficult? Can we say in structural terms why Passive could be quietly lost in English but its loss in Tagalog would be tumultuous (forcing changes in how relative clauses are formed, reflexives distributed, ...). Can we in any structural way describe how changes in learner's grammars could successively approximate the community's grammar (modulo certain independent maturational changes)?

Linguistics 251A: Phonological Acquisition

Bruce Hayes

Class meets Tues., Thurs. 2-4 in Public Policy 1264

A trend in recent phonological research is to explore how phonological theory can illuminate the problem of acquisition, and also how acquisition data can be made to bear on phonological theory. The purpose of this proseminar is to cover the highlights of the empirical acquisition literature, to discuss ideas from the theoretical acquisition literature (including learnability studies), and to relate the theoretical and empirical sides as much as possible.

It is useful, I think, to distinguish three of the child's tasks: (a) to discover the ambient adult system of contrast and phonotactics, during late infancy; (b) develop a personal phonological mapping to produce outputs that gradually come to resemble adult speech, during toddlerhood; (c) to apprehend the system of morphology and phonological alternation. The course is organized around these three tasks, as follows.


Empirical studies

Theoretical studies

Discovering the adult system

Eimas et al.: and innate predisposition for certain phoneme boundaries
The emergence of phonology in late infancy:

  • Kuhl on the formation of phonetic categories
  • Werker et al. on acquiring phonemic contrast
  • Jusczyk et al. on acquiring phonotactics

Guenther: modeling the formation of phonetic categories
OT models: learning phonotactics by ranking Faithfulness low (Prince, Tesar, me)
Stochastic phonotactics: Coleman and Pierrehumbert

The child's own mapping

Smith's classic study of Amahl
Other children (Macken, Menn, Bernhardt and Stemberger)
Near-neutralization in children and adults: Macken and Barton

Are child constraints the same as adult constraints, and if not, why not?
Personal phonologies, personal lexicons (Menn, Labov)
Modeling the match to adults: recent work by C. Levelt, Boersma, Curtin and Zuraw
Pressure from phonetics: can it be seen in its pure form in children?

Morphology and alternation

Berko and her successor Wug testers
Clues to what the child knows
Pinker et al. on the U-shaped curve

The preference for highly-ranked OO correspondence
Algorithms for discovering morphemes: Goldsmith, Baroni
Algorithms for discovering alternations: Albright and Hayes


Ling. 251, Spring 2002

Patricia Keating

Speech Production

MW 2-4 in Campbell 2101K

The core subareas of phonetics are speech production, acoustics, and perception. Linguistics 204 covers acoustics and perception, and this course treats production, which is an area of specialization for our lab. Some time will be spent on laboratory techniques available in our lab, but the focus of the course will be reading recent papers in order to understand current issues in the field.

Assigned readings will be in the course box in the Reading Room. For 2 units, a brief class presentation of an article, and add material to the phonetic lab’s website about some technique; for 4 units, also design an individual project.


4/1 1-1 phonetic description: Xrays
4/3 1-2 phonetic description: palatography read SOWL Ch. 2

4/8 2-1 static palatography read lab’s webpage on this
4/10 2-2 typology & explanation read Ohala 1983

4/15 3-1 typology: aerodynamics read Cho & Ladefoged 1999
4/17 3-2 aerodynamic model read Westbury & Keating 1986

4/22 4-1 aerodynamics lab read Ladefoged draft chapter
4/24 4-2 phonetic description: aerodynamics

Rest of course: read recent speech production articles, mostly from J. Phonetics and JASA, and from the 1999 Hardcastle and Hewlett book on coarticulation. To include some or all of:

Beautemps, Badin, Bailly, “Linear degrees of freedom in speech production: Analysis of cineradio- and labio-film data and articulatory-acoustic modeling”, JASA 109(5) (2001)

Chen, Stevens, Kuo, Chen, “Contributions of the study of disordered speech to speech production models”, J. Phonetics 28(3) (2000)

Fougeron, “Articulatory properties of initial segments in several prosodic constituents in French”, J. Phonetics 29(2) (2001)

Hanson, Stevens, Kuo, Chen, Slifka, “Towards models of phonation”, J. Phonetics 29(4) (2001)

Jackson, Espy-Wilson, Boyce, “Verifying a vocal tract model with a closed side-branch”, JASA 109(6) (2001)

Kaburagi and Honda, “Dynamic articulatory model based on multidimensional invariant-feature task representation”, JASA 110(1) (2001)

Kent, Kent, Weismer, Duffy, “What dysarthrias can tell us about the neural control of speech”, J. Phonetics 28(3) (2000)

Krakow, “Physiological organization of syllables: a review”, J. Phonetics 27(1) (1999)

Okadome and Honda, “Generation of articulatory movements by using a kinematic triphone model”, JASA 110(1) (2001)

Perkell, Guenther, Lane, Matthies, Perrier, Vick, Wilhelms-Tricarico, Zandipour, “A theory of speech motor control and supporting data from speakers with normal hearing and with profound hearing loss”, J. Phonetics 28(3) (2000)

Piterman, Munhall, JASA 110(3) (2001)

Recasens and Pallares, “Coarticulation, assimilation and blending in Catalan consonant clusters”, J. Phonetics 29(3) (2001)

Shaiman, “Kinematics of compensatory vowel shortening: the effect of speaking rate and coda composition on intra- and inter-articulatory timing”, J. Phonetics 29(1) (2001)

Simpson, “Dynamic consequences of differences in male and female vocal tract dimensions”, JASA 109(5) (2001)

Stonge, Davis, Douglas, NessAiver, Gullapalli, Levine, Lundberg, “Modeling the motion of the internal tongue from tagged cine-MRI images”, JASA 109(6) (2001)

Tabain, “Coarticulation in CV syllables: a comparison of Locus Equation and EPG data”, J. Phonetics 28(2) (2000)

Whalen, Gick, Kumada, Honda, “Cricothyroid activity in high and low vowels: exploring the automaticity of intrsin F0”, J. Phonetics 27(2) (1999)

Zsiga, “Phonetic alignment constraints: consonant overlap and palatalization in English and Russian”, J. Phonetics 28(1) (2000)

Ling. 251, Spring 2002

Phonological Theory III

Donca Steriade

This course surveys correspondence theory. This is the branch of phonology studying the nature of conditions that measure the similarity of two related forms (such as input and output, base and derivative, base and reduplicant). Correspondence theory originates in pre-OT days when linguists like Allan Sommerstein, Ronnie Wilbur, Sandy Chung and Luigi Burzio (in his pre-OT incarnation) were first led to formulate conditions mandating input recoverability or similarity between related forms. It has become a central part of phonological theory with the advent of OT. Within OT, the theory of correspondence has the primary function of defining the limits within which markedness constraints will affect an input. Extensions of correspondence provide the basis of the OT treatment for phenomena such as (list here bears pre-OT labels): cyclic phonology, a subset of level ordering effects, derived environment conditions, opaque rule interactions, base-reduplicant identity.

Despite heavy reliance on an ever-expanding set of correspondence conditions, basic issues in the theory of correspondence remain unresolved and sometimes unaddressed. Among these are the following:

1. What are the phonological entities that stand in correspondence? Segments, features, syllables, all of the above and more?

2. Can some/all correspondence constraints be induced from the data?

3. Are their relative rankings sometimes predictable?

4. Which pairs of forms stand in correspondence? For instance, does a root stand in correspondence with any and all of its derivatives? Or the root and its immediate derivatives only? Can two co-derivatives of the same root stand in correspondence? When? Do affixal allomorphs stand in correspondence with each other? What string is the base in a reduplicated form? Most of these issues involve the internal structure of paradigms, something that morphologists ought to settle among themselves: but the popularity of output to output correspondence conditions makes this class of questions important in a phonological context.

5. Correspondence constraints are inherently symmetric but their empirically observed effects are asymmetric: derivative shapes are changed to make the derivatives look like their base, but base shapes are almost never changed to make them look like their derivatives. How do we explain this fact and how do we let the analysis reflect it?

The course does not promise to deliver answers to all these questions but some guesses will be formulated and perhaps some progress on all fronts will emerge from the discussion.

What the course will deliver is:

a. a survey of the basic mechanisms of correspondence theory as applied to I-O correspondence.

b. an exemplification of classical I-O, O-O correspondence theory (McCarthy and Prince 1995) carried out through the analysis of reduplication.

c. a survey of the results of lexical phonology and of various attempts to recapture these results in OT

d. a discussion of the issues arising from the application of correspondence theory to new domains: the correspondence between a loanword and its source form in another language, the correspondence between forms that are not linguistically identical (e.g. rhyming pairs), novel correspondence conditions emerging from the study of language games and secret languages.

Click here for full syllabus (Word document)


Linguistics 252A

Antisymmetric Syntax

Anoop Mahajan

Schedule: 2-5; Thursday

Location: Rolfe 3127

Course plan: We will survey and discuss Kayne's research program starting with Antisymmetry book and then discussing some of his more recent work (especially his work on prepositions as complementizers).

Course readings will be made available in the reading room.

Winter 2002

Intonation and Meaning

Daniel Buring and Christine Gunlogson

Class meets Tuesday & Thursday 12-2pm in Bunche 3137.

We will try to convince you that intonation and its relation to meaning (semantic or pragmatic) is among THE most interesting topics in current research, and that understanding them sheds light on a wide range of phenomena in all areas of linguistics. As it happens, it is also the primary research interest of both instructors (who picked their topics after reaching that conclusion, of course).

The tools introduced in this class are from very different boxes; semantics, pragmatics, syntactic, and phonological, but we will have them all ready for you. Once all bases are covered, we will go on to present current work on various issues around intonation and meaning, including - surprise! - our respective own. Among other things we intend to show that while intonational meaning (i.e. the meaning facets expressed via intonation) is for the most part not truth-conditional, the methods developed in truth-conditional semantics can be successfully employed here as well.

Hopefully, you will find that despite the notorious vagueness of the topics, there is quite some firm ground already, and much more to be discovered (and worked on!).

We will try to keep prerequisites to a minimum, but basic knowledge of lambda-calculus, possible world semantics, and syntax will be useful. So will be familiarity with an intonational transcription system such as ToBI, which is the topic of Sun-Ah's C211 in the same quarter (in fact, if there is overlap in the audience, we will attempt to establish some feedback between the two classes, including, possibly, joint term papers).

If you need to know more yet, I attach a course description below.

****** Abstract ******

This course explores an area at the intersection of pragmatics, phonology, semantics and syntax: the meaning of intonational marking. We will investigate theories dealing with categories of meaning that are realized prosodically in English, attending both to contrasts related to accent placement and focus domain formation (roughly the first part of the course) and to distinctions involving phrasing, choice of intonational contour, and the interaction with context and sentence type (the second part).

Basic issues to be addressed include:
. What are the units of intonational meaning?
. What is the appropriate methodology to determine them?
. Can intonational meaning be truth conditional?
. What aspects of the context need to be modelled to capture intonational meaning?
. What formal tools are useful in characterizing intonational meaning?

****** Description ******

The course consists of four basic units:

I. From Accent to Focus
. prosodic factors of English intonation
. the accent-focus relation
. accent domain formation and focus projection
. question-answer sequences

II. The Meaning of Focus
. association with focus
. alternative semantics
. givenness

III. Topic
. phrasing and accent types
. notions of topic
. discourse structure
. contrastive topics

IV. Rising Intonation and Sentence Types
. intonational categories and speech acts
. rising intonation and questioning
. intonation across sentence types


Recent Developments in Syntactic Theory

Dominique Sportiche and Tim Stowell

Wednesdays 2-5pm

Rolfe 3105

In the first part we will

i. present and discuss Chomsky's two most recent papers: Derivation by Phase (1999) and Beyond Explanatory Adequacy (2001)

No prior knowledge of earlier papers within the minimalist program are required.

The first couple of meetings will present the basic background necessary to read and understand these papers (This will include a presentation of the central architectural ideas as well as a presentation of the more recent, more technical proposals regarding the notion "subject of a clause", how movement operates and the working of agreement.

ii. We will discuss in some detail the empirical basis for some of Chomsky's proposals

This will include surveying the properties of expletive/associate constructions (existential constructions, etc..) and some alternative treatments (most particularly Moro's), various properties of agreement (agreement in expletive /associate constructions; quirky subject constructions and agreement in quirky subject constructions (mostly in Icelandic); agreement with pre and post head phrases).

In the second part, we will focus on a couple of problems in the theory of movement and related issues in the theory of phrase structure and what these problems imply for minimalist assumptions

The two main problems for movement theory we will discuss are:

i. the status of remnant movement,

ii. cases multiple applications of movement in structures involving co-ordination and/or parasitic gaps.

Some of the papers from the literature we plan to discuss include (a) recent works by Gereon Müller on "repair-driven" remnant movement, for which he offers an optimality-theoretic analysis; (b) right node raising (Wilder 2000), and overt versus covert movement of quantifier phrases (Kayne 1998), (c) recent works by Marga Reis on parenthetical main clauses in German; (c) recent and older work on appositive relative clauses (e.g. Safir 1987).


Spring 2001

Phonology Seminar: Topics in Targeted Constraints

Colin Wilson

TR 12-2 [current time, potentially changeable]

The first few weeks of this course will trace the idea that phonological processes are motivated by phonotactic constraints back to the classic papers of Kisseberth (1970), Sommerstein (1974), Singh (1987), and others. The most prominent instantiation of this idea, of course, is Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993), and the rest of the course will focus on some problems that arise for OT and the solution I proposed in my dissertation. The problems fall into two classes:

(1) Typological restrictiveness. A main claim of OT is that every ranking of the universal constraints should correspond to a possible language. However, many of the patterns that are predicted by standard, and seemingly sensible, constraints are unattested. (Steriade 2000 addresses this problem under the heading 'Too Many Solutions'.) To take an extreme example, if there is a positional faithfulness constraint that applies to Onset consonants, then the theory as it stands predicts pathological mappings such as /ap+da/ -> [at.pa], in which the two obstruents metathesize so that the entire output cluster can be made voiceless without changing the voicing specification of the obstruent in Onset position.

(2) Phonological opacity. As has been discussed most extensively by McCarthy (1999), cases in which one process counterfeeds or counterbleeds another process pose a general problem for OT. For example, if a process that palatalizes alveolars before high vowels is counterfed by a process that deletes vowels word-finally, then there will be mappings of the form /kati/ -> [katS] ('tS' standing for the postalveolar affricate). But in the standard formulation of OT, this mapping should always be less harmonic than /kati/ -> [kat], which satisfies all the same markedness constraints and is more faithful.

I will argue that these two problems are related, and that they receive a common solution if markedness constraints are targeted. The fundamental principle of the theory of targeted constraints is as follows:

Maximal similarity principle

With respect to a candidate that violates it, a targeted constraint prefers only the most similar candidate that better-satisfies it.

Targeted constraints share formal properties of both rules and constraints, provide a general alternative to positional faithfulness, and are sufficient to account for opaque interactions. The notion of similarity that is relevant for defining such constraints appears to be that of perceptual similarity in the sense of Steriade (1997, 2000) and others.

Targeted constraints will be compared to other proposals that address one of the two problems above, including: the positional faithfulness theories of Beckman (1998), Lombardi (1999), among others; the proposal that the P-map universally fixes the ranking of certain faithfulness constraints (Steriade 2000); and the approaches to opacity of McCarthy (1999), Goldrick & Smolensky (1999), and Ito & Mester (1998). Empirical phenomena to be discussed include: consonant cluster simplification, assimilation (both local and unbounded), dissimilation, transparent vowels, and processes that are conditioned by segments on both sides of the affected segment (e.g. 'double-sided assimilation'). For the more computationally-oriented among us, we will also discuss the formalization of optimization with targeted constraints, which involves construction of an asymmetric relation by repeated application of set union and transitive closure.

The final weeks of the course will turn to issues in learning. I will argue that, with minimal modifications of the Tesar & Smolensky (2000) learning algorithm, targeted constraints solve the subset problem as it applies to learning of phonotactic distributions (Hayes 1999, Prince & Tesar 1999) and allow opaque interactions to be learned given the correct input/ output mappings.

*Despite the optimistic tone of the preceding paragraphs, it is hoped that the course will also bring into focus many of the remaining problems, both formal and empirical, for the proposed theory.


Winter 2001

Hilda Koopman

Seminar on Remnant Movement.

In this seminar, I will be pursuing two goals:

1. Situate recent work on remnant movement within the history of the field, familiarize students with (some of) the remnant movement literature, and discuss particular theoretical issues that arise within remnant movement approaches. (First half of the quarter)

2. Depending on the interests of the participants, focus in depth on one particular subject amongst the following possibilities: verbal complexes, small clauses, imperatives, demonstratives, wh-questions, or complexity filters. (Second half of the quarter)

The seminar is currently scheduled for Thursday afternoons. Since some students who would like to attend cannot make it at that time, I would like to find a time (a 3 hour slot once a week) that arranges everyone. Contact me, if you are interested, or have any particular questions, so that we can set up a time.


Fall 2000

Experimental Phonology (Colin Wilson, Ling 251AB.2, Tuesday/Thursday 10-12, Campbell 2122a)

In this course, we will examine the ways in which various researchers have brought experimental results to bear on issues in phonological theory (including, but not limited to, the degree to which lexical representations are underspecified, the cognitive status of the Obligatory Contour principle, the perceptual bases of phonological processes, and the initial and final states of grammatical knowledge). In addition to papers that are self-identified as experimental phonology, readings will be drawn from the primary literature in psycholinguistics (esp. spoken word recognition), phonetics, and language acquisition. The discussions will not focus on any particular phonological theory, but familiarity with general phonological concepts (e.g. underspecification, phonotactics, neutralization, licensing) and with both rule- and constraint- based grammatical formalisms will be assumed. Participants are not expected to be versed in the theories and methodologices of psycholinguistics. There are two requirements for the course. All participants are expected to do the readings and come prepared to discuss their relevance for phonological theory, with particular emphasis on (i) the assumptions that link experimental results to theoretical claims and (ii) the degree to which alternative accounts are considered and ruled out. Those taking the course for credit are required to design an experiment (i.e. identify a phonological issue that is amenable to experimental investigation, review the relevant literature, describe the methodology and stimuli that would be used in the experiment, and work through the theoretical implications of logically-possible patterns of results).


Linguistics 252A, Topics in Syntax and Semantics

Daniel Buring, MW 2:00P-3:50P, Bunche 3117

(from an email message sent to LINGDEPT)

Making my first virtual appearance in this department, i'd like to announce that the semantics seminar in the fall quarter will be on...

...Plurals !

It is scheduled to meet MW 2-4pm in Bunche 3117. First meeting will be on Monday, 10/2.

I am planning to gear the class towards the interests and particular backgrounds of the participants. But some topics that came to my mind are:

. review of 'standard' NP semantics
. the basic formal tools to model plurality in the semantics (set based approaches, mereology based approaches, event based approaches, covers...
. scope and distributivity
. reciprocals
. plurals and binding theory

If you're interested in participating, just show up at the first meeting!




251A. Topics in Phonetics and Phonology: Syllables

Donca Steriade

We will meet Monday 11 in Conference room but we may decide to move to a different time (place) as there are so far two students who cannot make it at the current time. If you cannot come Monday but are interested send me a message indicating your good times and intentions (as to whether you wish to take the class for 2 or 4 units).

In this class we investigate the following questions:

(1) What is the empirical basis for phonological statements regarding syllable division?
(2) How does the linguist choose among alternative syllabic parses?
(3) How does the native speaker discover which parses are the ones "in use" in his language?
(4) Do the linguist's choices and criteria coincide with those of the native speaker?
(5) If they do not coincide, what are the consequences for phonological analysis?

We'll spend one or two sessions time reviewing the question in (2) but we will devote most of the time discussing the evidence that bears on (3) and (4).

Course requirements:

For 2 units: attend classes, do readings and participate in discussion
For 4 units: class presentation of a topic (after week 6), write up of presentation or, alternatively, original research project carried out, presented in class at end of term and written up.

Names below refer to papers we will discuss collectively or whose results I plan to summarize. Complete references available Monday.

Week 1 Where does knowledge of syllable division come from?
The linguist's inferences
Juncture information useable by syllable learners:
Nakatani and Dukes, Quené, Price

Week 2 Phonotactically based division:
Pulgram, Kahn (Lebrun, Bell)
A partial inference hypothesis

Week 3 Syllable division for English, Dutch, Hindi VCV:
Treiman&Danis, Derwing, Schiller, Ohala
Syllable division for English, French VCCV
Treiman&Zukowsky, Dumay, Content&Frauenfelder

Week 4 Syllable division for Polish VCCV
Dubiel; Bethin
Language games and syllable division: English

Week 5 Games continued
Mohanan, Breen
Summary so far

Week 6 Syllable-internal constituency in English
Syllable constituency in Italian and Spanish: Bertinetto

Week 7 Syllables in speech perception and lexical access
Mehler & Ségui
Syllables in perception and access: the English case
Cutler, Mehler, Ségui; Frauenfelder &Content

Week 8 Articulatory correlates of syllable position
Articulatory correlates continued

Week 9 Summary so far
Learning segmental vs. syllable based descriptions

Week 10 Resyllabification
Readings TBA

Course conclusions


Romance Linguistics and Literatures 255: Topics in Romance Syntax. (2 or 4 units)

Adriana Belletti & Luigi Rizzi

This course addresses certain fundamental structural processes of Romance syntax. The adopted viewpoint is what may be called the "cartographic perspective", namely the detailed study of the fine-grained structural components of syntactic representations. The following topics will be addressed: - The structure of the complementizer system, with special reference to the positions occupied by the interrogative and relative operators, and the properties of topic and focus constructions and adverb preposing. - Verb-argument agreement phenomena, with special reference to past participle agreement. - The structural and interpretive properties of subject inversion. - Properties of clitic systems. This course presupposes some familiarity with the Principles and Parameters approach and Minimalism.


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