Medeiros and Keshet at CLS 47


By ekeshet
Sep 19, 2011 Bookmark and Share

David Medeiros and Ezra Keshet presented papers at the 47th meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society in April 2011. David presented 

A morpho-syntactic account of embedded imperatives

In this paper, I link syntactic embedding of imperatives to rich imperative morphology, examining a number of languages but most specifically Ancient Greek. It has long been recognized that Ancient Greek allows syntactic embedding of imperatives while English does not (Goodwin (1875), Gildersleeve (1900), Rivero and Terzi (1995)). I explain the contrast between languages (such as Ancient Greek) that allow syntactic embedding of imperatives and those which do not (such as English) within the independently motivated theory of Feature Transfer (Chomsky 2008). Extending Feature Transfer to this domain helps explain the difference with respect to syntactic embedding, adding minimal complexity to the learning task. The analysis also adopts and deduces aspects of Zanuttini?s (2008) proposal regarding English imperatives, and additionally examines data from languages such as Kobon and Bhojpuri.

And Ezra presented

Contrastive Focus and Paycheck Pronouns

Paycheck pronouns are often analyzed as complexes f(i) where f is a contextually salient relation and i is a bound variable (see Karttunen 1969, Heim 1990, Jacobson 1977, 2000).  In (1), it means f(i) where f is the relation between an employee and her paycheck, and i is a variable bound by everyone else.  This analysis overgenerates in WCO environments, though.  If it in (2a) really contained a bound variable, (2a) should sound as odd as (2b), which contains an overt bound variable.  Another problem with this analysis is that it misses the generalization (motivated by data such as (3)) that all paycheck pronouns appear in contrastive contexts.

This paper instead analyzes paycheck pronouns as resulting from strong parallelism constraints on contrastive contexts, the same constraints that require he in (4) to refer to John.  Rooth’s (1992) focus operator can enforce this same parallelism between the VPs in (1), forcing it to refer to the subject’s paycheck.

  1. Johni [VP deposited hisi paycheck in the bank]. 
    [Everyone else]j [VP deposited it in the credit union].
  2. The man whose surgery cured him is happier than the manj whomj
    1.      … it paralyzed tj for life.
    2. ?? … hisj surgery paralyzed tj for life.
  3. ?The man who had his surgery on Tuesday, was happier than the man who had it on his foot. (cf. … who had it on Thursday).
  4. The car John bought was nicer than the car he sold.