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LINGUIST List 24.1919

Fri May 03 2013

Confs: Linguistic Theories, Phonology, Syntax, Morphology/Brazil

Editor for this issue: Anna Belew <annalinguistlist.org>

Date: 01-May-2013
From: Maísa Sancassani <contato.eilin2013gmail.com>
Subject: Formal Linguistic School
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Formal Linguistic School
Short Title: EILIN 2013

Date: 22-Jul-2013 - 26-Jul-2013
Location: Campinas/SP, Brazil
Contact: Ruth Lopes
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL: http://www.iel.unicamp.br/eilin2013

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories; Morphology; Phonology; Syntax

Meeting Description:

EILIN 2013 is open to everyone, welcoming undergraduate and graduate students from any country, as long as an interest in formal linguistics is shared. The main goal of EILIN 2013 is to bring together linguists from different areas with a common interest in generative linguistic. The Winter School will include courses at different levels: introductory, intermediate and advanced, and add to that, sessions for poster presentation.

Primarily intended for undergraduate students, the introductory course aims to facilitate the discovery of formal approaches and objects of study of the major language areas. Of the advanced courses in phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, the aim is to disseminate the latest research in these areas and establish a bond between Brazilian researchers and from international institutions, making knowledge more accessible to researchers and contributing to the formation and improvement of South American linguists.

Some minicourses are still accepting applications!

New minimalism minicourses are expected! You may follow the news in our website and facebook page.

Modeling Phonological Variation, Kie Zuraw (UCLA)

Our aim is to provide tools for modelling variation in phonological data, and to explore some of the implications of such variation. The material will be partly theoretical (understanding models) and partly practical (using software).

Topics will include:
- Free variation vs. lexical variation
- Quantitative constraint models
- Smoothing--do learners/speakers smoothe their input data?
- The interaction of phonological and non-phonological factors in variation

Semântica Formal, Marcelo Barra Ferreira (USP)

O objetivo é introduzir uma teoria semântica baseada em condições de verdade, de acordo com a qual o significado de uma sentença (declarativa) é identificado com as condições necessárias e suficientes para que a sentença seja verdadeira.

Adotaremos uma abordagem composicional dita extensional, em que se atribui a cada item lexical um objeto extra-linguístico, chamado de sua extensão ou denotação, e em que regras de composição definem como as extensões dos demais constituintes sintáticos são obtidas de seus sub-constituintes imediatos.

Analisaremos uma série de propriedades e relações semânticas como predicação, referência, coordenação, negação, modificação, quantificação e ligação, valendo-nos de algumas ferramentas lógico-matemáticas para sua formalização.

Language Acquisition/Syntax, Jeremy Hartman (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)

We will cover some of the major topics in first language acquisition from a generative perspective, with a focus on the acquisition of syntax and semantics. Some topics to be discussed include: word learning and argument structure, clause structure and finiteness, movement, binding, and null subjects. We will discuss classic findings as well as more recent work.

Using Parsed Corpora for the Study of Syntax and Language Change, Joel Wallemberg (Newcastle University)

We will introduce the use of diachronic, syntactically annotated (parsed) corpora for linguistic analysis in two fields: syntax, and the study of language change. We will present some case studies in the study of syntactic change, and also provide some practical instruction and guidance for students who would like to use parsed corpora in their own research. We will also discuss some basic statistics and some basic concepts in evolutionary dynamics.

On the ambivalence of the present tense, Guillaume Thomas (Institut Jean Nicod)

It is well known that the present tense is ambivalent. Binnick (1991) identifies no less than 9 different uses of the present. Focusing on English, it is tempting to conclude from the analysis of simple episodic sentences like (1) that the present tense denote the time of utterance (the Indexical Present Hypothesis, IPH):

(1) John is smoking right now. (episodic present)

However, other uses of the present tense suggest otherwise. Reference to the time of utterance may not be involved in (2), and is clearly not involved in (3):

(2) John always shaves when he takes a shower. (habitual present)
(3) On 10 January 49 BC, General Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon River. (historical present)

Furthermore, one also comes across morphologically present sentences that describe future eventualities:

(4) The Red Sox play the Yankees tomorrow. (futurates)

(5) If John comes, Mary will be upset. (future subjunctive)

We will address this ambivalence, and will ask whether there exists a unitary present tense behind this variety of uses, or whether the multiplicity of uses corresponds to a multiplicity of combinations of tense, aspect and modality, hidden behind a single morphological exponence.

One theory that has been proposed to deal with the ambivalence of the present tense is that it is actually vacuous, and gain its temporal meaning through a competition with other tenses. I call this proposal the vacuity hypothesis (VH). VH has gained a number of supporters in recent years, thanks to advances in our understanding of pragmatic inferences such as presuppositions and anti-presuppositions. In particular, Sauerland (2002) proposes that the meaning of the present tense should be derived by a mechanism of anti-presuppositions, according to which present sentences can be used felicitously only when their past alternatives are infelicitous. A substantial part of the course will be devoted to the discussion of VH, which I will ultimately reject.

Another hypothesis that we will explore is that although there is an indexical present feature in the lexical inventory of English, the present as Vocabulary Item (VI) in the sense of Distributed Morphology (Halle and Marantz 1994) is underspecified for temporal features. On the other hand, past VIs always contain past temporal features. This hypothesis predicts that present VIs may be inserted in environments that contain semantic present features (as in 1) as well as in environments that contain no temporal features at all (which is arguably the case in 5). I will argue that this hypothesis is superior to both VH and the simpler IPH.

We will close by a comparison of competition between tenses and other forms of semantic and/or morphological competitions, notably competitions between moods (Stone 1997, Farkas 2003, Schlenker 2005). We will ask whether the same mechanisms are at plays in each case, and we will explore the hypothesis that the present is to tenses what the subjunctive is to moods.

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