LINGUIST List 11.884

Sun Apr 16 2000

Qs: Morphosyntax, Cog Semantics/Lang Evol. Progs

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  1. Stephen M. Wechsler, morphosyntax query
  2. CJ Lin, Q: Graduate program in language evolution & cognitive semantics

Message 1: morphosyntax query

Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 13:05:35 -0500
From: Stephen M. Wechsler <>
Subject: morphosyntax query

We are looking for further examples, in any language, of an intriguing
morphosyntactic phenomenon we have observed in Serbo-Croatian
(described in Wechsler and Zlatic 1999). In brief, the phenomenon is
as follows: A particular morphosyntactic feature (oblique case, in
this instance) must be morphologically expressed on some element within
the relevant domain (the NP, in this instance). Normally
Serbo-Croatian case is expressed on the head noun, determiner, and
adjectives. If the NP consists of a noun alone, and that noun is a
special indeclinable one (e.g. a loan) then it is ungrammatical in
certain circumstances (see (1)). But these NPs become acceptable if
case is expressed by a determiner or adjective modifying the
uninflected noun. The generalization is as follows:

(1) If a verb or noun assigns dative or instrumental case to an NP,
then that case must be morphologically realized by some element within
the NP.

This condition is not the norm for Serbo-Croatian case. It applies
only to dative and instrumental case, not nominative, accusative, or
genitive. It applies only to verb- and noun-assigned case, not to
preposition-assigned case. Uninflected NPs are acceptable in those
situations not covered by (1). 

Some examples follow. The female name Miki and the adjective braon
'brown' are undeclinable, while the name Larisom 'Larisa-INST', the
possessive adjective mojom 'my' and the adjective lepoj 'beautiful' are
inflected for case. As shown, the examples lacking inflected items are

(2)	a.	Odusevljena sam Larisom / *Miki.

		impressed-1SG AUX Larisa-INST / Miki

		'I am impressed by Larisa / Miki.'

	b.	Odusevljena sam mojom Miki.

		impressed-1SG AUX my-INST.SG Miki

		'I am impressed by my Miki.'

	c.	Divim	 se	{*braon / lepoj} Miki.

		admire-1SG REFL	brown / beautiful-DAT.SG Miki

		'I admire {brunette/ beautiful} Miki'

To repeat, we are looking for situations in any language where some
morphosyntactic feature (not necessarily case) must be morphologically
realized, but more than one possibility is available for realization. 
For example, a roughly similar situation is found in Puerto Rican
Spanish plural morphology, as described in Poplack 1980. Please
respond to us directly; we will post a summary. Thank-you in advance.

- Steve Wechsler

 Larisa Zlatic


<color><param>1717,0071,0000</param>Wechsler, Stephen, and Larisa
Zlatic. 1999. Syntax and Morphological Realization in Serbo-Croatian.
Slavic in HPSG, ed. by R. Borsley and A. Przepiorkowski, 283-309.
Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Poplack, Shana. 1980. Deletion and disambiguation in Puerto Rican
Spanish. Language 56.2, 371-385.</color>
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Message 2: Q: Graduate program in language evolution & cognitive semantics

Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 20:50:34 CST
From: CJ Lin <>
Subject: Q: Graduate program in language evolution & cognitive semantics

Dear colleagues,
I'm looking for information concerning PhD programs that are conducting 
research and regularly offering courses in cognitive linguistics 
(particularly cognitive semantics) and the evolution of language. Please 
reply if you know of any good programs related to these fields. (I'm 
interested in applying for a PhD program in these fields in the Fall of 
2001.) I'll post a summary when enough information is received. Thanks!

Charles Lin

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