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Keeping Languages Alive

By Mari C. Jones and Sarah Ogilvie

Keeping Languages Alive "discusses current efforts to record, collect and archive endangered languages in traditional and new media that will support future language learners and speakers."


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Phonological Templates in Development

By Marilyn May Vihman

Phonological Templates in Development "explores the role of phonological templates in early language use from the perspective of usage-based phonology and exemplar models and within the larger developmental framework of Dynamic Systems Theory."



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Dissertation Information


Title: The Nature of Legibility Conditions Add Dissertation
Author: JunMo Cho Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Toronto, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2000
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Korean
Director(s): Diane Massam
Elizabeth Cowper
Alana Johns

Abstract: This thesis investigates the nature of Legibility Conditions in the Minimalist Program. In this thesis, Legibility Conditions are considered as a set of general well-formedness conditions holding at PF and LF interfaces. Thus, they inspect not only the erasure of uninterpretable features but also non-feature-related phonological/semantic well-formedness. It is demonstrated that Legibility Conditions have the property of filtering out certain derivations, which would otherwise be convergent as far as formal feature-checking is concerned. The demonstration of the nature of Legibility Conditions involves empirical studies in Korean negation, object licensing in various languages, and numerous Case phenomena in Korean.

Chapter 1 deals with the theoretical implications of Legibility Conditions in the Minimalist Program, a derivational model of grammar. Legibility Conditions, when understood correctly in a derivational grammar, are shown to be capable of filtering out certain derivations for phonological/semantic ill-formedness.

In Chapter 2, we consider Legibility Conditions at the PF interface. An analysis of Korean negation is provided to demonstrate the filtering-out nature of PF Legibility Conditions. The two different forms of negation are compared to the two different forms of some adverbs. It is shown that Korean negation and these adverbs are affixal. Thus, they require affixation for PF legibility. When they fail to be properly affixed, a derivation is filtered out due to the failure of PF legibility.

In Chapter 3, Legibility Conditions at the LF interface are considered. In a discussion of object licensing, we arrive at the conclusion that licensing is not due to a licensing feature such as, as is normally assumed, a Case feature. It is proposed that a Case feature of a nominal, as it is argued to be not a licensing feature, is an interpretable feature, contra Chomsky (1995). It is demonstrated that the legitimacy of a nominal crucially depends on its LF legibility. Specifically, LF legibility requires that the meaning of an object in a given position be compatible with the meaning associated with that position (e.g., telicity in direct object position).

Chapter 4 provides further evidence for the validity of the conclusion drawn in Chapter 3. Various Korean Case phenomena, such as Multiple Case Constructions, Stacking, Alternation, and Deletion, are accounted for under the view that licensing of nominals is crucially sensitive to LF legibility rather than a Case feature. It is shown that due to LF legibility, nominals in three different syntactic positions must be compatible with the meaning associated with their respective positions. Here again, we see that the failure to be legible at the LF Interface has a filtering effect.