Monday, May 25, 2020

About Me (from website)

I started out in 1981 as an undergraduate math major at the University of Minnesota, and then transferred to MIT as a math major halfway through my sophomore year.

Monday, May 18, 2020

A Remark on Identity Conditions in Nominal Ellipsis

This short squib was triggered by the following joke that I saw on Facebook (in the group “I Love Mathematics”):

Wife: Please could you go to the shop and get a carton of milk, if they have avocados get six.
Husband: [Returning from the shop with six cartons of milk]: They had avocados.

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Beginning of Syntax (Version 3)

In this post, I argue that we, as a field, are at the beginning of the scientific study of natural language syntax. There are two aspects to this claim. First, work in generative syntax, even on a well-studied language like English, has just uncovered the tip of the iceberg in terms of documenting the relevant facts and generalizations. Second, we are also at the very beginning of understanding the mechanisms of UG that account for these generalizations.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Passive By-Phrases in Greek and English: Adjuncts or Arguments?

A heavily revised version of a paper on the Greek and English passive by Nikos Angelopoulos, Chris Collins and Arhonto Terzi. Lots of very interesting theoretical conclusions about by-phrases, VoiceP and the Theta-Criterion.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Grammaticality Judgments versus Acceptability Judgments

In this post, I discuss the use of the phrases “grammaticality judgment” and “acceptability judgment”. I end the post by suggesting that the phrase “grammaticality judgment” should be used for the kind of data that syntacticians gather in a judgment task.

Monday, May 4, 2020

A Typical Middle Class House in Gaborone Botswana

In this post, I walk you through what a typical middle class house in Gaborone, Botswana looks like (the neighborhood is Block 6). This house is in no way unusual for Gaborone. In fact, there are many neighborhoods where the houses look more or less like this (e.g., Block 7 and Block 8). Of course, there is much more expensive housing in Gaborone too, especially in Phakalane. And there is less expensive housing too, in places like Mogoditshane (just outside of Gaborone, on the road to Molepolole).

Thursday, April 30, 2020

An Interview with Paul Postal

The following is an interview with Paul Postal on his career in linguistics. The interview took place via e-mail during the coronavirus pandemic, from Tuesday March 24, 2020 to the end of April, 2020. For readability, some of the questions and answers have been edited and the order of a few of the questions has been altered.