Friday, June 16, 2017

Grammatical Analysis (undergraduate) (Spring 2017)

Here is the syllabus for my undergraduate syntax course. You can see how I tried to incorporate Merge into the course. Once again, I would be happy to discuss the syllabus with anybody.

Negation Seminar (Spring 2017)

Here is the syllabus for my seminar on negation for Spring 2017.
I would be happy to discuss the issues, if anybody is interested.
The course did not perfectly match the syllabus.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the seminar were the guest talks!

Syntax II (graduate level) (Spring 2017)

Here is the syllabus for my graduate Syntax II course, Spring 2017. I would be happy to receive feedback, or talk about it.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Penumbra of a Paper

Let me define the penumbra of a paper as the data, hypotheses, speculations, argumentation, theory, etc. that do not make it into the final version of the paper, even though they are in some sense relevant and played a role in your thinking when writing.

When starting to write a paper, you hardly knows what it will contain at the end. Of course, there is a main idea, a central argument, some core data, but the way that the paper actually turns out in the end is largely undetermined by what you start with at the beginning of the process. As you write the paper, you write a paragraph or page, and then delete most of it, you group some scattered paragraphs into a section, you cobble things together, find a new argument, fill in the gaps and add paradigms. You may realize that somebody has already worked quite a bit on one of your generalizations or hypotheses, so then you rewrite to incorporate that work.

You may also get feedback, causing to you cut entire sections that seemed like a core part of the paper at the beginning, or to add entire sections that did not seem very relevant at first. Ultimately, you produce an unchangeable final, published paper.

But in the end, a lot gets left out. This is the penumbra of the paper. The more you have thought about your paper, and the more time you put into it, the larger and more dense the penumbra grows.

The penumbra can contain lots of references and connections to the content of those references. Some of this stuff comes up at talks, where audience members ask questions trying to go deeper into the topic. Later the penumbra can split off into other papers, or projects, or to prevent you from pursuing a reckless path, so nothing was a waste of time.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

On the Implicit Argument in the Short Passive

In this paper, I investigate some syntactic and semantic properties of the implicit argument in the short passive. Based on the distribution of secondary depictive predicates, I argue that the short passive contains a syntactically projected null argument. I propose that this argument can either be an ultra-indefinite in the sense of Koenig (2008) or a null version of the generic pronoun one. I analyze ultra-indefinites as DPs without phi-features. Lastly, I discuss the consequences of my conclusions for the nature of VoiceP and the status of implicit arguments generally.