The EPP can be a vexing principle for early practitioners
of Chomskyan syntactic theories. This is, in part, because the theoretic
apparatus that underlie the EPP have been shifted away from. Yet, the EPP in
some form generally remains. Thus, the goal of this blog post is to sketch a
brief history of the EPP and outline its current status. I will also discuss
some remaining potential issues with the EPP.
blog post is a prelude to future blog post: Why Video? In that blog post I will
tackle the question of why a generative syntactician, like me, should care
about video? But before I get to that point, I need to tackle some background
issues concerning the source of data in syntactic fieldwork.
a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo from 1985 to 1987. Here is a short list of things I
learned then that have been helpful to me in doing linguistic fieldwork ever
since (especially in Togo, Namibia and Botswana).
is my solar power set up for 2019-2020. Some of this post is modified from a
Facebook post on December 19, 2015, when I had a similar set-up. The whole system
cost roughly 740 US dollars (panel, inverter, controller and battery). There
are photos of the set-up at the end of the post.
a linguist doing linguistic fieldwork on highly endangered Khoisan languages. Part
of my project is to produce video documentation of people speaking those
beginning film maker, I have found the following tips to be useful in obtaining
high quality sound recordings to accompany video. I have learned most of these
the hard way, by actually making mistakes.
I define a golden oldie as a paper in the framework of generative syntax written in the 60s and 70s (roughly between and including Chomsky
(1957) “Syntactic Structures” and Chomsky (1981) “Lectures on Government and
After three weeks with Kua, I am now moving on to my first fieldwork trip to Mokgenene for the year. I have already been there twice, once to deliver blankets to my consultants on July 3rd and another time for the delivery of the clothing to the children on August 8th. This time, I plan to stay in Mokgenene for two weeks to kick off my video documentation project. This project is part of an ELDP and ACLS funded project that will begin in earnest on January 1st (the official grant start date). I this short trip, I plan to do preliminary recordings and make sure my consultants are comfortable with the arrangements.
I have a house from the VDC council allocated to me, where I plan to stay for two weeks. Since there is no electricity in the village, I will bring my solar panel.
I have brought our Kua consultant to Gaborone for two weeks. The most general goal of work on Kua now is to finish the grammar (co-authored with Andy Chebanne) so we can get it published. The only section that needs to be added is a short introductory section on the phonological inventory of the language (consonants including clicks, vowels and tones).
Abstract: This paper discusses two ways of negating DP quantifier phrases. In one way, NEG modifies the quantifier D directly with the structure [[NEG D] NP] (inner negation). In the other way, NEG modifies the whole DP with the structure [NEG DP] (outer negation). I give evidence based on negative polarity items that negated universal quantifier phrases like not every student involve outer negation (contra Hoeksema in Linguist Anal 16:25–40, 1986; in: ESCOL ’87, pp 100–113, 1987). Outer negation of universal quantifier phrases
The following papers all explore the issue of negating quantifier phrases. The topic is extremely rich, and has barely been scratched in the existing literature on negation and quantification (with the exception of "split scope" for which there exists a small literature). They all start from the assumption that it is possible to combine negation directly with a quantifier phrase: [NEG QP]. All of the papers were all written in the framework of Collins and Postal 2014. I do not include papers here on NEG Raising, which raises related but different issues.
Ewe is a Gbe language, spoken in Ghana, Togo and Benin in west Africa.
The Ewe Repository is a collection of articles and books on and in Ewe for serious Ewe scholars. As of today (June 13, 2019) it contains 289 files. It is not accessible publicly on the internet, although we are looking into creating an internet accessible version. If you are an Ewe scholar, and are interested in joining, the price of admission is to send me paper or book on or in Ewe that we do not already have. Then I will sign you up. Even if you do not want to be a member, if you have books or papers on or in Ewe, please send them to me.
The following papers all defend the claim that ellipsis is vastly more pervasive in English syntax than any current theory countenances. In fact, I view current theories to be excessively conservative. I also include my paper co-authored with Andrew Radford to illustrate the idea of ghosting (from Collins and Postal 2012).
This package is more of a promissory note, than a real package. I am not a morphologist, and have not done extensive work on morphology. That being said, I have very specific views on what a theory of morphology should be like. My basic point of view is derived from works such as Baker (1988) and Pollock (1989), and diverges radically from current theories of morphology in the DM and nano-syntax traditions.
The most extreme position one can take is: There is no morphological component in
UG. In particular, there are no operations or
processes or properties (e.g., suffixal vs. affixal) or representational
primitives that play a role in word formation that are different from those
found in the syntactic component. So that is the research agenda.
All of the papers here try to get at this way of looking at things in one way or the other. My views on morphology are most closely aligned to those of Richard Kayne (especially his recent papers), but also to those of people like Hilda Koopman and Judy Bernstein.
Except for the "Logic of Contextual Allomorphy" and "A Note on Derivational Morphology", none of the papers is really directly about morphological issues. But they contain ideas that I feel will play a role in a successful theory of morphology. For example, "Home Sweet Home" talks a lot about the distribution of empty elements in the syntax. Such empty elements are also needed in morphology (e.g., zero allomorphs of various kinds).
I post here some links to recent papers that I have written on the passive. All these papers are written in the framework of Collins (2005). The main claim of that paper is adopted from Chomsky 1957 into modern terms: "...the external argument is merged into the structure in the passive in the same way as in the active." My recent papers explore and defend this claim. Collins (2005) and my recent papers run directly contra to most mainstream approaches to the passive (including those of Bruening, Legate and Alexiadou). Not all of the following papers are available on Lingbuzz.
This note was originally posted on Facebook on January 25, 2019. There have been some minor changes. I got some great feedback from Pauline J. on that post, in case readers are interested in pursuing what other people think. These notes are based on my experiences with journals, editors and reviewers over the last ten years or so. I want to emphasize here that I greatly appreciate the time that editors and reviewers put into their jobs.
I wrote this paper during my seminar on argument structure in Fall 2018. The paper is fairly rough, and I could spend a lot of time getting the logic to be perfect. But I am leaving for Botswana on June 26 (2019), so I thought it was better to get it out there before I left.
There is an effect when students start to learn syntax that I will call imprinting: Whatever proposal is presented first to a student becomes the standard. Subsequent proposals face a burden of proof not faced by the original, in the sense that subsequent proposals need to show how they are superior to the original proposal (and why the original proposal is wrong). All things being equal, the original wins.
This is a website built by students in my Spring 2018 seminar: The Khoisan Languages.
We are still interested in getting volunteers to add languages and data, and to make
the site more accessible. This summer (2019), we have a volunteer Mirella B.,
who will be working on the project.
These are the instructions from our ELAR deposit for N|uu. The way that I store my data is very useful to me as a syntactician, so I thought I would share it. For elicitation, I record every sentence that I elicit individually, at the time I elicit it. One immediate benefit of this procedure is that I can use the recording to verify my transcription right away. As a consequence, my transcriptions are usually pretty accurate. Another benefit is that I can play the recording over and over, without having to bother the consultant with several repetitions of the same sentence (which can be tiring for them).
I have applied for this in the past, but did not get it. This time I was successful. Judy B. helped a lot, reading over my proposal and giving me feedback. So that is an important tip: Try to get advice from a successful past awardee.
have been catching up on a show called Counterpart on cable TV (as of March
2019) with my daughter. Here is the premise, as summarized on Wikipedia: “Howard Silk has been working for a United
Nations agency based in Berlin for thirty years; however, his rank is
too low for him to be told what his work really involves. In fact, the agency
oversees a crossing point to a parallel Earth (the "Prime world"), a
copy of Silk's world. This crossing point was opened or created by East
German scientists in 1987 and
these two versions of Earth have been diverging ever since.”
I just attended the 2019 LSA meeting in NYC at the Sheraton Hotel. I attended every day, from Thursday January 3rd to Sunday January 6th, and saw many talks. Based on that experience, I have written up some notes on how to give a talk at the LSA.