Tuesday, January 23, 2024

On Implicit Arguments and Logophoricity (Angelopoulos and Collins, poster for NELS 2024)

By combining Collins’s (to appear) theory of implicit arguments with

Charnavel’s (2019) theory of exempt anaphora, we explain crosslinguistic

variations in the distribution of exempt anaphors.


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

How to Syntax 2 (Adverbs with Attributive Adjectives)

This is the second of a series of blog posts showing how I think about a syntax problem when I first notice it. For the first installment, see:

How to Syntax I (the now that-Construction)

I will occasionally choose phenomena that I notice, and talk about them in an informal fashion, breaking down the process of preliminary syntactic exploration. That is, I am just thinking off the top of my head (brainstorming), with few or no revisions. Ideally, I will give myself a time period of three hours maximum to prevent polishing. The focus of the discussion will be on process. I am not trying to come up with a polished analysis. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Two Abstracts for: The Cambridge Handbook of the Minimalist Program (forthcoming, Grohmann and Leivada eds.)

I am very proud of both of these little squibs, which are both foundational. Erich Groat and Daniel Seely are two of the deepest thinkers about the foundations of minimalist syntax out there, and I am honored to have been able to work with them. Both of these papers follow closely on earlier results of mine, including Collins 2002 ('Eliminating Labels') and Collins and Stabler 2016 ('A Formaliation of Minimalist Syntax'). I am glad that they are finally going to see the light of day in Grohmann and Leivada's eagerly anticipated handbook.

Chomsky and Me Too: Review of Stohl 2023


In this blog post, I review Bev Stohl’s memoir ‘Chomsky and Me’ (2023, OR Books) from my personal point of view, as a graduate student who attended the MIT Department of Linguistics from 1988 to 1993. To complement Stohl’s perspective, I describe some of my own experiences in the department, studying with Chomsky.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Harvard Society of Fellows Application (September 2 1992)

At the end of graduate school, I applied for Harvard’s Society of Fellows. It was basically a three-year period where one could do any research one wanted, and interact with all kinds of very smart people. I knew Chomsky had been a fellow nearly forty years earlier, and that this fellowship allowed him the intellectual room to write his master piece the Language Structure of Linguistic Theory (LSLT, of which his dissertation is a chapter). I would have loved following in his footsteps. My application was all about economy of derivation and trying to develop it in various ways. I applied for the position, and told Morris Halle, who said to me something like: “No, you will never get it.” I was hurt by that comment, but he was just being realistic. I did not get the fellowship. 

Several MIT linguistics students subsequently went on to get the fellowship.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Two Abstracts for ACAL55 on Kalahari Khoe

Here are two related abstracts that I submitted for ACAL55 with co-authors. ACAL stands for Annual Conference on African Linguistics.

They both concern the classification of Khoe-Kwadi languages (Central Khoisan). The first deals specifically with Tshila, which has not been very well classified before. The second deals with the structure of the Kalahari Khoe subgroup of Khoe-Kwadi, arguing that it should be divided into northern and southern Kalahari Khoe. The methodology of the second paper is based on the Bantu linguistics paper by Marten, Kula and Thwala 2007. 

As of the posting date (November 6, 2023), neither abstract has been either accepted or rejected.

Batchelder-Schwab, Andre and Chris Collins. 2023. Classification of Tshila. 

Abstract submitted to ACAL55. Abstract.

Collins, Chris and Anne-Maria Fehn. 2023. Parameters of Morphosyntactic Variation in Kalahari Khoe.

Abstract submitted to ACAL55. Abstract.

On implicit arguments and logophoricity (NELS abstract, Angelopoulos and Collins 2023)

This abstract was accepted as a poster at NELS 54 (2024). Empirically, it documents differences between exempt anaphora in Greek and English. It accounts for those differences by postulating a deep connection between logophoricity and implicit arguments in the sense of Collins 2023 (forthcoming, MIT Press). 

If you are unable to download the abstract, let me know.

Abstract: On implicit arguments and logophoricity