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On NPs, Clauses, Phrases, Everything…

Friday, April 1, 2011
12:00 AM
2001 LSA Building

Zeljko Boskovic, University of Connecticut The talk will compare languages without articles and languages with articles with respect to a number of syntactic and semantic phenomena, including locality of movement, scrambling, superlatives, negative raising, superiority, cliticization, head-internal relatives, negative concord, number morphology, quantifier raising, sequence of tense, showing that these two language types consistently exhibit different behavior. It will be shown that the internal structure of the NP crucially affects all the phenomena in question, with article and article-less languages having different NP structure. I will also explore the possibility that the difference in the structure of NP has consequences for the structure of clauses, where languages with and without articles would have different clausal structure. The centerpiece of the talk will be an application of some of the tools used to investigate the internal structure of Noun Phrases to the theory of phases (i.e. locality domains of syntax), which will lead us to very general conclusions regarding what counts as a phase in all major phrases (traditional NPs, VPs, PPs, APs) crosslinguistically as well as the role of case in syntactic computation. I will also explore consequences of my proposals for language acquisition.