Posted in Uncategorized on 11/21/2012 01:37 pm by michal
Pavel Caha is running an interesting seminar on the morphosyntax of noun phrases. In doing so, he addresses two recent comments about nanosyntax, one plausible and one implausible. The first is Rita Manzini’s claim that nanosyntax cannot explain the frequent syncretism between Genitive singular and nominative plural. Many people would think that this is a *good* result! That’s because many people (perhaps most) think that this is a spurious syncretism, an accident of diachrony. If so, we actually want a system that is restrictive enough to rule it out as anything else than accidental homonymy. Caha however takes the opposite route: he grant’s Manzini’s point and accepts her syncretisms as non-accidental, but shows that we can losen the nanosyntax requirement on matching between syntactic structure and lexical entries in such a way as to preserve all the main claims (phrasal spellout, phrase-based lexicon, etc) and still derive Manzini’s syncretisms. And it turns out that yes, such syncretisms can be done with a principled phrasal spellout, despite the initial plausibility of Manzini’s claim (her claim is plausible because syncretisms are restricted by a (technical version of) structural adjacency, and there is no adjacency in the relevant sense between a genitive singular and a nominative plural)
The second claim is that concord cannot be done with the kind of apparatus employed by nanosyntax. That’s a rather implausible whose logic is hard to see. Luckily we do not need to dwell on its logic, as Caha in fact develops a system which not only expresses concord, but seeks to derive the empirical limitations on concord in languages like Dime, a step beyond the usual approaches to concord. Exciting developments!
Posted in Uncategorized on 09/15/2012 10:55 pm by michal
Marina Pancheva will be starring on TV with a nanosyntax spiel during the Norwegian science week, on September 19th 2012. The show should become available on the net later in the season, we’ll keep you updated.
Posted in Uncategorized on 09/04/2012 11:54 pm by michal
As a celebration for the end of CASTL as a center of excellence, there will be a little nano festival, on September 14th in Tromso. Talks by Marina Panceva, Pavel Caha, Tarald Taraldsen, Michal Starke as well as comments and talks by Cecilia Poletto and Jeroen van Craenenbroeck are on the programme.
Posted in Uncategorized on 03/25/2012 12:06 am by michal
The EFLU university of Hyderabad held a fall seminar on nanosyntax and is organising a series of lectures by Michal Starke in April/May 2012 — hot fun
Posted in Uncategorized, nanoseminar on 10/20/2011 01:57 pm by michal
The slides I used for the last 3 nanoseminars last semester are browsable online. They will not be of much use if you weren’t at the seminar, but will be helpful for those of you who attended.
Posted in Uncategorized on 03/16/2011 10:08 am by michal
A new tiny “note on Kim’s Korean question particles seen as pronouns“. In a recent lingbuzz paper, Kim makes the interesting observation that the so-called question particles of Korean are in fact pronouns (with one exception) and those pronouns express the addressee of the question. To capture that, Kim analyzes them as pronouns filling the addressee slot of questions under a performative analysis. Here I simply point out that his analysis doesn’t entirely work, but does work if it is rephrased in terms of nanosyntax and phrasal spellout with the superset principle.
Posted in Uncategorized on 02/25/2011 10:43 pm by michal
I have posted a new paper on lingbuzz about how to do parameters. It has been 30 years that the Principles & Parameters framework has revolutionized linguistic theory, but there is a real sense in which we still don’t have a theory of parameters, of what format they have, what they are (”principles”, the invariant parts, have been faring much better). We still just stipulate them by brute force: EPP features, edge-features, strong features, etc. This paper shows that if we accept nanosyntax, we are now finally in position to do parameters in a clean and elegant way: parameters are just “sizes” of lexical items. If two similarl words behave differently in two different languages, it is simply because the two languages store a slightly different size of syntactic structure in the lexical entry of that word. I don’t know if it is the right theory, but I do now that this shows that you can have a real theory of parameters, which was non-existant up to now.
Posted in Uncategorized on 02/20/2011 12:57 pm by michal
The great grad students in Barcelona are organising a debate between Michal Starke and Cedric Boeckxx called “New Paths in Linguistic Theory”, to understand better the difference between Nanosyntax and the so-called “radical minimalism”. It sounds like fun, and some of the are clearly anticipating action
Posted in Uncategorized on 01/03/2011 02:56 pm by michal
Marc Hauser is close to the heart of many generative linguists, for two reasons: he is a co-author on the Chomsky, Hauser and Fitch paper which has generated a little tempest in a teapot, bringing the hope of an exciting foundational debate (is recursion the key ingredient setting aside language from other cognitive abilities? no) and providing some fresh and juicy linguistic wars reminiscent of the old days of the field. Aside from this role, Hauser is also the champion of an idea that makes the linguist feel warm and fuzzy: linguistic theories appealing to innateness and parameters provide a good framework to understand human morality and its evolution.
That brings the earthquake dangerously close to home: Marc Hauser is under U.S. federal investigation for data fabrication and intellectual fraud. The affair is still surrounded by secrecy; it is thus difficult to form an educated opinion. What is coming out so far is that research assistants in his lab are speaking up about data-fabrication and a Harvard inquiry has confirmed “eight instances of scientific misconduct”. There have been several high profile cases of data-fabrication recently, all in fields distant from ours, taking place in a very different style of publishing pressure and data-gathering. This time however, if all of this turns out to be true, it is the walls of our own house that are resonating with a sinister reminder about how tempting it can be to fit data into our preferred theory…
Posted in Uncategorized on 09/21/2009 10:55 pm by michal