Activities and Seminars

Esther Torrego. More or less: the syntax-morphology connection.
Date: Feb 20, 2014

What: More or less: the syntax-morphology connection

Where: BCBL auditorium

Who: Esther Torrego, IKERBASQUE Research Professor, Basque Language Institute, UPV/EHU, Spain.

When: 12 noon

Taking the computational system of human language to be simple and invariant (Chomsky 1995 and works thereafter), a challenging question for linguistic research is to explain cross-linguistic variation. An area of great grammatical variation concerns the morphological display of the various parts of the sentence: Chinese, with practically no morphology, and Basque, with morphemes encoding information on the auxiliary concerning arguments and, in some variants, a discourse participant. There also appears to be great diversity in the expression of redundant morphology (agreement facts) in closely related languages such as Spanish and Italian, and in morphology whose grammatical role is not always easy to explain. In this talk, I will explore questions of this sort through various case studies, suggesting possible links between the grammatical expression of functional vocabulary and the sound and semantic interfaces, with special attention to the pronominal features (e-g-, [speaker], ‘I’ [addressee], ‘you’) employed in agreement morphology.