Prof. Julia Horvath 2014-2015
The Division of Labor between Components of Grammar
The course will focus on determining to what extent various apparent syntactic phenomena and generalizations should be accounted for within the syntactic component of grammar (the computational system) and to what extent they are effected by or arise from requirements and operations of other components (modules) of Grammar, distinct from but interfacing with the syntax. Specifically, we will explore and assess the division of labor between the syntactic component and two systems external to it: (a) the mental lexicon and (b) the phonological component.
First semester – The Lexicon Syntax Interface
We will discuss the division of labor between the mental lexicon and the syntax. It is standardly assumed that entries thematically (conceptually) related such as kipel, kupal, hitkapel, and kipul are derivationally related. It is debated, however, whether the various derivational operations take place in the lexicon or in the syntax. Some linguists argue that the lexicon is an active component of the mental grammar, where derivational, thematic operations can take place. Others argue that the lexicon consists of mere lists of entries, and all the derivations take place in the syntax. In the course of the semester, we will explore the derivations of various diatheses.
We will examine the operation relating unaccusative verbs (nafal or hitkamet) with their transitive alternates (hipil, kimet) as well as object-Experiencer verbs (hirgiz, rigeš) and their subject-Experiencer alternates (hitragez, hitrageš). We will distinguish between that operation and the one deriving causative verbs (e.g., heric). We will examine the nature of verbal and adjectival passives (hudbak, davuk, respectively), reflexive (histaben), and reciprocal verbs (such as hitkatev), considering their thematic grid, the type of argument (internal or external) serving as their subject, the operation deriving them and whether it is lexical or syntactic, or in certain languages lexical and in others syntactic.
Second semester – Syntax and the architecture of Grammar
We will discuss alternative proposals for the architecture of Grammar and the role of the syntax within it. We will discuss:
(i) Syntacticocentric approaches and contrast them with the active lexicon theory motivated in the first semester (we will analyze idioms as evidence regarding the nature of lexical representations and operations, and evaluate proposals for the syntactic decomposition of verbs, based on evidence from adverbial modification).
(ii) The relations between the phonological component and the syntax, such as: apparent phonological conditions on movement operations, clausal stress and “optional” word-order variation, adjacency conditions on case assignment, the copy theory of movement and spell-out in movement chains.
It is recommended – but not required – to take Statistics for linguists in parallel. This course will be very helpful to students who will choose to conduct an experimental research.
Prerequisite: Advanced Syntax