14 Feb 2017
We wound up talking about various things not really directly related to the
reading on VP-internal subjects today, but one thing we did talk about a little
is the paper by Han, Lidz, and Musolino on verb raising in Korean.
The paper is:
Han, Chung-hye, Jeffrey Lidz, and Julien Musolino (2007).
V-raising and grammar competition in Korean: Evidence from negation and quantifier scope. Linguistic Inquiry 38(1):1–47.
08 Feb 2017
The official word is that BU is closed on Feb 9 due to snow.
The plan for Feb 9 had been to finish up the McCloskey reading,
but it now appears that this will need to happen on Feb 14 instead.
That’s the current plan, and we’ll see how that affects things
from there on, we were already a bit behind the schedule I’d
originally had in mind, so there may be a bit of re-tooling
coming up as well.
However: One relevant thing is that there was to be a homework
due tomorrow. I don’t think it’s that likely that the snow day
will really affect your ability to get it done by tomorrow
afternoon, power grid willing at least. But since the main thing
is really to have worked on it before we discuss the paper next,
it would mostly be just arbitrary for me to insist that I get it
by the time class would have started. So, it’ll be due at the
beginning of Tuesday instead.
I may organize the next homework and post it here prior to
meeting on Tuesday, and if I get ready by Friday I may still
set it to be due the following Thursday. So, check back in
here Friday afternoon to see if there’s a reading and homework
assignment set already.
26 Jan 2017
Without getting into too much text here, here are a couple of links
to follow concerning the Everett/Wolfe/Pirahã discussion. You can follow
links within for more, there’s plenty more.
One relatively readable and link-laden post is Norbert Hornstein’s
entry this past summer on the “Faculty of Language” blog:
The sludge at the bottom of the barrel.
Within that post you have a link to the Harper’s article
by Tom Wolfe as well.
A more colorful response is “E.J. Spode”’s tom wolfe’s reflections on language,
which reviews Wolfe’s book.
The most prominent scholarly critique of Everett’s proposal is
Nevins, Pesetsky & Rodrigues
from Language, 2009.
There’s much more out there, but if you’re curious about the discussions,
those are places to start.
23 Jan 2017
We are now underway. Last week Thursday we started in on the handout covering
the basic history of the basic model of syntax we will be mostly operating within,
and we will continue to do that on Tuesday (tomorrow, as I type this).
The first homework assignment, being the first one, is a little bit vaguely
defined. I did say this in class, but I’ll reiterate the vague assignment in
print so that it is official. The homework is due on Thursday and consists of
two things. The main thing is to read the Chomsky (2013) paper. We are going
to go through it closely starting Thursday and probably continuing on to Tuesday,
but I want you to have taken a shot at reading it before we discuss it. As we
go through it, I’ll try to fill in some of the things that are not obvious,
pertaining to, e.g., prior proposals not mentioned in the paper itself but to
which the paper is responding or relating. I think I’ll have a relatively
good idea of which things are new/foreign territory, but nevertheless, this brings
us to the second part of the homework assignment, in which you actually turn
For future papers, I’ll probably try to provide more specific questions for
you to answer in light of the reading and/or readings we’d done previously.
For this one in particular, I want you to write out a couple of things in one
of the following categories:
- things you found confusing and want to try to clarify (possibly including
- things beyond those discussed in the paper itself, such as how a
particular idea might extend to another language.
- things that occur to you that seem like supporting (or contradicting)
evidence for viewing things the way Chomsky outlines
I expect we’ll get through about half of the paper on Thursday. The more
technical parts are in the second half and that’s what we’ll tackle on the
next Tuesday. I think it won’t be hard to find confusing things in the
second half. What I’d like to get from you, by Thursday, are four
questions/comments, two from each half (basically taking page 41 to be the
end of the first half). If you have more, that’s fine. Four should be enough
to keep the discussion going.
You can just email them to me sometime by the time we start on Thursday,
but have them with you on Thursday as well to refer to.
06 Jan 2017
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