PLM2009 Workshop session: Clausal architecture: How universal/variable is it?

In accordance with the leitmotif of the 40th PLM “Variants, Variability, Variation”, this workshop focuses on variability and variation with regard to clausal architecture.

With Chomsky (1998 et seq.), it is suggested that C, T and little v are core functional categories. Assuming this to be true, at least three questions arise.

First, are C, T, and v universal categories, obligatory present in all languages or are there languages missing one (or more) of these categories (or having some other functional categories instead)?

Second, how much variation is there in clausal structure? What functional categories, apart from the suggested three core functional categories, are syntactically relevant? How much variability is required/allowed here? Do we need VoiceP, AspP, or TransitivityPhrase in addition to vP (cf. Alexiadou, Anagnastopolou, and Everaert 2004, MacDonald 2008, Bowers 2002)? Do we need a special “EPP”-projection in addition to TP (cf. Branigan 1992, Babyonyshev 1996)? How much evidence do we have for splitting the VP, TP or CP into several separate projections?

Third, how much variation and variability is required with regard to the core functional categories themselves? Chomsky (1999) differentiates between f-complete T (i.e., having a complete set of f-features and thus entering into the case-agreement system) and defective T, which is not selected by C and which does not enter into case-agreement system. By analogy, complete and defective vP’s have been distinguished (cf. Harves 2002, Lavine and Freidin 2002). What does it mean that v is defective? How many different v’s are there (cf. Alexiadou, Anagnastopoulou, and Everaert 2004, Kratzer 1994, 2000, and Harley and Noyer 1998)? How much variation is allowed in this system? For example, can a complete v be selected by a defective T or can both T and v be defective (cf. Lavine and Freidin 2002, Harves 2005)? Can C be defective as well (cf. Gallego 2007)?

More recently (cf. Chomsky 2005), it is assumed that T and, by analogy also V, do not have phi-features on their own, but inherit them from the phase heads, C and v, respectively. How much variation is allowed in the system? Does C (and by analogy v) always have to pass its phi-feature on to T (and V, respectively), or is it possible that C (or v) retains its phi-features? Are the features that are relevant for checking placed on one head (probe) or is something like split-probes (pairs of heads that complement each other and jointly have features relevant for checking) allowed (cf. Witkoś 2003)?

We invite abstracts related to any of the issues mentioned above.

Selected bibliography

  • Alexiadou, A., E. Anagnostopoulou, and M. Everaert (eds.). 2004. The unaccusativity puzzle: Explorations of the syntax-lexicon interface. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Babyonyshev, M. 1996. Structural connections in syntax and processing: Studies in Russian and Japanese. (Unpublished PhD dissertation, MIT, Cambridge, MA.)
  • Bowers, J. 2002. "Transivity". Linguistic Inquiry 33(2): 183-224.
  • Branigan, P. 1992. Subjects and complementizers. (Unpublished PhD Dissertation, MIT, Cambridge, MA.)
  • Chomsky, N. 1998. Minimalist inquiries: The framework. (MIT Occasional Papers in Linguistics 15.) (Published 2000 in: Martin, R., D. Michaels and J. Uriagereka (eds.), Step by step. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 89-155.)
  • Chomsky, N. 1999. Derivation by Phase. (MIT Occasional Papers in Linguistics 18.) (Published 2001 in: Kenstowicz, M. (ed.), Ken Hale: A Life in language. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 1-52.)
  • Chomsky, N. 2001. Beyond explanatory adequacy. (MIT Occasional Papers in Linguistics 20.) (Published 2004 in: Belletti, A. (ed.), Structures and beyond – The cartography of syntactic structure. (Vol. 3.) Oxford: Oxford University Press. 104-131.)
  • Chomsky, N. 2005. On Phases. (Ms., to appear in: Freidin, R., C. P. Otero and M.-L. Zubizaretta (eds.), Foundational issues in linguistic theory. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.)
  • Gallego, Á. 2007. Phase theory and parametric variation. (Unpublished PhD dissertation, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.)
  • Harley, H. and R. Noyer. 1998. "Licensing in the non-lexicalist lexicon: Nominalizations, vocabulary items and the Encyclopaedia". In: Harley, H. (ed.), Papers from the Upenn/MIT Roundtable on Argument Structure and Aspect. (MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 32). 119-137.
  • Harves, S. 2002. Unaccusative syntax in Russian. (Unpublished PhD dissertation, Princeton University.)
  • Harves, S. 2006. "Non-agreement, unaccusativity, and the external argument constraint". In: Lavine, J., S. L. Franks, M. Tasseva-Kurktchieva and H. Filip (eds.), Formal approaches to Slavic linguistics: The Princeton Meeting 2005 (FASL 14). Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Slavic Publications. 172-188.
  • Kratzer, A. 1994. The event argument and the semantics of voice. (Ms., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.)
  • Kratzer, A. 2000. "Building statives". Berkeley Linguistics Society 26.
  • Lavine, J. and R. Freidin 2002. "The subject of Defective T(ense) in Slavic". Journal of Slavic Linguistics 10: 253-289.
  • MacDonald, J. E. 2008. "Domain of aspectual interpretation". Linguistic Inquiry 39(1): 128–147.
  • Witkoś, J. (2003). "Some notes on single cycle syntax and Genitive of negation". In: Przepiórkowski, A. and P. Bański (eds.), Generative linguistics in Poland. Morphosyntactic investigations. (Proceedings of the GLiP-5 Conference held in Warszawa, Poland, 30 November–1 December.) Warszawa: Instytut Podstaw Informatyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk. 167-182.

Session organisers

  • Joanna Błaszczak (University of Wrocław), e-mail: joanna.blaszczak <at>
  • Gisbert Fanselow (University of Potsdam), e-mail: fanselow <at>
  • Jacek Witkoś (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań), e-mail: wjacek <at>

(In the email addresses above, replace "<at>" with "@".)

Abstract submission procedure

Please follow the general submission guidelines but send your abstract directly to the session organisers.