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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Guest Speaker Seminar: Elise Newman

When: Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Where: Bancroft:1.01.1

Dr Newman will give a talk entitled Pied-piping phi.

Abstract. This talk is about the representation of goals for phi-agreement. Much recent work discusses two surprising properties of phi-agreement.

  1. Phi-agreement, like movement, can pied-pipe more features than it is looking for.
  2. Phi-probes can search for the conjunction of two features, e.g. [part+pl], as argued by Coon & Bale (2014).

I argue that these two properties of phi-agreement demand a particular representation of phi-features on goals, based on insights from the literature on pied-piping in movement. Specifically, phi-features on goals must be represented as a flat bundle (e.g. {part,pl,addr...}), rather than a geometry (e.g. [phi [num [pl]] [pers [part [addr]]]]), in order for phi-agreement to have properties (1) and (2).

That said, many authors who discuss (1) and (2) argue that phi-probes interact with a feature geometry rather than a bundle on goals, despite challenges from (1) and (2). I will discuss these arguments and propose that the flat bundle theory survives these challenges when we consider properties of the interfaces. By contrast, I suggest that the geometric view is unsalvageable because it under-generates with respect to (1) and (2).


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