3 March 2012, Room 4418, SOAS main building, Russell Square.
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Past research on the second language acquisition of English morphosyntactic properties has converged on robust evidence that: (1) paths of acquisition of grammatical morphemes are developmentally set and largely unaffected by the learners’ L1; (2) exponents of Infl are optionally omitted; and (3) misuse of exponents is systematic and non-random.
This study concerns analysis of prosodic focus in Hijazi Arabic. It aims at an exploration of the interaction between prosody on one hand, and the syntactic and discourse level of the utterances on the other. This analysis is a step towards an LFG discourse-grammar-prosody model.
The Sasak language is spoken on the island of Lombok (immediately east of Bali) by around 2.5 million speakers. It shows great internal variation, both geographical and social, with a complex linguistic ecology. The geographical varieties show variation in phonology, lexicon and morpho-syntax, especially in the areas of clitic pronouns (Austin 1996, 2006) and valence-changing processes (Austin 1996, 2000, 2001), but also in verbal morphology. All varieties have nasal-prefix verbs (also called ‘nasal verbs’, Arka 1998) and non-nasal prefix verbs (also called ‘oral verbs’ or ‘zero verbs’), however in some varieties the contrast has syntactic relevance in terms of relating to cross-clausal ‘pivot’ choice, while in others the contrast is related to different semantic-pragmatic interpretations of the Agent NP and non-agentlike NP in a two-argument clause (where such an argument must be interpreted as non-referential or non-specific in the nasal-prefix verb construction) or the information structure properties of the clause.
The stative passive in German has been analysed in several ways in the literature. This presentation argues that distributional and morphological evidence support an analysis in which a copula verb sein ('to be') is used with a deverbal adjective. In addition, the fact that not all German predicative constructions involving resultatives can be unambiguously assigned passive or non-passive argument structure can be captured if a participle-adjective conversion rule occurs before passivization, as suggested by Kibort (2005) for English.
Impersonal passives and predicative adverbial constructions challenge the standard theory by disallowing a subject at any syntactic level of representation. Verbless predicative constructions, on the other hand, are a challenge since they have no main (finite) verb. Some verbless predicative constructions are known as "small clauses", others as nonverbal predication constructions without a copula. Based on Polish data, I will present a typology of constructions involving nonverbal predication. I will show that the so-called passive participle can function as the predicative element in all these constructions, without the constructions necessarily being passive. I will attempt to provide f-structure models for all the constructions: those without a finite verb, those without a subject, and those without either. Finally, I will hypothesise how to reconcile the active vs passive ambiguity of some of these constructions with the fact that active and passive predicates have different a-structures.