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MIT Linguistics: Department of Linguistics & Philosophy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Upcoming Colloquia: Spring 2013: Abstracts

All talks are from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in room 32-141 unless otherwise noted.

April 19:

Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, University of Toronto Mississauga
Phases as domains of linguistic computation: Second position clisis in Eastern Armenian

This talk explores the relevance of phases as domains of linguistic computation by bringing evidence from the positional distribution of an auxiliary clitic in Eastern Armenian. After a brief discussion of my general framework, I will turn to the distribution of the Eastern Armenian auxiliary in focus-neutral contexts. I will show that the auxiliary can best be analyzed as a second position clitic in the vP phase domain (akin to other second position clitics in the CP domain). I will then look at the distribution of the auxiliary in sentences involving focused constituents, wh-phrases and negation and will provide a syntactic account of these facts based on movement of the auxiliary to the focus head (similar to other cases of verb movement to focus heads in other languages). I will finally argue that in order to unify the distribution of the auxiliary in these two contexts, the notion of phasehood should be extended to include focus heads. I will show how this proposal may pave the way for an analysis of the distribution of the auxiliary in sentences involving multiple foci. This talk draws heavily on the parallelism between CP and vP both in terms of their status as phases, but also their structural make-up. To the extent that it succeeds in accounting for the presented facts, it provides further support for this parallelism. (The bulk of this talk is based on joint work with Karine Megerdoomian.)