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University of Connecticut College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Linguistics

Jonathan Bobaljik | Mini-course at UCLA

Published on May, 16 2014 at 12:23pm

Jonathan Bobaljik will be giving a mini-course (5 lectures) on Distributed Morphology at UCLA, May 16-22, 2014.


In this mini-course, we will look into the types of evidence that bear on current debates about the internal structure of words, and the relationship of morphology to other components of grammar (especially, but not only, syntax). We examine the central tenets of the framework of Distributed Morphology, namely arguments for hierarchical (syntactic) structure within complex words (syntax-all-the-way-down), and that this structure is abstract, independent of the phonological pieces that realize the structure (Late insertion). A central area of investigation concerns (apparent) mismatches, for example where the syntactic structure and morphological structure appear to differ, or where a form varies for context in ways that are not phonologically predictable (allomorphy). This leads to discussion of how complex the mapping from syntax to morpho(phonology) needs to be, how additional formal devices are to be constrained, and where the trade-offs may be found, enriching one component or the other in favour of a more straightforward mapping.

Evidence will be drawn from cross-linguistic surveys of morphological patterns, espeically those that stand as contenders for universal generalizations, including (time permitting) suppletion in adjectival morphology (Bobaljik 2012 Universals in Comparative Morphology); locative morphology (Radkevich 2010); and the expression of person and case morphology (Caha 2009), and other features that appear to participate in 'markedness' hierarchies.