Wang, Kido & Snyder | Language Acquisition

The article “Acquisition of English adjectival resultatives: Support for the Compounding Parameter” by Shuyan Wang, Yasuhito Kido (visiting scholar 2017-2018), and William Snyder has just appeared as an online first article ahead of its print publication in Language Acquisition. Congratulations!

Abstract: Two distinctive types of complex predicates found in English are separable verb-particle combinations (“particles”) and adjectival resultatives (“ARs”). Snyder ties both to the positive setting of the Compounding Parameter (“TCP”). This predicts that during the acquisition of a [+TCP] language, any child who has acquired ARs or particles will also permit “creative” bare-stem, endocentric compounding. Existing support comes from children acquiring Japanese and English. Yet the same evidence introduces two new puzzles: (i) why is compounding acquired roughly a year earlier in English than in Japanese?; and (ii) in English, why is compounding always acquired at the same time as (and never substantially prior to) particles? Here, we argue that both puzzles can be explained if we allow the trigger for a single parameter-setting (e.g., [+TCP]) to be completely different for children acquiring different languages. Specifically, the trigger for [+TCP] (and hence, ARs) in English is proposed to be particles, which are unavailable in Japanese. Two novel predictions are tested and supported: (i) the frequency will be higher for particles than for any (other) potential trigger in child-directed English or Japanese; and (ii) children acquiring English (unlike Japanese) will have reliably adult-like comprehension of ARs by the age of 3 years.

Van der Hulst | The Oxford History of Phonology

The Oxford History of Phonology co-edited by B. Elan Dresher and Harry van der Hulst has just been published in ebook form by Oxford University Press and will be published as a physical volume on March 24th.

This 900-page book provides a history of phonology with contributions of 35 authors, covering phonology in Ancient India, Japan and Korea, the Greek and Roman traditions, the role of early writing systems as evidencing phonological structure and then focussing on the start of crucial developments in the nineteens and early twentieth centry, following by theories and school in later times up to the present time.

The volume also contains the following chapters written by UConn linguists:

  • Harry van der Hulst. The (early) history of sign language phonology
  • Nancy A. Ritter. Government Phonology in historical perspective
  • Andrea Calabrese. Historical notes on constraint-and-repair approaches


Coppola et al. | Article in Phonology

The article “Community interactions and phonemic inventories in emerging sign languages” by Marie Coppola, Diane Brentari, Rabia Ergin, Ann Senghas, Pyeong Whan Cho, and Eli Owens has been published online as an advance article in Phonology.

Abstract: In this work, we address structural, iconic and social dimensions of the emergence of phonological systems in two emerging sign languages. A comparative analysis is conducted of data from a village sign language (Central Taurus Sign Language; CTSL) and a community sign language (Nicaraguan Sign Language; NSL). Both languages are approximately 50 years old, but the sizes and social structures of their respective communities are quite different. We find important differences between the two languages’ handshape inventories. CTSL’s handshape inventory has changed more slowly than NSL’s across the same time period. In addition, while the inventories of the two languages are of similar size, handshape complexity is higher in NSL than in CTSL. This work provides an example of the unique and important perspective that emerging sign languages offer regarding longstanding questions about how phonological systems emerge.

UConn linguists in Tu+6 proceedings

The Proceedings of the Workshop on Turkic and Languages in Contact with Turkic, which contains peer-reviewed papers based on presentations given at the Tu+6 conference, has just been published. The volume contains three papers from current UConn students:

  • Sarah Jane Asinari and Si Kai Lee. Variable Conjunct Agreement in Qaraqalpaq
  • Robin Jenkins. Specificity Effects and Object Movement In Turkish and Uyghur
  • Rebecca Lewis. Associative Plurality and the DP/NP typology

Magda & Stefan Kaufmann | Article in Journal of Semantics

Magda and Stefan Kaufmann’s paper “Iffy Endorsements” has been published online as an advance article in the Journal of Semantics.

Abstract: Theories of imperatives differ in how they aim to derive the distributional and functional properties of this clause type. One point of divergence is how to capture the fact that imperative utterances convey the speaker’s endorsement for the course of events described. Condoravdi & Lauer (2017) observe that conditionals with imperative consequents (conditionalized imperatives, CIs) are infelicitous as motivations of advice against doing something and take this as evidence for an analysis of imperatives as encoding speaker endorsement. We investigate CIs in further contexts and argue that their account in terms of preferential conflicts fails to capture the more general infelicity of CIs as motivations for or against doing something. We develop an alternative in which imperatives do not directly encode speaker preferences, but express modalized propositions and impose restrictions on the discourse structure (along the lines of Kaufmann, 2012). We show how this carries over to conditionalized imperatives to derive the behavior of CIs, and conclude with a discussion of more general problems regarding an implementation of conditional preferential commitments, an issue that can be avoided on our account of imperatives.

Hiromune Oda | Article in TLR

Hiromune Oda‘s paper Decomposing and deducing the Coordinate Structure Constraint has been published online in The Linguistic Review ahead of the print version (see short abstract below). Congratulations Hiro!

The article shows that the Coordinate Structure Constraint (CSC) can be violated in a number of languages and establishes a novel cross-linguistic generalization regarding languages that allow violations of the CSC. A phase-based deduction of this generalization is then provided under a particular contextual approach to phases. In addition, based on the cross-linguistic data regarding violations of the CSC, it is argued that the CSC should be separated into two conditions: (i) the ban on extraction of a conjunct, and (ii) the ban on extraction out of a conjunct. This means that the whole coordinate structure (ConjP) as well as individual conjuncts are islands independently of each other. The article also addresses the long-standing debate regarding where in the grammar the CSC applies, arguing that the two different conditions that result from the separation of the traditional CSC ((i) and (ii) above) are deduced from different mechanisms in the architecture of the grammar: one is a purely syntactic condition, and the other is an interface condition.

Goodwin & Coppola in UConn Today

A recent publication by Corina Goodwin and Marie Coppola in the journal Child Development (“Language not auditory experience is related to parent-reported executive functioning in preschool-aged deaf and hard-of-hearing children”) was featured in UConn Today.

The article, titled “To Young Brains, Language Is Language, Whether Signed or Spoken” can be read here.

Sign Language & Linguistics | Special Issue

A special issue of Sign Language & Linguistics in memory of Irit Meir was recently published, guest edited by Diane Lillo-Martin, Wendy Sandler, Marie Coppola, and Rose Stamp, who also wrote the introductory article “Irit Meir”.

The issue also contains the article “Person vs. locative agreement: Evidence from late learners and language emergence” by Lily Kwok (MA 2019), Stephanie Berk (PhD 2004), and Diane Lillo-Martin.