Browsing by Author "Ritter, Elizabeth"
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- ItemOpen AccessFrom phonology to syntax — and back again: Hierarchical structure in Irish and Blackfoot(2017) Windsor, Joseph W.; Flynn, Darin; Ritter, Elizabeth; de Cuba, Carlos; O'Brien, Mary; McGillivray, Murray; Bennett, RyanThe interface between phonology and syntax is a tool that can be used to provide additional evidence for study in one grammatical component or the other. Through understanding how these components interact, one can use syntactic constituent structure to control for prosodic confounds in experimentation. Conversely, one can use phonological evidence to decide between competing syntactic analyses. In ideal cases, phonological and syntactic evidence can be used in tandem, allowing converging evidence to reinforce a hypothesis. In this dissertation, I undertake three case studies to highlight: i. how a knowledge of syntactic constituent structure can increase control over prosodic variables and enable more efficient phonological research; ii. how an understanding of prosodic constituent structure can be used to motivate an underlying syntactic structure at spell-out and enable analysis of morphosyntactic features and operations before spell-out; and, iii. how the use of phonological and syntactic study in tandem can help rule out competing analyses. The first case study utilizes an analysis of syntactic constituent structure to control for different levels of prosodic prominence. The analysis of prominence made possible by syntactic assumptions allows the establishment of a hypothesis into the origins of a stress-shift phenomenon in one dialect of Irish. The second case study correlates observable sound alternations to prosodic boundaries and morpho-syntactic categories in Blackfoot. The analysis of prosodic structure facilitates the formation of a hypothesis about suffixation that is suggested to be the result of syntactic agreement, rather than head-movement operations. The third case study uses the phonological and syntactic analyses from both of the preceding studies and applies those findings to analyze the prosodic and syntactic constituency of demonstratives in both Irish and Blackfoot. A hypothesis towards a common structure for nominal expressions in the two languages is suggested, despite obvious surface differences in realization. Finally, predictions based on that hypothesis are made with questions for future cross-linguistic research. Each of the case studies examined herein contribute to the over-arching goal of the dissertation: To understand how cross-component evidence can provide additional insight and research tools towards a specific problem in one grammatical component or the other.
- ItemOpen AccessThe incompatibility of lexical derivation and post-lexical arguments*(University of Calgary, 1995-01) Ritter, Elizabeth; Rosen, Sara ThomasIn the present paper we demonstrate that the aspectual role CAUSER is syntactically assigned. This assumption allows a principled distinction between indirect causers and agents; it also accounts for restrictions on argument inheritance in lexical derivation, including the restriction against derivation of causativized verbs discussed in Pesetsky (1992), and the failure of -er nominalization of causativized verbs noted in Brousseau and Ritter (1991).
- ItemOpen AccessThe Interactional Structure of Nominals: An Investigation of Paranouns(2021-07-30) McDonald, Brittany; Ritter, Elizabeth; Storoshenko, Dennis Ryan; Whaley, Ben; Ritter, ElizabethPronouns are often thought to be a uniform syntactic class both inside and outside of linguistics. Despite this, comparing languages like Japanese and English reveals striking differences between their pronoun paradigms. English pronouns express contrasting sets of person, number, and gender features (i.e., phi-features), but Japanese pronouns encode far more content like the relative age, gender, and social status of the speaker, addressee, and other referents. Ritter & Wiltschko (2019) propose that the Japanese and Korean so-called pronouns are actually a different type of nominal called paranouns. This thesis takes Ritter & Wiltschko’s conceptual description of paranouns and develops a set of explicit diagnostics for distinguishing pronouns and paranouns and tests a sample of six East and Southeast Asian languages whose so-called pronouns have similar properties to those of Japanese and Korean (namely: Burmese, Khmer, Thai, Vietnamese, Lao, and Malay/Indonesian). It also tests the broader syntactic distribution of paranouns in the context of binding theory. This thesis concludes that five of the six languages tested have paranouns rather than pronouns while one language, Malay/Indonesian, appears to be transitioning from having pronouns to having paranouns. It also determines that the binding theoretic properties of paranouns are distinct from those of pronouns.
- ItemOpen AccessThe Interplay of Memory and Sentence Structure on the Resolution of Persian Pronouns(2019-07-09) Nakhaei, Mahyar; Storoshenko, Dennis Ryan; Ritter, Elizabeth; Sabbaghan, SoroushOne of the most prominent hypotheses in the realm of pronoun resolution in pro-drop languages is the Position of Antecedent Hypothesis (PAH) according to which null pronouns are more likely to select subject antecedents whereas overt pronouns are more likely to be linked with non-subject antecedents. A plethora of studies attempts to examine the extension of PAH to several pro-drop languages. However, none has taken the differences between individuals into account. It has been claimed that the working memory capacity of individuals as one measure of individual difference might affect processing pronouns by native speakers of a language. I will show that the memory load has a facilitative role in the resolution of Persian pronouns whereas working memory of individuals is not a predictor variable. Moreover, overt pronouns behave more consistently with predictions of PAH especially when the memory load is low. Keywords: Pronouns, Pro-drop, PAH, Working Memory, Persian
- ItemOpen AccessInvestigating extra-sentential factors' roles in interpreting Mandarin ziji: the interaction of extra-sentential (co)reference and intra-sentential coreference(2020-08) Han, Peng; Storoshenko, Dennis Ryan; Charnavel, Isabelle; Sciban, Shu-Ning; Liebesman, David; Ritter, ElizabethThis thesis addresses two problems concerning the studies of Mandarin reflexive ziji: the lack of studies on ziji’s extra-sentential (co)reference, and the disregard for extra-sentential factors’ effects on ziji’s interpretation. Through reviewing previous studies, this thesis sorted out three broad uses of ziji predicting ziji’s extra-sentential (co)reference, i.e., logophoric ziji (attitudinal ziji and empathy ziji), contemplative ziji (discursive contemplative ziji and contextual contemplative ziji), and indexical ziji. To verify the predicted uses, a corpus study of sentence-initial ziji was conducted. While logophoric ziji and contemplative ziji were validated, Anand’s indexical ziji was not. This thesis also proposed a shiftable indexical analysis for contemplative ziji: contextual contemplative ziji is analyzed as an indexical referring to the perspective center in the utterance context; the use of discursive contemplative ziji arises from a shift of the circumstances to evaluate ziji, from the utterance context to the situation where the relevant thought was produced. This analysis is different from Anand’s, where ziji is treated as an indexical referring to the speaker. Turning back to the validated uses, they demonstrate the extra-sentential (co)referential potentials introduced by discourse and context. These potentials can interfere with ziji’s intra-sentential coreference. As evidenced in an experiment testing the blocking effect in various contexts, the context “contemplation” can enhance ziji’s intra-sentential coreference with 1st person antecedents because ziji in “contemplation” allows a contextual contemplative use and its reference to the contemplator coincides with the reference derived from the 1st person antecedents. Moreover, discourse and context can affect ziji’s intra-sentential coreference by directly acting on the variables involved in ziji’s empathy use, e.g., increasing a referent’s empathy level and making the referent more likely to be empathized with. There are other extra-sentential factors affecting ziji’s interpretation. It was hypothesized that written stimuli activate more of ziji’s contextual contemplative readings than oral stimuli, though this effect from modality was not confirmed by experiment results, possibly due to the interference from the way that acceptability judgments were made. Despite this, another effect from modality was revealed, which is proposed to arise from written stimuli’s constant accessibility in contrast to oral stimuli’s evanescence.
- ItemOpen AccessModal Syntax and Semantics: Concord and Multiple Modals(2017) Lewis, Blake; Storoshenko, Dennis; Ritter, Elizabeth; Liebesman, DavidThis thesis examines two issues related to modal elements, modal concord and the presence of multiple modal auxiliaries. I claim that when two modal elements are interpreted in concord, they are joined via predicate modification at LF, and when modal elements are not interpreted in concord they are joined via functional application at LF. I provide evidence that modal auxiliaries are not merged in the T0 of the syntactic structure, but rather in a recursive modal phrase directly below T0. When there is more than one modal auxiliary in a clause, they are each merged into their own modal phrase.
- ItemOpen AccessModelling Exposure and Input in Language Acquisition(2021-12-20) Hracs, Lindsay; Carroll, Susanne; Ritter, Elizabeth; Aycock, John; Storoshenko, Dennis; Graham, Susan; Lidz, JeffreyAcquiring the focus-sensitive particle 'only' requires children to integrate information from multiple different domains. Specifically, they must (i) segment and store sound forms and come to understand that constituents in Focus typically bear focal accent; (ii) figure out the linear and grammatical distribution of 'only'; (iii) figure out that 'only' introduces a restriction on a set of possibilities; and (iv) construct a set of alternatives. Previous examinations of this learning problem show that children exhibit non-target-like behaviour until later stages of development (Crain et al., 1992; Crain et al., 1994; Gualmini et al., 2003; Kim, 2011; Notley et al., 2009; Paterson et al., 2003; Paterson et al., 2006; Philip & Lynch, 2000). The difficulty children have is often attributed to either lacking requisite syntactic knowledge or the inability to construct a set of alternatives. Using a novel approach, the current project aims to shed light on the issues by investigating the role of exposure and input in the acquisition of 'only'. Chapter 2 provides a theoretical analysis from the perspective of Jackendoff’s Parallel Architecture (Jackendoff, 1997, 2002a, 2017), and argues that an approach which advocates for a direct interface between language and cognition can better account for the properties of 'only'. Chapter 3 offers a critical review of the previous studies along with an overview of the learning problem and a discussion of exposure and input. Results from the corpus study in Chapter 4 show that across development, the frequency of 'only' in caregiver speech is a significant predictor of the frequency of 'only' in child speech, and that the distribution of 'only' is similar in caregiver and child utterances. Finally, results from the modelling study in Chapter 5 indicate that learners are biased toward different distributional cues in the input, and that this bias changes over the course of development as a function of the learner’s grammar in combination with evidence corresponding to particular hypotheses about the interpretation of utterances containing 'only'.
- ItemOpen AccessOnline and Offline Examinations of Constituent Order in Persian Ditransitives(2020-06-17) Abdollahnejad, Elias; Storoshenko, Dennis Ryan; Carroll, Susanne; Ritter, Elizabeth; Pexman, Penny M.; Ghomeshi, JilaThe present dissertation is an empirical investigation of ordering variation of objects in Persian ditransitive through the use of a judgement survey (offline) and two online psycholinguistic techniques: self-paced reading (Just et al., 1982) and cross-modal lexical priming (Swinney et al., 1979). Leaning on the well-established literature on the active filler-gap dependency processing, the present work is an attempt to tackle the issue of the relative orderings of the direct object (DO) and the indirect object (IO) in Persian ditransitive structures, in which the specificity (specific in the discourse) of the DO determines its surface position relative to the IO, i.e. DO[+Specific]-IO, IO-DO[-Specific]. There are two existing analyses of the sources of this object ordering variation in Persian ditransitives; (i) it is caused by two distinct processes (two separate Merge operations), (ii) it is caused by a single process with two possible stages (a Merge and a Move operation). This syntactic question provides a good case study to achieve the main goal of the dissertation: showing that some well-established online techniques extend to Persian and can be used to shed light on a controversial syntactic structure for which the syntactic accounts have not been able to provide a conclusive analysis. The survey is designed to provide systematic acceptability judgements of some commonly discussed syntactic diagnostics used in arguments for either of the two existing analyses of Persian ditransitives. The unclear results of the survey are used as an argument for motivating online methods to investigate the case of ordering variation in Persian ditransitives. The results of both online studies show evidence of a copy/trace of the DO after the IO in DO[+Specific]-IO structures indicating its movement. The cross-modal lexical priming study also indicates that this movement is an A-movement operation. According to the results of this dissertation, these online techniques extend to Persian and, therefore, can be utilized to tackle theoretical questions in the language. The overall results also show that a convincing argument for a single theoretical analysis can be made using the results of a planned series of studies that approach an issue using different methodologies.
- ItemOpen AccessPersian Complex Predicates: Evidence for Verb Movement from Ellipsis and Negation(2016) SHAFIEI ILKHECHY, Nazila; Storoshenko, Dennis Ryan; Carroll, Susanne Elizabeth; Ritter, ElizabethPersian has two main verb forms, Simplex Predicates and Complex Predicates (CPr). CPrs consist of a Non-Verbal element (NV), which can be a noun, adjective, adverb or proposition, and a Light Verb (LV) (Vahedi-Langarudi 1996). There has been a controversy on the relation and syntactic position of these two elements. Megerdoomian (2001, 2012) believes that these two elements form a constituent and therefore, treats the CPrs as one syntactic unit. On the other hand, Folli, Harley and Karimi (2005) believe that the NV takes the internal argument as its complement and projects its own phrase, which then merges with the LV. In the present thesis, I provide evidence in support for Megerdoomian’s proposal building on two main lines of argumentation from ellipsis in VPs and the scope of negation. These two argumentations lead me to suggest that the NV and the LV project a head, which I name the Complex-Verb (CV).
- ItemOpen AccessProjecting possessors: A Morphosyntactic Investigation of Nominal Possession in Tigrinya(2013-05-28) Gebregziabher, Keffyalew; Ritter, ElizabethIn this dissertation, I examine the grammatical expression of possession in Tigrinya, a lesser-studied Semitic language of Ethiopia and Eritrea. I show that possession in Tigrinya is encoded by two strategies, which differ in both structure and function: (i) PREDICATIONAL STRATEGY has the particle nay and is used for alienable possession; (ii) ARGUMENTAL STRATEGY or BARE POSSESSION has no nay and is used for inalienable possession. To account for such differences, I propose different treatments for both types of possession. For alienable or nay-marked possession, I consider two competing hypotheses that have been proposed for a similar element yå- in Amharic, a very closely related language: Either yå- is a genitive case-marker (Ouhalla 2004) or yå- is a LINKER (den Dikken 2007a). I argue that the two hypotheses are untenable because they fail to account for all the facts of Tigrinya. I develop an alternative proposal and claim that nay is a nominal copula and that its role is to introduce a predicational relation between the nay-marked predicate (e.g., possessor) and its subject (e.g., possessee). For inalienable or bare possession, I first compare them with similar constructions in Hebrew: Construct state nominals (CSNs). I show that Tigrinya bare possessive nominals (BPNs) are a type of CSN. I also consider two competing hypotheses previously proposed for Semitic CSNs: Head movement (SHM) (Ritter 1991) and snowballing phrasal movement (SPM) (Shlonsky 2004). I argue that SPM is both theoretically and empirically inadequate for Tigrinya and that HM should be recast in line with current Minimalist assumptions (Chomsky 1995b et seq.). I develop an alternative analysis arguing that both Tigrinya and Hebrew CSNs involve a non-standard head movement – head-to-Spec movement accompanied by Morphological Merger (Matushansky 2006) in their DP structure. Additionally, I claim that differences between Tigrinya and Hebrew arise due to unique properties of the categories N and D: While Hebrew Ns are inherently specified for a [DEF] feature, Tigrinya Ns are not. Also, while the [DEF] feature of the D head in Hebrew is inherently unvalued and strong ([_DEF*]) and causes the N to move to D, the [DEF] feature of the D head in Tigrinya is inherently valued ([±DEF]) and does not cause the noun to move. Finally, generalizing from the proposal of possession herein, the dissertation makes predictions about alienable and inalienable possession in natural languages in general. It proposes that cross-linguistic variation arises due to the availability of both an argumental and a predicative strategy for expressing alienable possession. Each of these strategies requires different functional categories and induces substantial differences in the syntactic structure.
- ItemOpen AccessTumʔi: A Phonetic & Phonological Analysis of a Khoisan Variety(2020-01) Kilian, Kelly; Bennett, Wm G.; Flynn, Darin; Ritter, Elizabeth; Bennett, Wm G.; Winters, Stephen J.As part of a linguistic research team I recorded a Khoisan language currently spoken by a linguistic community of three in the northern cape of South Africa. As the location in which this language was discovered is situated geographically close to varieties of both the Khoekhoe and Tuu language families, the question of genetic affiliation and typological similarity within the Khoisan lineages becomes significant. This will be addressed through the analysis of phonetic, phonological and lexical similarities and oppositions between Tumʔi and representative Tuu and Khoekhoe languages (Beach 1938; Bleek 1930; Ladefoged & Traill 1994; Miller et al. 2007). Overall this project attempts to answer the question, how unique is this undocumented language Tumʔi in comparison to varieties of geographically neighboring Khoisan languages? The analysis is comprised of a detailed description of the vowel and consonant systems, as well as evidence of any contrastive phonetic and phonological features. The clear focus on the analysis of sound contrasts is a consequence of limited data due to speaker competence (Grinevald, 2007). As a result of incomplete acquisition and generational linguistic attrition, the recorded utterances constitute Khoisan content words produced within an Afrikaans framework (Killian 2009). Specific research questions include: • What is the sound inventory of this language? • Are there phonation or glottalization contrasts between vowels? • What click types and accompaniments make up the inventory? • Are there laryngeal contrasts between consonants? Results of the analyses indicate the following; Tumʔi shows traces of a phonation contrast, uvular click accompaniment, and evidence of laryngeally marked stops. The phonological typology shares more similarities with the Southern Khoisan varieties of the Tuu family than with varieties of the central Khoekhoe family. Direct implications for this project include contribution to the current areal typological isoglosses separating the varieties of Khoisan located in southern Africa (Güldemann 2006). The final contribution of this work is the documentation of a moribund Khoisan dialect which has undergone no prior linguistic or anthropological investigation.