Dienstag, 26. April 2022, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

Vortrag: Lauren Clemens (University at Albany, NY)

"Syntactic ergativity as a constraint against crossing-dependencies" (joint work with Rebecca Tollan"


Online-Vortrag via Zoom. Für den Link melden Sie sich bitte per Email bei Laura Grestenberger (laura.grestenberger@univie.ac.at) an.



Abstract: The absolutive inversion account of syntactic ergativity maintains that the position of the absolutive object above the merge site of the ergative subject renders the ergative subject inaccessible to movement (Murusagi 1992, Bittner and Hale 1995, Aldridge 2004; Coon et al. 2014, Coon et al. 2019, and others). Tollan and Clemens (to appear) builds on this theory of syntactic ergativity by revisiting the question of why absolutive inversion results in the inability of the ergative argument to undergo A'-bar movement. In this talk, I will present our account of syntactic ergativity, which is based on the grammaticalization of a processing-based preference for nested as compared to crossing dependencies. More precisely, ergative subject extraction restrictions arise, because such movement would cross the prior A'-movement path of the absolutive object and create an illicit crossed dependency. We further predict that arguments merged between the A-movement tails of the absolutive DP cannot extract, whereas arguments merged above or below them can. In developing an approach to syntactic ergativity grounded in sentence processing, we highlight the need for deeper conversation between formal, typological, and processing-driven syntax.

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Wiener Sprachgesellschaft


Laura Grestenberger
Universität Wien
Institut für Sprachwissenschaft