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LING 5900/8900 – Constraints on Movement, Spring 2018

This is the webpage for LING 5900 01/8900 01, Constraints on Movement, for Fall 2018. Here's where you'll find the schedule, readings, and slides.

One of the hallmark properties of human language is displacement (or "movement"), or situations in which a word or phrase is interpreted in one position but surfaces in another, (1). Although displacement is permitted from many constructions (2), there are also conditions on displacement, e.g., (3) is unacceptable.

(1) Who did you see ___ at the police station?
(2) Who did you see Dale with __ at the police station?
(3) *Who did you see Dale and __ at the police station?

These constraints on movement, often called island constraints, are observed in every reported language, and are relatively uniform in their application. Furthermore, children appear to have mastery over island constraints at a very young age, and adults rapidly and robustly use island constraints in real-time sentence processing. The kinds of questions that we will ask in this class are: Why do island constraints exist? Are they fundamentally constraints on the forms of sentences, or do they follow naturally from the ways that language is used and processed? How do children learn these phenomena, or are they innate? How and when do adults use this knowledge to produce and understand sentences in real time? Which island constraints are "universal", which ones vary, and why?


Handouts (schedule surely to change):
Week 1: Introduction (Dustin)
Week 2: Overview of Syntactic Approaches (Chomsky 1977; Dustin)
Week 3: Islands and Phonology (Fox & Lasnik 2004; Uriagereka 1999)
Week 4: Cross-Language Differences (Rudin 1988; Sprouse et al 2016)
Week 5: Islands with No Movement? (Pesetsky 2000; Cheng 2009); Journal 1 Due
Week 6: Information-Structure Approaches (Erteschik-Shir & Lappin 1979; Ambridge & Goldberg 2008)
Week 7: Semantic Exceptions (Truswell 2007; Lakoff 1986); Proposal Due
Week 8: Weak Islands (Abrusán 2011) 
Week 9Working Memory and Islands (Hofmeister & Sag 2010; Sprouse, Wagers, & Phillips 2012)
Week 10: Resumption (Alexopoulou & Keller 2007; Chacón & Phillips 2018); Journal 2 Due; Outline Due
Week 11Islands in Processing (Phillips 2006; Yoshida et al 2014)
Week 12: Islands and Learnability (Pearl & Sprouse 2013; Phillips 2013)
Week 13: Subjacency in Children (de Villiers et al 2008; Sugisaki 2012); First Draft Due
Week 14: Parameter Setting and the ECP (Chacón et al 2018); Journal 3 Due
Week 15: Presentations
Finals Week: Final Paper Due


Abrusán, Márta. 2011. Presuppositional and negative islands: a semantic account. Natural Language Semantics 19, 257–321.
Alexopoulou, Theodora, Frank Keller. 2007. Locality, Cyclicity, and Resumption: At the interface between the grammar and human sentence processor. Language 83(1), 110–160.
Beck, Sigrid. 2006. Intervention effects follow form focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 14(1), 1–56.
Chacón, Dustin Alfonso, Colin Phillips. 2018. Not minding the gap: Conditions on resumption in sentence comprehension. Ms, University of Minnesota.
Chacón, Dustin Alfonso, Michael Fetters, Margaret Kandel, Eric Pelzl, Colin Phillips. 2018. Indirect learning and language variation: Reassessing the that-trace effect. Ms, University of Minnesota
Cheng, Lisa Lai-Shen. 2009. Wh-in-situ, from the 1980s to Now. Language and Linguistics Compass 3(3), 767–791.
Chomsky, Noam. 1977. On Wh-Movement. In P. Cullicover, T. Wasow, A. Akmajian (eds.) Formal Syntax, 71–133. New York: Academic Press. 
Chomsky, Noam. 1981. Lectures on Government and Binding. Dordrecht: Foris.
de Villiers, Jill, Thomas Roeper, Anne Vainikka. 1990. The Acquisition of Long-Distance Rules, in L. Frazier & J. de Villiers (eds) Language Processing and Language Acquisition, 257–297. Dordrecht: Kluwer
de Villiers, Jill, Thomas Roeper, Linda Bland-Stewart, & Barbara Pearson. 2008. Answering hard questions: Wh-movement across dialects and disorder. Applied Psycholinguistics 29(1), 67–103.
Erteschik-Shir, Nomi, Shalom Lappin. 1979. Dominance and the functional explanation of island phenomena. Theoretical Linguistics 6
Fox, Danny, Howard Lasnik. 2004. Successive-Cyclic Movement and Island Repair: The Difference Between Sluicing and VP-Ellipsis. Linguistic Inquiry 34(1), 143–154.
Hofmeister, Philip, & Ivan Sag. 2010. Cognitive constraints and island effects. Language 86(2), 366–415.
Kotek, Hadas. 2017. Dissociating intervention effects from superiority in English wh-questions. The Linguistic Review 34(2), 397–417.
Lakoff, George. 1986. Frame Semantic Control of the Coordinate Structure Constraint. Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistics Society
Pearl, Lisa, & Jon Sprouse. 2013. Syntactic Islands and Learning Biases: Combining Experimental Syntax and Computational Modeling to Investigate the Language Acquisition Problem. Language Acquisition 20(1), 23–68.
Pesetsky, David. 2000. Phrasal Movement and Its Kin. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Phillips, Colin. 2006. The real-time status of island phenomena. Language 82(4), 795–823.
Phillips, Colin. 2013. The nature of island constraints II: Language learning and innateness. In J. Sprouse & N. Hornstein (eds.) Experimental Syntax and Island Effects, 132–158. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rudin, Catherine. 1988. On Multipel Questions and Multiple Wh-Fronting. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 6(4), 445–501.
Sprouse, Jon, Matthew Wagers, Colin Phillips. 2012. A test of the relation between working-memory capacity and syntactic island effects. Language 88(1), 82–123.
Sprouse, Jon, Ivano Caponigro, Ciro Greco, Carlo Cecchetto. 2016. Experimental syntax and the variation of island effects in English and Italian. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 34, 307–344.
Sugisaki, Koji. 2012. LF Wh-Movement and its Locality Constraints in Child Japanese. Language Acquisition 19(2), 174–181.
Truswell, Robert. 2007. Extraction from adjuncts and the structure of events. Lingua 117(8), 1355–1377.
Uriagereka, Juan. 1999. Multiple Spell-Out. In S. Epstein & N. Hornstein (eds.), Working Minimalism, 251–282. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Yoshida, Masaya, Nina Kazanina, Leticia Pablos, & Patrick Sturt. 2014. On the origin of islands. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience 29(7), 761–770.
Dustin Alfonso Chacón,
Dec 6, 2017, 4:31 PM