The impact of morphology on change in agreement systems

Posted on June 13, 2013 by

On Wednesday 26th June, Michele Loporcaro (University of Zürich) will be visiting the department to talk about the impact of morphology on change in agreement systems. Here’s the abstract:

Agreement is a syntactic mechanism involving morphosyntatic categories such as person, number, gender. Quite trivially, it is morphology that has to provide the formal means for this syntactic mechanism to result in surface contrasts: thus, the signalling of agreement stays and falls with (the contrast between cells of) the morphological paradigms whose cells are defined in terms of distinct values of the morphosyntactic category/categories at issue.
Interestingly, however, it also happens, if more rarely, that pure morphology (e.g. [contrasts in] inflectional classes) conditions change in (syntactic) agreement rules and/or in morphosyntactic properties of the language such as, say, the number of genders occurring in the system.
In the present paper, I will review some such cases drawing on evidence from the Romance language family. Those cases are mostly not very widely known because they do not occur in any of the major standard languages but, rather, are confined to non-standard local dialects.

The talk will be in Ellen Wilkinson A2.16, on a Wednesday (26th June), at 4.15pm. The event will include a swansong for ILLS, which will be biting the big one at the end of August 2013; this will be the very last talk to fall under the auspices of ILLS.

Many thanks to Julia Kolkmann and Fernanda McDougall, who have done a sterling job as ILLS seminar co-ordinators, keeping us well supplied with wine, juice and crisps. Thanks also to Andrew Koontz-Garboden and Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen for selecting a stimulating range of wines for this year, and to George Walkden for selecting a stimulating range of speakers. Thanks finally to all the ILLS speakers themselves, both internal and external!

The LEL Research Seminar will be back next year…