June 1-15, 2012@ Kangra


Impossible Morphemes

This short course will focus on questions of linguistic universals, and in particular, explanations for apparent gaps in the inventory of possible/attested functional morphemes. A series of universals from the domain of comparatives and superlatives, with special emphasis on patterns of suppletion, will be the primary source of evidence.

Main reading:
Bobaljik (In press) - Universals in Comparative Morphology (2012, MIT Press)

Additional readings (related topics, side issues):

Bhatt 2012 Many or more: the Hindi-Urdu degree word zyaadaa and the analysis of Bare Comparatives. Ms. Amherst. (PDF)

Bobaljik 2008 Missing Persons: A Case study in Morphological Universals. The Linguistic Review, special theme issue Examples of Linguistic Universals 25.1-2:203-230.

Embick 2010 Localism vs Globalism in Morphology and Phonology. MIT Press. Chapters 2-3.

Wurmbrand 2012 QR and selection: Covert evidence for phasehood. Proceedings of NELS 42.


Syntax-semantics class on comparatives and superlatives

(link to Reading)

Minor Entities in the Semantics of Natural Language

[Most papers available from Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy site and Moltmann's site]

Part 1
Events, Tropes, States, Facts, and Situations: An Overview of their Linguistic and Philosophical Motivations
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online):
Casati/Varzi: ‘Events’, Mulligan/Correia: ‘Facts’, Kratzer: ‘Situations in Natural Language Semantics’, Bacon: ‘Tropes’

Part 2
Events, Tropes, and States, their Relation to Space and Time
Maienborn, C. (2007): ‘On Davidsonian and Kimian States’. In I. Comorovski / K. von Heusinger (eds.): Existence: Semantics and Syntax. Springer, 107-130.

Part 3:
The Semantics and Ontology of Tropes
Moltmann (2009): ‘Degree Structure as Trope Structure A Trope-Based Analysis of Comparative and Positive Adjectives’.Linguistics and Philosophy 32, 51-94.
------------( to appear): Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language, Chapter 2, Oxford UP (prepublication version on her website)

Part 4:
Variable Objects and Tropes with Intensional Bearers
Moltmann(2012): ‘Intensional Relative Clauses and the Notion of a Variable Object’. Proceedings of the 18th Amsterdam Colloquium (2011).Springer.

Part 5:
The Semantics and Ontology of ‘Cases’
No reading

Part 6:
Existence Predicates and Minor Entities
Moltmann (2011): ‘Existence Predicates’. In I. Reich et al. (ed.): Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung15 (2010), Saarland University Press, Saarbruecken, pp. 31-54.


Case and Agreement

Part 1:  Dependent case as binding theory

Background reading:

  • Pedagogical chapter on case by David Pesetsky & Esther Torrego

  • Another pedagogical chapter on case by Jonathan Bobaljik & Susi Wurmbrand

Part 2: Case as categorial features

Part 3: Agreement and licensing

For enquiries, write to