M.Teresa Espinal i Susagna Tubau
Response Systems: The Syntax and Semantics of Fragment Answers and Response ParticlesEditorial:
Annual Review of LinguisticsData de publicació:
20 de gener de 2019Pàgines: 28 Més informació
This article critically reviews the main research issues raised in the study of response systems in natural languages by addressing the syntax and semantics of fragment answers and yes/no response particles. Fragment answers include replies that do not have a sentential form, whereas response particles consist solely of an affirmative or a negative adverb. While the main research question in the syntax of fragments and response particles has been whether these contain more syntactic structure than what is actually pronounced, the key issues in the study of their semantics are question–answer congruence, the anaphoric potential of response particles, and the meaning of fragments in relation to positive and negative questions. In connection to these issues, this review suggests some interesting avenues for further research: (a) providing an analysis of particles other than yes/no, (b) choosing between echoic versus nonechoic forms as answers to polar questions, and (c) deciding whether some non-lexically-based or nonverbal responses are systematically used in combination with polar particles to express (dis)agreement.
S. Tubau, U. Etxeberria, V. Déprez i M.T. Espinal (coeditors)
Research topic: What are (un)acceptabiity and (un)grammaticality? How do they relate to one another and to interpretation? Frontiers in PsychologyEditorial:
FrontiersData de publicació:
2020 Més informació
Although grammatical sentences and their interpretations are generally considered the building blocks of linguistic theories, the relation between the theoretically deemed-to-be grammatical sentences and the notion of acceptability that speakers establish regarding them is far from being straightforward.
Some grammatical sentences that present parsing complications (e.g. garden-path sentences) might appear unacceptable to speakers, as they are difficult to understand. Other sentences, considered as ungrammatical by theoreticians (e.g. wh-island violations, sentences with resumptive pronouns, semantically implausible sequences, and sentences with unlicensed negative polarity items) might be perceived as acceptable by speakers and lead to reliable interpretations.
To further complicate matters, recent research on how grammatical 'illusions' (e.g. negative polarity item licensing, and comparative illusions) are perceived, understood and processed has revealed that speakers can subconsciously correct ungrammatical or ill-formed sentences by making use of specific repair strategies. Studies have also revealed that adults can learn to understand novel constructions considered to be syntactically ungrammatical (e.g. the ‘needs’ construction).
Taking into account these experimental results, there is now a fundamental need for novel operational, empirically and theoretically grounded redefinitions for core notions such as:
(un)acceptability; (un)grammaticality and, finally, the continual exploration of the existing complex interactions between sentences’ (un)acceptability and (un)grammaticality and their final interpretation.
In this vein, it seems necessary to evaluate how suitable specialized research methods can be, to establish the degree and extent to which particular linguistic structures and their interpretations are acceptable or unacceptable to speakers and how this can reliably relate to theoretical (un)grammaticality. If necessary, more analytic methodologies (e.g. acceptability scales, elicitation techniques, time forced-choice tasks, etc.) must be developed in order to provide dependable results informing on linguistic theory. This should lead to (i) a better understanding of what makes (un)grammatical sentences (un)acceptable or the other way around, (ii) a better account of speaker’s preferences and optionality in connection to (un)acceptability and (un)grammaticality, and (iii) the role of performance factors, memory limitations, and processing mechanisms in the evaluation of (un)acceptability, (un)grammaticality, and interpretation of linguistic structures.
We welcome manuscripts addressing any of the following topics and subtopics from theoretical and/or experimental perspectives, covering a wide range of languages and linguistic structures:
-What is (un)acceptability in linguistics?
-How does (un)acceptability relate to (un)grammaticality?
-Methodological issues related to (un)acceptability and/or (un)grammaticality.
-How are speaker's preferences and optionality connected to (un)acceptability and (un)grammaticality?
-What factors are relevant for the evaluation of (un)acceptability, (un)grammaticality, and interpretation of linguistic structures?
Urtzi Etxeberria, Susagna Tubau, Joan Borràs-Comes & M.Teresa Espinal
Polarity Items in BasqueEditorial:
Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, SpringerData de publicació:
13 d'abril del 2021
This paper presents the results of an experimental investigation that looks into the acceptability and interpretation judgements that Basque native speakers give to sentences with multiple i-/bat ere indefinites in declarative sentences. It is argued that Basque i-/bat ere indefinites are Polarity Items (PIs) rather than Negative Concord Items (NCIs), as they are consistently associated with an existential reading in unacceptable declarative sentences without an overt negative licensor. That is, Basque i-/bat ere indefinites never give rise to a negative interpretation in the absence of an overt negative marker. It is also argued that Basque PIs differ from NCIs in Strict Negative Concord languages such as Greek in relevant ways, thus reinforcing the conclusion that Basque is not a NC language. This study contributes to a better understanding of the conditions that an indefinite expression must meet to be classified as a PI or as an NCI.
Susagna Tubau, Urtzi Etxeberria i M.Teresa Espinal
A new approach to Negative Concord: Catalan as a case in pointEditorial:
Journal of Linguistics (Cambridge University Press)Data de publicació:
Juliol del 2023Pàgines: 33 Més informació
In this paper, we revisit the phenomenon of Negative Concord focusing on the Strict vs. Non-Strict divide. With Catalan as a case in point, we show that Negative Concord Items (NCIs) are not negative quantifiers (NQs) or polarity items (PIs) but inherently negative indefinites by virtue of carrying a negative feature [neg] that contributes a negative semantics to the proposition and is subject to a syntax–phonology constraint that forces it to overtly c-command Tense in compliance with Jespersen’s NegFirst principle. We argue that to satisfy such constraint, [neg] can disembody from the NCI via overt Move F(eature) to adjoin at a pre-Infl(ection) position and be Spelled-Out homophonous to the negative marker. The Strict vs. Non-Strict contrast follows from whether [neg] always moves independently from the rest of the NCI via Move F (Strict Negative Concord) or predates, whenever possible, on another movement of the NCI that places [neg] in the required pre-Infl position (Non-Strict Negative Concord) thus not having to disembody.
M.Teresa Espinal, Eloi Puig-Mayenco, Urtzi Etxeberria i Susagna Tubau
On the status of NCIs: An experimental investigation on so-called Strict NC languagesEditorial:
Journal of Linguistics (Cambridge University Press)Data de publicació:
Juliol del 2023Pàgines: 41 Més informació
This paper investigates the status of Negative Concord Items (NCIs) in three so-called Strict Negative Concord (NC) languages (namely, Greek, Romanian, and Russian). An experimental study was designed to gather evidence concerning the speakers’ acceptability and interpretation of sequences with argumental NCIs in subject, object, and both positions when dhen/nu/ne were not present. Our results show that NCIs are negative indefinites whose presence in a clausal domain is enough to assign a single negation reading to the whole sequence, thus arguing in support of the hypothesis that in NC structures the minimal semantic requirement to convey single negation is that one or more NCIs encoding a negative feature appear within a sentential domain. We argue that in these structures dhen/nu/ne are the instantiations of a negative feature [neg] disembodied from an indefinite negative NCI in order to obey a syntax–phonology interface constraint.