Colloquium: Robert LaBarge


Fri, 01/04/2016 - 3:00pm

Grammaticalization and Repair as a Resolution to Labeling Algorithm Failures

Robert LaBarge, Arizona State University


This talk is an extension of work originally presented at ALC 8 and 9. In the first of these talks, I argued that grammaticalization occurs as the result of labeling difficulties experienced by the child acquirer. In the second, I argued that derivations attempt to label and repair difficult structures in real‐time. Here, I will combine the two arguments, showing that repair and grammaticalization are essentially the same strategy, but only the latter is available to the child acquirer. But why? This talk will focus on three phenomena: the first is a possible head‐head Merged structure in Chinese which shows evidence of historic change from verb to modal. The second is a phrase‐phrase Merged structure in Macedonian which shows evidence of historic change from demonstrative to definite article. In both cases, the question as to why new structures do not replace the old ones entirely will be addressed. The third case involves Paul Postal‐type raising‐to‐object ECM constructions and asks why such constructions require a null subordinate C. In all cases, I argue for an exoskeletal style scaffolding (a la Borer) that guides both grammaticalization and repair, but in different ways.


COMM 311

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