This coming Wednesday, March 30, 2022, we'll welcome Dr.Songül Gündoğdu (Muş Alparslan University, Turkey) as our next LILA speaker of this semester.

Here are the title and abstract. The talk will be over zoom.

Wednesday, March 30th, 8:15-9:30 am (Arizona time)


Songül Gündoğdu
Muş Alparslan University (Turkey)

The present study describes and analyzes the morphological expression in Southern Zazaki of the Ezafe – a linking element in the nominal domain common among Iranian languages. This morpheme is used to link modifiers (i.e. adjectives and possessors) to their head nouns as follows: [NOUN-EZ1 MOD1-EZ2 MOD2-EZ3 MOD3]. (Southern) Zazaki (unlike, e.g. Persian) reflects both case and the phi-features of the head noun on each Ezafe morpheme in a noun phrase. This talk is focused around two morphological puzzles that arise in (Southern) Zazaki. First, while the Ezafe marker in general reflects the case of the entire DP, the presence of a possessor produces invariant marking of the case observed in object, oblique, and possessive constructions, regardless of the case value assigned to the DP externally (Paul (2009); Todd (2002); Toosarvandani & van Urk (2014) i.a.). Secondly, Southern Zazaki uniquely employs a separate series of “D-form” Ezafe morphemes when an already-modified DP serves as a possessor, or the complement of certain adpositions (Todd (2002); Paul (2009); Werner (2018); Keskin (2010) i.a.). It provides a cohesive analysis of both the syntax of the Ezafe construction in Zazaki – based on syntactic analyses of Ezafe in other Iranian languages (Kahnemuyipour 2014; Atlamaz 2016) which argue for DP-internal agree-based movement to intermediary functional projections on the nominal spine – and provides a mechanism for case concord (à la Norris (2017)) within the nominal domain. What’s more, the present analysis details an instance of grammatically conditioned allomorphy in complex possessives that produces the unique paradigm of “D-form” Ezafe markers in Southern Zazaki.







This coming Wednesday, February 16, 2022, we'll welcome Zahra Mirrazi (Ph.D. candidate in linguistics at UMass Amherst ) as our next LILA speaker of this semester.

Here are the title and abstract. The talk will be over zoom.

Cross-linguistic variation in the strength of counterfactuality: the role of tense

Zahra Mirrazi

PhD candidate in linguistics at UMass Amherst

In the linguistic and philosophical literature, the term counterfactual conditional (a.k.a.

subjunctive conditionals) refers to conditionals like (1a) whose antecedents are inferred to be false in reality (i.e. actual world). In contrast, the conditional in (1b) whose antecedent can be true in the actual world is referred to as indicative conditionals.

                (1)       a. If kangaroos had no tails, they would topple over.

b. If the newborn kangaroo has no tail, it will topple over.

Across natural languages, the difference between the two conditionals is reflected in their linguistic ingredients. Many unrelated languages use the past tense in the antecedent of counterfactual conditionals, as in (1a). Most linguistic work on conditionals is focused on deriving the semantic and pragmatic differences between counterfactual and indicative conditionals from the compositional interpretation of their linguistic ingredients. A successful semantics for these conditionals should be able to capture the cross-linguistic patterns in forming counterfactuals, namely the presence of past tense morphology in the antecedent of counterfactual conditionals across unrelated languages. In particular, it should be able to answer this question: What is the contribution of ‘past’tense to the meaning of counterfactuals? Crucially, it should also be able to account for the cross-linguistic variation in the expression and the interpretation of counterfactuality.

Persian counterfactuals are also formed via past tense. Unlike English and other languages that  use past tense to express counterfactuality, however, the counterfactuality of antecedents of Farsi counterfactual conditionals is not cancelable. In this talk, I aim to answer this question:

what is the source of cross-linguistic variation in the interpretation of counterfactuals formed via past tense?

Wednesday |Februrary 16, 2022

8:00 am – 9:30 am (Arizona)




This coming Wednesday, October 13, we'll welcome Dr.Amir Anvari (Linguistics department at MIT) as our second LILA speaker of the fall.

Here are the title and abstract. The talk will be over zoom. 

Title: On the proper treatment of intensionality

Abstract: In some languages indexicals can shift, i.e., can refer to objects other than those that make up the actual speech event. Schlenker (1999) took this observation to be pointing to a view of language in which attitudinal predicates quantify over contexts, and indexicals involve variables that, when bound by attitudes, shift. On this view, indexical and anaphoric expressions are both governed by the same quantificational logic with explicit variables. However, subsequent work (in particular, Anand 2006 and Deal 2017/2020) uncovered a host of cross-linguistic generalizations that suggest a tight typology of shifty indexicals, one that does not seem to justify the massive expressive power of Schlenker's variable-based proposal. Therefore a parameter-based analysis of the facts was proposed, one in which context-shifting operators, chained by an array of syntactic stipulations, may overwrite the context parameter relative to which expressions are interpreted and shift indexicals in the process, but in a manner restricted enough to handle the typology. Indexical shift, then, provides the strongest case available against the variable-based treatment of intensionality. In this talk, I will explore two problems for the parameter-based approach, one specific to indexical shift and one general. The specific challenge comes from the temporal adverbials "do ruz dige" in Farsi (roughly, "in two days" in English). I will argue that the parameter-based approach does not have the resources needed for an adequate analysis of this expression. The general challenge will come from the copy theory of movement (Chomsky 1996, and much subsequent work). I will argue that copy theory, regardless of details of implementation, both over- and under-generates readings unless it is paired with a variable-based account of intensionality. 

Wednesday |October 13, 2021

8:00 – 9:00 (Arizona) 

18:30 - 19:30 (Tehran)

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