Carly Dickerson and Symon Stevens-Guille will present their second Qualifying Papers to the department.
Carly Dickerson (3:30-4:15PM)
Title: Social Meaning of Rhotics in Albanian
Abstract: In previous studies (cf. Morgan, 2015) and in past fieldwork, participants have described the southern Albanian accent as delicate and feminine, and the northern accent as rough and masculine. In this project explore these associations further by looking at one specific feature typical of southern Albanian, the merger of /r/ and /rr/. Researchers (Shkurtaj, 2009; Hysanaj, 2010) have commented on this merger, typically attributing it to urban and female speakers. However, the merger has not yet been documented or studied systematically. In this study I have two main objectives: (1) to document and describe the status of the rhotics in the speech and perception of participants from both northern and southern cities in Albania, and (2) to explore the social meaning(s) tied to the merger of /r/ and /rr/, particularly as it seems like regional accent has taken on gendered meaning. I find that not only is the merger more common in the speech of southern women, but also the phonetic realization of the rhotics (even when unmerged) is different in the speech of northerners and southerners. Finally, I discuss results that indicate associations of unmerged speech with masculinity, strength, and sounding northern.
Title: Post-Auxiliary Ellipsis in Dynamic Categorial Grammar
Abstract: Ellipsis has been a central concern in modern linguistic theory since the advent of generative grammar. Superficially, it appears to violate the principle of compositionality, according to which the meaning of a complex utterance is a function of the meanings of its parts. In post-auxiliary ellipsis, a predicate is omitted under the condition that it is inferable from a salient antecedent. The question is then how the absence of a predicate can contribute a compositional meaning in its local context. Despite nearly 60 years of research, there is little consensus regarding the analysis of ellipsis. The most divisive issue, spanning theoretical, computational, and psycholinguistic approaches, concerns whether the relation between an ellipse and its antecedent is one of syntax, semantics, or some combination thereof. The dominant theoretical approach assumes the presence of inaudible syntax in the ellipsis site. Reviewing the evidence for inaudible structure, I argue from a range of syntactic and semantic mismatches between antecedent and ellipsis site that there is little warrant for such structure. I provide a new analysis of post-auxiliary ellipsis in terms of dynamic categorial grammar, a contemporary Curryesque categorial grammar implementing a dynamic semantic theory written in higher order logic. The resulting theory involves no inaudible structure, reducing ellipsis to a form of zero-anaphora.