Colloquium: It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Split

May 10, 3:30-5pm, Cobb 201
Yoshihisa Kitagawa, , Indiana University

In a "minimalist" model of grammar, all properties of lexical items must be completely split into those relevant to pronunciation and those relevant to interpretation in the end. On the other hand, it has been repeatedly observed that the semantico-pragmatic interpretation of information packaging must be, more often than not, associated with some phenomenon affecting pronunciation like intonational prominence and overt dislocation. Simply put, grammar seems to have to allow language users to achieve the complete split of PF and LF as well as their close association at the same time.

In this talk, I attempt to reconcile these two seemingly contradictory phenomena, appealing to the notion of "P(hysical)-visibility" of linguistic expressions. In particular, I propose and argue that semantico-pragmatic aspects of linguistic expressions such as thematic interpretation, predication, and information packaging are each required to be physically visible at PF in a designated way. This, I claim, is achieved by "multiple transfer" from cyclically generated syntactic objects to both interface representations (cf. Grohmann (2000) Platzack (2001)).

Some of the empirical phenomena I pay attention to are the subject-object asymmetry in case drop in Korean (and Japanese) as in (1) below and the subject-object asymmetry in Case adjacency in English as in (2).


(1a)Nwukwu-{ka / *ø}wuyu-lulsass-ni?(cf. Ahn and Cho (2006))
 who-{NOM / *ø}milk-ACCbought-Q
 'Who bought milk?'
(1b)YungHee-kamwues-{ul / ø}sass-ni?
 YungHee-NOMwhat-{ACC / ø}bought-Q
 'What did YungHee buy?'
(2a)John probably [T has] read the letter.
(2b)*John readV carefully the letter.



Grohmann, Kleanthes K. (2000) Prolific Peripheries: A Radical View frm the Left, Ph. D. dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park.

Platzack, Christer (2001) "Multiple Interfaces," in van der Zee, Emile and Urpo Nikanne eds., Cognitive interfaces: Constraints on Linking Cognitive Information, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 21-53.