WhenMay 24, 2019 11:30 AM - 01:00 PM
WhereHarper Memorial Library, Room 141
Contact InformationLinguistics Department
DescriptionJon Sprouse (UConn) *Joint meeting with LEAP Workshop*


Experimental syntax and three case studies in movement

In this talk, I'd like to discuss three new studies, all focused on syntactic movement, and each leveraging distinct methods. My hope is that these studies will help to foster a conversation about the potential value of experimental and computational modeling work for the investigation of syntactic mechanisms.

The first is a series of acceptability judgment and working memory experiments exploring three constructions that have historically been claimed to be exceptions to the theory of island effects: non-finite wh-islands, recursive NP islands, and bare participle adjunct islands. The goal is to determine if these constructions show the judgment pattern associated with island effects, and if so, to determine if that pattern is due to limited working memory capacity.

The second is a series of EEG studies of the sustained anterior negativity (SAN) that arises to long-distance dependencies. The goal is to determine to what extent the source of the SAN is specific to movement (e.g., the working memory requirements of wh-fillers), and if so, to what extent the SAN can be used to probe for movement in constructions for which a movement analysis is debated, like subject raising and how-come questions.

The third is a set of computational modeling studies on the role of UTAH and rUTAH in the acquisition of verbs (and verb classes). The goal is to determine to what extent adding innate knowledge of UTAH (with A-movement) or rUTAH (without movement) to a Bayesian model of verb class learning will lead to performance that better matches the developmental trajectory of actual children at ages 3, 4, and 5.
CategoriesConferences/Lectures, Workshops
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