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The Morphology-Syntax Mapping Hypothesis
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Topic:  The Morphology-Syntax Mapping Hypothesis
posted itemPosted - 23/05/2001 :  09:59:44
Department of Chinese, Translation & Linguistics & Institute of Chinese Linguistics Summer Seminar Series on Chinese Linguistics (2) The Morphology-Syntax Mapping Hypothesis By: Professor Yafei Li University of Wisconsin - Madison Time: 2:30 - 4:00 pm Date: Wednesday, 06 June 2001 Venue: Lecture Theatre P4801, Academic Building, CityU Abstract: Ever since Chomsky's (1970) "On nominalization", generative grammarians have been debating on how much of morphology is reducible to syntax. Based on the bi-clausal behaviors of Bantu causativization, Baker 1988 proposed that the popular morphological phenomenon has the same underlying structure as the A made B do C construction in English, the only difference being that in Bantu, the embedded verb do merges with the matrix verb make through syntactic movement. This analysis is so successful that it has become the mainstream theory for a wide variety of morphological phenomena. The goal of this talk is to show that Baker's theory is incorrect. Semitic languages also have morphological causativization, and the same bi-clausal behavior is observed when the root of the derived word is a verb. However, when the root is adjectival, the construction is consistently mono-clausal. This contrast is not predicted by Baker's syntactic theory, but follows naturally from forming all words lexically plus a Morphology-Syntax Mapping procedure (MSM) that maps word-internal thematic relations to syntax according to widely adopted syntactic principles. MSM is also shown to explain the properties of morphological applicatives in Bantu and Iroquoian, noun-incorporation in Amerindian, compounding in Chinese, and inflectional morphology in English. About the Speaker: After receiving an M.A. at Shandong University, Jinan, in 1995, I was admitted to the Ph.D. program at MIT's Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. My undergraduate major is in the English language and literature, and my graduate degrees are both in linguistics with the research interest in syntax and morphology-syntax interface. Upon graduation, I taught at Brandeis University and Cornell University. I am now an associate professor of linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The topics in my publications include binding, head-movement, compounding and argument structures, aspectuality, serial verb constructions, the theory of phrase structure, and methodological issues in linguistic research. Currently, I am working on two books, one of them on Chinese syntax and co-authored with Jim Huang and Audrey Li, the other on a theory of the morphology-syntax interface. Enquiries: 2788-8705 ___________________ All are welcome! ____________________


Enquiry: LTenquiry@cityu.edu.hk