Dept. of Linguistics & TESOL, UT Arlington


Syntax Reading Group


Aim: The Syntax Reading Group is a bi-monthly (twice a month) forum dedicated to discussion of topics in Syntax, including but not limited to descriptive, experimental, and theoretical study of syntax and its interfaces. The group features presentations of ongoing research by members of the UT Arlington Department of Linguistics, as well as discussion of previously published works.

Organizers: Andrea Muru, Jason Kandybowicz, and Joey Sabbagh

Meeting Time & Location: Trimble Hall 101, Friday 12-2PM

Meeting Schedule

Meeting 1: Friday, Sept. 23 at 12PM

Reading: "Varieties of Polarity Emphasis:Restricted and Unrestricted Expression in Nupe" by Jason Kandybowicz

Presenter: Jason Kandybowciz

Abstract: This article investigates polarity emphasis in Nupe, a Benue-Congo language of central Nigeria. Two distinct varieties of polarity emphasis are attested in the language: a syntactically restricted type that employs a clause-final discourse particle to achieve verum interpretations and a syntactically unrestricted and semantically weaker form that employs verb doubling. I argue that the core properties of the two varieties of emphasis in Nupe are best captured by way of a unified syntactic analysis in cartographic terms and that pragmatics need not be invoked. As such, Nupe furnishes evidence for the view that with regard to the varieties of polarity emphasis, the crucial distinction is not between syntactically vs. pragmatically controlled phenomena, but rather the cartographic regions exploited by emphatic operators. I propose that Universal Grammar makes available at least two loci of emphasis: a high left peripheral position and a low TP-internal site.Consequently, emphasis is syntactically restricted and semantically strongest when activating the peripheral domain and unrestricted/weakened when invoking the lower clause-internal domain.This analysis parallels the high (outer) vs. low (inner) focus domain duality (Belletti 2001, 2003) and casts independent support for Duffield's (2007) analysis of low (TP-internal) assertion.

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