ISSN / EISSN: 00978507 / 15350665
Published by: Project Muse
Total articles ≅ 12,696
Latest articles in this journal
Language, Volume 99; https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2023.0011
Language, Volume 99; https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2023.0009
Language, Volume 99, pp 154-191; https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2023.0000
We present a comparative analysis of English and Hungarian reprise fragments. We argue that reprise fragments should be afforded the same theoretical treatment as standard (i.e. nonreprise) fragments. Assuming that standard fragmentary answers and questions are remnants of an ellipsis operation that applies to a clause, this entails that reprise fragments are also remnants of clausal ellipsis. We show that the prevailing approach to standard fragments, which assumes that the remnant of ellipsis always undergoes movement (Merchant 2001, 2004), cannot be plausibly extended to explain the crosslinguistic reprise-fragment data. We argue that a theory is required that restricts antecedents to interrogatives and that allows—but crucially does not require—movement of the remnant. Under this account, the differences observed between English and Hungarian reprise and standard fragments follow from independent syntactic differences in how standard and reprise questions are formed in these languages. We therefore provide new evidence to support theories of ellipsis identity that state that only questions make for suitable antecedents for clausal ellipsis (so-called Q-equivalence approaches) and to support sententialist analyses of clausal ellipsis that permit ellipsis to occur around designated constituents (so-called in-situ approaches).
Language, Volume 99; https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2023.0008
Language, Volume 99, pp 81-107; https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2023.0006
The Uto-Aztecan language family is one of the largest language families in the Americas. However, there has been considerable debate about its origin and how it spread. Here we use Bayesian phylogenetic methods to analyze lexical data from thirty-four Uto-Aztecan varieties and two Kiowa-Tanoan languages. We infer the age of Proto-Uto-Aztecan to be around 4,100 years (3,258–5,025 years) and identify the most likely homeland to be near what is now Southern California. We reconstruct the most probable subsistence strategy in the ancestral Uto-Aztecan society and infer no casual or intensive cultivation, an absence of cereal crops, and a primary subsistence mode of gathering (rather than agriculture). Our results therefore support the timing, geography, and cultural practices of a northern origin and are inconsistent with alternative scenarios.
Language, Volume 99, pp 38-80; https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2023.0005
This article provides a general analysis of the semantics of person, broadly construed, through a case study of Ojibwe (Central Algonquian). Ojibwe shows person-like distinctions based on whether an entity is living or nonliving (i.e. animacy) and, within living things, whether a being is prominent or backgrounded in the discourse (i.e. obviation). The central principle of the account is contrast: the activation and interpretation of a feature is driven by the requirement that it makes a cut to derive the proper categories within a given inventory. With this principle, I show that a small set of bivalent features denoting first-order predicates can capture Ojibwe as well as a wider typology of person, animacy, obviation, and noun classification distinctions.
Language, Volume 99; https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2023.0010
Language, Volume 99; https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2023.0002
Sentences that contain the verb 'seem', an experiencer, and an embedded infinitival phrase (e.g. Jill seems to me to be smart) have traditionally been considered acceptable in English, but not in Spanish. However, a corpus analysis reveals that such sentences are produced in both languages, most commonly with the embedded infinitives 'be' and 'have'. Acceptability judgment tasks completed by fifty English speakers and fifty Spanish speakers further reveal that the embedded verbs 'be' and 'have' render this sentence structure most acceptable in both languages, and that the degree of contextual subjectivity in a sentence significantly affects acceptability. This study demonstrates how multiple data types can be used to uncover novel crosslinguistic patterns that have gone unnoticed in previous research that was based primarily on informal introspective judgments.*
Language, Volume 99, pp 1-37; https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2023.0004
A large amount of sentence-processing work has focused on revealing how the parser incrementally integrates each incoming word into the current linguistic representation. It is often explicitly or implicitly assumed that the structure endorsed by the parser should determine the ultimate interpretation of the sentence. The current study investigates whether the interpretive bias in sentence comprehension necessarily tracks the parsing bias. Our case study concerns the locality bias in nonlocal dependencies, specifically Mandarin wh-in-situ scope dependencies. Our findings suggest a misalignment between parsing and interpretative decisions at the global level. In particular, for Mandarin wh-in-situ constructions that involve scope ambiguity, there is a locality bias in parsing, but an antilocality bias in interpretation. Building upon the rational speech act framework, we propose a Bayesian pragmatic analysis to account for these findings. Under our proposal, the seeming conflict between parsing and interpretation will ultimately disappear because parsing preferences will be naturally embedded under the pragmatic reasoning process to generate the ultimate interpretation. The current study therefore makes novel contributions, both empirically and theoretically, to addressing the broader question about the relationship between parsing and interpretation.
Language, Volume 99; https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2023.0003
This paper provides an overview of post-study employability for students of linguistics. We begin with a review of the literature on employability, education, and skills. We then conduct an analysis of fifty-one interviews with people who studied linguistics and went on to work in a diverse range of occupations. We provide a summary of the interview participants, and then conduct an analysis of the domain-specific and transferable skills reported and the advice offered in these interviews. Finally, we look at how linguistics programs can use the existing literature and insights from these interviews to help their students think about careers.*