MULL-lab will be meeting this Tuesday, November 29th at 3:30 pm. Meetings will take place in Rm. 002 of the Linguistics department, with a Zoom room open for those unable to join us in person.
This week, Julien will be presenting a talk entitled:’Non-configurationality in the Inuit language’. The abstract is below.
Non-configurational languages challenge basic assumptions in generative syntax, as they seem to lack hierarchical structures. According to Hale (1983), non-configurational languages present three common properties: 1) free word order; 2) extensive use of null anaphora; 3) possibility of discontinuous expressions. In this talk, I demonstrate that the Inuit language has all these properties but also clearly exhibits hierarchical structures based on c-command relations, possible scope readings and different subcategorizations of restructuring verbal affixes. Moreover, using quantitative methods and a variationist sociolinguistic approach, I show that there is a neutral word order pattern in North Baffin Inuktitut, a variety of the Inuit language, and that any deviation from this is triggered by semantic and phonological factors, suggesting that word order variation is in fact a phenomenon occurring at the syntax-semantic interface and the syntax-phonological interface. Hence, as also argued by Bliss (2017), non-configurationality cannot be taken as a literal term.
Please register in advance HERE to receive the Zoom link. You can also share this link with others who may want to join.