HPSG Project Report, Fall 1999

Members of the HPSG Project are hard at work developing formal analyses of grammatical phenomena in diverse languages. Some of these are listed below:

1. An ongoing collaboration between Ivan Sag and Jonathan Ginzburg (Hebrew University of Jerusalem and King's College, London) is focussing on the syntax and semantics of English interrogative constructions. They have developed a unified account of questions with `fronted' wh-expressions (Who did Sandy visit?) and those where the wh-expression remains `in situ' (You said Sandy visited WHO?), including the semantics of the `reprise' uses of the latter kind. Some of their results will be reported at the 1999 Amsterdam Colloquium. An incomplete draft of a book-length monograph by Ginzburg and Sag -- English Interrogative Constructions (to be published by CSLI Publications) is available.

2. Susanne Riehemann's dissertation develops a constructional approach to idioms and collocations (English and German), derivational morphology (German, English, and Hebrew), and things in between. All of these are viewed as complex patterns with sub-parts, as opposed to separate pieces and ways for assembling them. As part of the motivation for this approach, the dissertation includes a corpus study of idiom variability. Susanne also recently co-authored a paper with Emily Bender entitled Absolute constructions: On the distribution of predicative idioms. This paper will appear in the WCCFL 18 Proceedings.

3. Emily Bender's dissertation is an investigation into the relationship of non-categorical constraints on sociolinguistic variation to competence grammar. The empirical focus is a case study of copula absence in African American Vernacular English (AAVE). This includes an in-depth syntactic analysis of copula absence and its interaction with other linguistic phenomena and a perception experiment concerning speakers' evaluation of copula absence in different grammatical environments.

4. Ash Asudeh's recent HPSG work has been in two areas. The first concerns developing an argument structure-based binding and control theory, concentrating especially on anaphora (i.e. reflexives and reciprocals). A recent BLS paper (`Argument Structure and Animacy Restrictions on Anaphora', BLS 1999) uses the theory developed to give a unified account of anaphors in Super Equi-NP constructions, picture NPs, and nominal specifier position. Ash's University of Edinburgh master's thesis on binding and control in HPSG is being revised for CSLI Publications. The second strand of work has been about using HPSG's sign-based architecture to handle grammatical interface phenomenon, particularly at the syntax-semantics-phonology interface. The specific case that Ash and his collaborator Line Mikkelsen have been looking at is a form of incorporation in Danish. Their HPSG 1999 paper, `Danish Syntactic Noun Incorporation', focuses on characterising this phenomenon lexically and attempts to capture syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, and especially phonological generalizations about the phenomenon.

5. Brady Clark has been investigating the syntax and semantics of resultative constructions in a number of languages, including Tamil, German, Korean, and English. He recently presented part of this work at the Western Conference on Linguistics (WECOL). A draft of his paper on resultatives is available and a publication is forthcoming in the WECOL proceedings. Brady is also working on issues in modeling syntactic change, in particular utilizing a construction grammar framework partly inspired by Ginzburg and Sag 1999. The focus of this research project is the historical development of the tough-movement construction in English. A draft of this paper will soon be available.

6. Ivan Sag and Cathryn Donohue have been working on the notorious problem of word order in Australian languages. They have developed an approach to this based on the linearization theory pioneered by Mike Reape (U. Edinburgh) and Andreas Kathol. Their paper `Domains in Warlpiri' was recently presented at the 1999 HPSG Conference in Edinburgh.

7. Emily Bender and Ivan Sag have been working on alternatives to recent LFG analyses based on the notion of `inside-out' functional uncertainty. Many auxiliary contraction phenomena get reanalyzed as subject incorporation in this work. Their paper `Incorporating contracted auxiliaries in English' was presented at the 1999 HPSG Conference in Edinburgh.

8. Emily Bender and Dan Flickinger have co-authored two papers in recent volumes in CSLI's series Studies in Constraint-Based Lexicalism. Their paper on tag questions and agreement in English makes the point that the study of peripheral constructions can often illuminate details of core phenomena which are otherwise unobservable. Their paper on the historical development of `as if' marked clauses from adjuncts into complements presents diachronic evidence for the idea of extended argument structure and explores how the explanatory devices of HPSG can be used in the arena of historical change.

9. One of Andreas Kathol's research interests continues to be HPSG linearization theory. Apart from completing a monograph on this topic to be published by Oxford University Press (Linear Syntax), he has been engaged in collaborative work with Richard Rhodes (UC Berkeley) on the syntax of nominal expressions in Ojibwe (Algonquian, Eastern US and Canada). Of particular interest are discontinuous nominals and how they relate to the information packaging in the Ojibwe clause. A first version of this work is about to appear in the UBC Working Papers series (Proceedings of Structure and Constituency in the Languages of the Americas).

10. Jongbok Kim (Kyung-hi University, Seoul) has just received a grant from the Korea Research Foundation to support his ongoing collaboration with Ivan Sag. Kim and Sag are developing a typological comparison of systems of negation. The revised version of their paper comparing French and English negation will be available soon after Jongbok visits the HPSG project this winter.

11. Collaboration with Groningen is continuing. Gosse Bouma, Rob Malouf, and Ivan Sag's joint paper -- `Satisfying Constraints on Extraction and Adjunction' has just been accepted for publication by Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. BMS have also just completed a draft of a paper on the semantics to go with their syntactic theory of adjuncts as argument structure extensions.

Last modified: November 9, 1999