|Stephen R. Anderson and the making of modern morphology
Stony Brook University
All traditions of linguistic knowledge have long studied morphology, the internal structure of words. The scientific study of this aspect of language, however, was hampered in the last half of the twentieth century by accepted wisdom, which saw words as made up of smaller meaningful units, morphemes. In this presentation, I will trace the history of how the field solved the problem of the morpheme, emphasizing Steve’s contribution to this effort.
|Morphology and memory
Relational Morphology, a newly developed component of my Parallel Architecture, re-examines the architecture of morphology and the place of morphology in the grammar as a whole. Along the way, I question (but in some respects concur with) Steve Anderson’s famous claim of a-morphousness, and I also raise issues for the form of phrasal syntax. The outcome is a lexicon that is highly structured, with rich patterns among stored items. I further explore the possibility that this sort of structuring is not peculiar to language, but appears in other cognitive domains as well. The differences among cognitive domains are not in this overall texture, but in the materials over which stored relations are defined—patterns of phonology and syntax in language, of pitches and rhythms in music, of geographical knowledge in navigation, and so on. The challenge is to develop theories of representation in these other domains comparable to that for language.
|Transitional conflict in the LSA: Three case studies
Frederick J. Newmeyer
University of Washington, University of British Columbia, & Simon Fraser University
This talk takes on three issues pertaining to the relationship between the LSA and the field of linguistics as a whole. First, it discusses to what extent, if any, the LSA can be considered to be a “generativist-dominated” organization. Published positions on this question range from the claim that generative grammarians “seized control” of the LSA in the 1960s and never let go, to the polar opposite position that generativists are a persecuted minority in the LSA.
The other two issues are purely historical: The first is the LSA presidential election of 1970, where Dwight Bolinger, with support of most of the younger LSA members, challenged the official candidate, Martin Joos, and defeated him easily. The second is the attempt of Charles Hockett to resign from the LSA in 1982 on the basis of its having been “captured” by “third- and fourth-raters ignorant of our long tradition.”
Almost none of the historical material has been presented in public, much less published. I rely on documents from the LSA archives, the archived papers of Dwight Bolinger and others, and personal correspondence.
|Phonology between words—Where are we now and how did we get here?
Ellen M. Kaisse
University of Washington
Generative phonology did not start out paying much attention to phonological processes that apply outside the domain of the morphological word. Chomsky and Halle’s The Sound Pattern of English (1968) barely says a thing about larger domains. Stephen R. Anderson’s first monograph, The Organization of Phonology (1974), follows in that MIT tradition of the late sixties and early seventies. Some members of the first classes of MIT graduate students, such as James Harris, Arnold Zwicky, Paul Kiparsky and Elisabeth Selkirk, inter alia, began to do work that got phonologists looking more attentively at processes that apply between words, whether the span includes two fully independent words, function words leaning on their neighbors, or clitics and their hosts. Lexical Phonology (Kiparsky 1982, et seq.) represents one of the most theoretically elaborated and widely accepted resting points in the investigation of the characteristics of lexical (word-bounded) versus postlexical (large-domain) processes. Anderson’s later monographs, A-Morphous Morphology (1992) and Aspects of the Theory of Clitics (2005), both contribute to and reflect the expansion of the domains that phonologists attend to. But even today, it is perfectly possible to write a description of a phonological phenomenon without mentioning these larger domains. General reflection on what kinds of processes can apply between words is largely lacking. I’ll report on some of my recent work in trying to figure out what kinds of rules apply between words and I’ll speculate on why some kinds of processes are almost always word-bounded.
|“Alternative facts” in Icelandic syntax
University of Iceland
Around the mid 1970s the international linguistic community discovered that the syntax of Icelandic might be interesting. Much of the data discussed back then was provided by a couple of “ideal speakers” who had very similar judgments of phenomena such as the distribution of pronouns and reflexives (something that Steve Anderson wrote about), case marking, agreement, passives, etc. This was good, because there was not much interest in syntactic variation at the time. In recent years it has become evident that there is more variation in Icelandic syntax than we used to believe. In this paper I will give some examples of how the discovery of this variation (these “alternative facts”) has changed our view of Icelandic syntax and how it has impacted the way some of us think about linguistics.