My dissertation, “Syntax, prosody, and metrical structure in Blackfoot” (April 2020, University of British Columbia) focuses on structural correspondences at the interface. I show that the Blackfoot verbal complex has two distinct phonological domains, corresponding to a syntactic vP/VP and CP, respectively. There are two main contributions. First, I hypothesize that each syntactic phase corresponds to a particular prosodic constituent by default. I model these relationships using a modified version of Match Theory (Selkirk 2011), in which the vP/VP phase corresponds to a PWd and the CP phase corresponds to a PPh. Second, I argue that the syntax-prosody correspondence is distinct from the alignment of prosodic and metrical structure. In a parallel constraint-based model of phonology, there are separate constraints regulating each type of correspondence, which predicts that a language might satisfy isomorphic syntax-prosody correspondence at the expense of prosodic and metrical alignment, or vice versa.
Blackfoot has default third syllable stress assignment, which is a typologically rare pattern. I argue in several papers that the Blackfoot pattern can only be captured with a form of underparsing at the left edge. The analysis I propose introduces a version of a NonInitiality constraint. Stress in Blackfoot is manifested primarily via a high f0 and so a subset of my work also examines pitch accents and contours.
- Miyashita, Mizuki and Natalie Weber. 2020. Blackfoot pitch contour: an instrumental investigation. In Papers of the 49th Algonquian Conference, Monica Macaulay and Margaret Noodin (eds.). East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.
- Weber, Natalie. 2016. Accent and prosody in Blackfoot verbs. In Papers of the Forty-fourth Algonquian Conference, Monica Macaulay, Margaret Noodin, and J. Randolph Valentine (eds.), 348–369. SUNY Press.
- Weber, Natalie. 2016. Initial extrametricality and cyclicity in Blackfoot accent. In Proceedings of the Qualifying Papers Mini-conferences 2013–2014, Andrei Anghelescu, Joel Dunham, and Natalie Weber (eds.), 234-248. UBCWPL 42). [link]
- Weber, Natalie. Accent and pro-DPs in Blackfoot. In Proceedings of the annual meeting of the Canadian Linguistics Association (University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, June 1–3, 2013), Shan Luo (ed.). N.p. [link]
- Weber, Natalie and Blake Allen. 2012. Blackfoot pitch accent: Insights from morpho-phonology. Ms, University of British Columbia. [link to paper and poster]
VP-internal syntax and semantics
The vP/VP stem in Blackfoot is morphologically complex. Some of my work focuses on a morphological analysis of the vP stem and categorizing the elements in terms of their syntactic distribution and semantics. One project with Rose-Marie Déchaine focused on the syntax of roots and the differences between Blackfoot and Plains Cree (both part of the Algonquian family).
- Déchaine, Rose-Marie and Natalie Weber. 2018. Root syntax: Evidence from Algonquian. In Papers of the Forty-seventh Algonquian Conference, Monica Macaulay (ed.). Michigan State University Press.
- Déchaine, Rose-Marie and Natalie Weber. 2015. Head-Merge, Adjunct-Merge, and the Syntax of Root Categorisation. In Proceedings of the Poster Session of the 33rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, Pocholo Umbal and Kyeong-min Kim (eds.), 38–47. (SFUWPL 5). [link]
A side project with Lisa Matthewson explores how the vP/VP stem morphology reflects the semantic type of the verbal complement.
- Weber, Natalie and Lisa Matthewson. 2017. The semantics of Blackfoot arguments. In Papers of the Forty-fifth Algonquian Conference. (University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Oct. 18–20, 2013), Monica Macaulay (ed.). MSU Press.
- Weber, Natalie and Lisa Matthewson. 2014. Reflections of complement type: The view from Blackfoot. In The Art and Craft of Semantics: A Festschrift for Irene Heim, vol. 2, Luka Crnič and Uli Sauerland (eds.), 275–298. (MITWPL 71). [link]
- Phonology Reading Group, Yale University
- Fieldwork/Documentation Working Group, Yale University
- Blackfoot Lab
(Last updated: 16 October 2020)