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.

Stress typology

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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]
  4. 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]
  5. 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).

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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]

Research groups

(Last updated: 16 October 2020)