Concord, Agreement, and Constituency

Note: This course will begin on Tuesday, May 5, at the regularly scheduled time. If we cannot meet physically this summer semester due to the measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the seminar will take place via video conference.

If you are interested in attending the course, please send me an email by April 24 (see contact page) with information about your CS and linguistics background, specifically with regards to syntax. I will then contact you in good time before the course begins with further details.

Course description (check back for schedule and reading updates): This course is an in-depth study of one of the most central of areas of morphosyntactic research: agreement. We will focus specifically on the comparison of clausal agreement and nominal agreement (concord). While clausal agreement is extremely well-studied across a variety of languages and comprises a core part of minimalist theory, agreement within the nominal phrase (between determiners and nouns, nouns and adjectives, etc.) is much less studied. Many questions about concord remain open, including how it relates to clausal agreement, how it varies across languages, and how it is enacted in the grammar.

This course will thus cover key cross-linguistic issues concerning the morphosyntax of agreement within nominal phrases including adjective agreement, determiner agreement, possessor agreement/clitics, definiteness agreement, so-called strong/weak adjectives in Germanic, the nature of number, gender, and person features, and others. Throughout the course, we will discuss how agreement relates to constituency and how such relationship may be useful to NLP tasks.

The course assumes background in syntax.