Course Info for Ling 889D, Spring 1998

Course Info for Ling 889D, Spring 1998
Lexical Semantics at the Syntax Interface

What's new


What's the course about?

This course will explore lexical meaning as it impacts on the set of syntactic structures classes of words participate in. We will examine different approaches to the lexicon (Croft, Dowty, Hale and Keyser, Levin and Rappaport Hovav, Pustejovsky, etc.) and discuss how lexical properties are cashed out in the minimalist framework, through the theta criterion, event structure projections and transitivity properties. Special attention will be paid to aspects of meaning that are supported cross-linguistically and that have been addressed in computational and psycholinguistic research. We will also be guided by the interests of participants. [No prerequisites.]

How will the course be graded?:

Date: 1/27

I. INTRODUCTION: Lexicons vs. dictionaries of the ordinary sort

Reading for this week: Atkins, Kegl and Levin; Miller; Ingria

Discussion: Papers discussing lexicons from multiple viewpoints

ASSIGNMENT 1: (2-3 pp., due 2-3) Choose two of the three approaches and describe their relation to each other: where do they (not) overlap? To what extent are their assumptions and goals the same/different? What would a lexical entry look like if it satisfied the assumptions and goals of both papers (feel free to create an example).
Date: 2/3

Introduction, continued

Reading: Copestake and Lascarides

Discussion: Computational approach example (see Date: colloquium, 2/5).

ASSIGNMENT 2: Attend Computational Linguistics Colloquium, 2/5

Date: 2/5 (Thursday, 4:00)

Ann Copestake, title TBA, Computational Linguistics Series presentation

Date: 2/10

II. THE LEXICON IN SYNTACTIC THEORY: From Aspects to the Minimalist Program.

Readings: Chomsky 1965 (chapters 2 and 4), Freidin, [Marantz, or some other minimalism reading]
Date: *2/12

Paul Jacobs computational linguistics colloquium (optional)

Date: 2/17

The lexicon in syntactic theory, continued

Date: *2/19

Gabrielle Sonnenberger computational linguistics colloquium (optional)

Date: 2/24


Readings: (overview): Stowell; Stowell and Wehrli; Baker?
Readings: Hale and Keyser (1993)

Discussion A. Focus on syntax

Date: 3/3

Readings: Jackendoff, Dorr (Bresnan and Kanerva, Pinker, Grimshaw), Pustejovsky (Buitelaar)

Discussion B. Focus on semantics

Date: 3/10

Readings: Tenny (Levin and Rappaport Hovav, overview; van Hout summary and review in GLOT)

Discussion C. Focus on semantics/syntax interface (aspect)

Date: 3/17


Readings: Palmer, chapters 1-2, 6; Levin, intro (Fillmore, Grimshaw, Pinker)

Discussion A. Grammatical Roles and Relations

March 23-29, SPRING BREAK
Date: 3/31, 4/7

Readings: Dowty, Hopper and Thompson (to p. 280), (Croft)

Discussion B. Transitivity

Date: 4/14, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5



Others: detransitivizing (Givon, Matsumoto: Japanese), antipassive (Palmer, chapter 7) and ergativity, ditransitives/dative alternation, applicatives, unaccusativity, substance-source alternation,understood arguments (body part, reflexive object, reciprocal object), PRO-arb object, characteristic property of agent/instrument (Ono?), X's way object, instructional imperative, conative alternation, preposition drop

2. Psycholinguistic/acquisition issues


3. Computational issues

Readings: TBA.
Date 5/12

Presentations, wrap up

5/20 Final paper due

Required Readings

Atkins, Beryl T., Judy Kegl, and Beth Levin.  1986.  "Explicit and implicit
information in dictionaries."  Lexicon project working papers 12.

Baker, Mark.  In Liliane Haegeman, ed.  The handbook of generative
syntax. [get copy]

Chomsky, Noam.  1965.  Aspects of the theory of syntax.  Cambridge, MA:
MIT, chapter 2:63-127, chapter 4:148-192.

Copestake, Ann and Alex Lascarides.  1997.  Integrating symbolic and
statistical representations: The lexicon pragmatic interface.
Proceedings of ACL-97, EACL97, pp. 136-150.

Dorr, Bonnie J.  1993.  Machine translation:  A view from the
lexicon.  Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press, chapters 4 and 5.

Dowty, David.  1991.  "Thematic proto-roles and argument selection."
Language 67:547-619.

Freidin, Robert.  1997.  Review of Chomsky's _The minimalist
program_.  Language 73:571-582.

Hopper, Paul and Sandra A. Thompson.  1980.  Transitivity in grammar
and discourse."  Language 57:251-295.

Ingria, Robert.  1986.  "Lexical information for parsing systems:
Points of convergence and divergence."  BBN Technical Report.
Originally prepared for The Workshop on Automating the Lexicon, Marina
di Grosset, Italy.

Jackendoff, Ray.  1978.  "Grammar as evidence for conceptual
structure."  M. Halle, J. Bresnan, and G. Miller, eds.  Linguistic
Theory and Psychological Reality.  Cambridge, MA: MIT.

Kemmer, Suzanne.  1994.  Middle voice, transitivity, and the
elaboration of events.  B. Fox and P. J. Hopper (eds.).  Voice: Form
and function.  Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Levin, Beth.  1993.  "Introduction:  The theoretical perspective."
English verb classes and the lexicon.  Chicago:  University of Chicago
Press, 1-19.

Levin, Beth and Malka Rappaport Hovav.  1995.  The causative
alternation: A probe into lexical semantics and argument structure.
Unaccusativity: At the syntax-lexical semantics interface.  Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press.  Chapter 3, 79-133.

Lidz, Jeffrey.  1997.  The argument structure of verbal reflexicves.
Ms.  University of Pennsylvania (

Miller, George A.  1986.  "Dictionaries in the mind."  Language and
Cognitive Processes, 1.3:171-185.

Palmer, F. R.  1994.  "Introduction," "Roles and relations," "Passive:
Related and problematic issues." Grammatical roles and relations.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, chapters 1:1-21, 2:22-52,

Pustejovsky, J. 1991. "The generative lexicon," Computational
Linguistics 17:409-41.

Shibatani, Masayoshi.  1985.  Passives and related constructions:  A
prototype analysis.  Langauge 61.4:821-848.

Stowell, Tim and Eric Wehrli.  1992.  "Introduction."  T. Stowell and
E. Wehrli, eds.  Syntax and the lexicon.  Syntax and semantics, 26.
San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1-7.

Stowell, Tim.  1992.  The role of the lexicon in syntactic theory."
T. Stowell and E. Wehrli, eds.  Syntax and the lexicon.  Syntax and
semantics 26.  San Diego, CA:  Academic Press, 9-20.

Tenny, Carol.  1992.  "The aspectual interface hypothesis."  Ivan Sag
and Anna Szabolcsi, eds.  Lexical matters.  CSLI lecture notes


Not all of these are in the folder in linguistics; ask one of the instructors for a copy. If you are interested in doing another article you must clear the choice with an instructor.
Bloom, Paul.  1994.  Possible names: The role of syntax-semantics
mappings in the acquisition of nominals.  Lingua
92:297-329. (acquisition)

Embick, David.  1997.  "Voice systems and the syntax/morphology
interface."  To appear in H. Harley, ed.  The proceedings of the
Penn/MIT workshop on aspect, argument structure and events, May 1997,
MITWPL. (middle, passive, Modern Greek)

Fillmore, Charles J.  1970.  "The grammar of hitting and breaking."
R. A. Jacobs and P. S. Rosenbaum, eds.  Readings in transformational
grammar.  Waltham, MA:  Ginn & Co.

Hale, Kenneth and Samuel Jay Keyser.  1993.  "On argument structure
and the lexical expression of syntactic relations."  In Hale, S. and
Keyser, eds.  The View from building 20 : essays in linguistics in
honor of Sylvain Bromberger.  Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press.

Hale, K. and J. Keyser (1997) ``On The Complex Nature of Simple
Predicators'', in A. Alsina, J. Bresnan, and P. Sells, eds.,
Complex Predicates, CSLI Publications, Stanford University, Stanford,
CA, 29-65. 

van Hout Angeliek.  1996.  "Verb frame alternations in Dutch."  Event
semantics of verb frame alternations: A case study of Dutch and its
acquisition.  Ph.D. diss.  Tilburg University, Chapter 2:39-79.

Labelle, Marie.  1992.  "Change of state and valency."  Linguistics
28:375-414.  (causative-inchoative, change of state, (in)transitivity,

Lidz, Jeffrey.  1995.  Morphological Reflexive-Marking: Evidence from
Kannada Linguistic Inquiry 26.4:705-710. (reflexive:  prior, contrary
view to Lidz above)

Matsumoto, Yo.  1990.  "On the syntax of Japanese `intransitivizing'
-te aru construction."  Michael Ziolkowski and Karen Deaton, eds.
Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistic Society 26:277-291. (syntactic

Palmer, F. W.  1994.  Grammatical roles and relations.  Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, chapter 7: Antipassive.  (antipassive, incorporation)

Rizzi, Luigi.  1986.  Null objects in Italian and the theory of pro.
Linguistic Inquiry 17.3:501-557. (implicit arguments)

Also see  Linguistic Abstracts Online,

	     Mari Broman Olsen              Philip Resnik
              (301) 405-6754             (301) 405-6760/8903

		      Department of Linguistics
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			University of Maryland
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