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Public seminar by Hiromune Oda: Generative typology and parameterization of the NP/DP-language distinction as a scale

TExL (a research group on theoretical and experimental linguistics) and CELESE at Waseda University are happy to announce that we are co-sponsoring a public mini seminar by Hiromune Oda (the University of Tokyo) on August 10th.

Title: Generative typology and parameterization of the NP/DP-language distinction as a scale (生成言語類型論と尺度としてのNP/DP言語の区別のパラメータ化)

Speaker: Hiromune Oda, Ph.D.

Language: Japanese (Handouts will be in English. Q&A will be conducted in both Japanese and English.)


In this talk, I will present generative typological investigations of various phenomena and discuss the so-called NP/DP-language distinction from the perspective of the current linguistic theory.

In the first part, I will discuss the typology of indefinite pronouns, which has been extensively discussed in the non-generative typological literature, and its relevance to the typology of wh-questions, which has received much attention in the generative literature. Haspelmath (1997) proposes that there are two major types of indefinite pronouns; generic-noun-based indefinite pronouns, which are composed of a generic noun and a quantificational element (e.g., some-one in English), and interrogative-based indefinite pronouns, which are composed of an interrogative pronoun and a quantificational element (e.g., dare-ka ’lit. who-or; someone’ in Japanese). I will argue that the latter term is inappropriate from the morphological and semantic perspective, and propose a novel fine-grained classification of relevant pronouns in the spirit of Kuroda (1965). I will then present a result of a large-scale survey of the relevant pronouns under this new classification and establish a novel generalization regarding those pronouns. I will offer a deduction of the generalization building on Talić (2015, 2017) and Saito (2017), which I argue is an appropriate parameterization under the so-called Borer-Chomsky Conjecture in minimalism. In addition, I will argue that this deduction also captures correlations between different types of indefinite pronouns and the syntax of wh-questions.

In the second part, I will re-examine the NP/DP-language distinction originally proposed by Bošković (2008, 2012). Bošković shows that languages exhibit a number of different properties depending on whether the language has definite articles (e.g., English) or not (e.g., Serbs-Croatian). He proposes that DP projects in languages with definite articles but it does not in languages without articles, and hence there is a two-way cut of languages (i.e., DP-language vs. NP-language). Talić (2015, 2017) argues that the distinction in question is not a two-way cut but a three-way cut, i.e., whether a language has a non-affixal definite article (e.g., English), an affixal definite article (e.g., Bulgarian), or no definite article (e.g., Serbo-Croatian). In this talk, however, based on a number of languages which have been treated as non-affixal article languages in those works, I will argue that the three-way cut is not sufficient either, and the relevant distinction should be considered as a scale from canonical DP-language to canonical NP-language. This NP/DP-language scale is further supported from the viewpoint of language acquisition, language change, and the so-called emergentist theory of parameters proposed by Biberauer (2018), Biberauer and Roberts (2017), Roberts (2019), among others.


第一部では、生成文法理論に拠らない言語類型論において盛んに議論されてきた不定代名詞の類型と、生成文法理論において盛んに議論されてきたwh疑問文の類型の関連性を論じる。不定代名詞について、Haspelmath (1997)は大きく二つに分類している。一つは総称名詞ベースの不定代名詞で、総称名詞と量化要素で構成される(例: 英語のsome-one)。もう一つは疑問詞ベースの不定代名詞で、疑問詞と量化要素で構成される(例:日本語の「誰-か」)。本講演では、この後者の用語が形態・意味的見地から不適切であると論じ、Kuroda (1965)を踏襲し、当該不定代名詞の新しい詳細な分類を提案する。この新しい分類に基づき、当該不定代名詞の大規模調査の結果を提示し、新たな一般化を確立する。この一般化に対しTalić (2015, 2017)とSaito (2017)に基づく演繹を提案し、この演繹が極小主義におけるいわゆるBorer-Chomsky Conjectureのもとで適切なパラメータ化であることを主張する。さらに、この演繹が、異なる種類の不定代名詞とwh疑問文との関連性をも捉えるものであると論じる。

第二部では、Bošković (2008, 2012)によって提案されたNP/DP言語の区別を再考する。Boškovićは、ある言語が定冠詞を持つ(例:英語)か持たない(例:セルボクロアチア語)かによって数々の異なる振る舞いを見せることを示している。彼は定冠詞を持つ言語ではDPが投射し、定冠詞を持たない言語ではDPを投射しないと提案しており、したがってDP言語とNP言語という二分法で言語を分類する。Talić (2015, 2017)は、当該の分類は二分法ではなく、三分法であると主張している;すなわち、非接辞定冠詞言語(例:英語)、接辞定冠詞言語(例:ブルガリア語)、無定冠詞言語(例:セルボクロアチア語)という区分である。本講演では、これらの先行研究において非接辞定冠詞言語として扱われてきたいくつかの言語に基づき、この三分法も十分とは言えず、当該の言語区分は、規範的なDP言語から規範的なNP言語への尺度として捉えられるべきだということを論じる。さらに、このNP/DP言語の尺度は、言語獲得、言語変化、そしてBiberauer (2018), Biberauer&Roberts (2017), Roberts (2019)らが提唱するいわゆる創発パラメータ説によって支持されるものである。

Speaker info: Dr. Hiromune Oda earned his Ph.D. in 2022 from University of Connecticut where he studied under Željko Bošković, one of the world’s leading experts on syntactic theory. His dissertation was titled, “The NP/DP-language distinction as a scale and parameters in minimalism” and focused on generative typological investigation of a wide range of phenomena and parameterization that is appropriate in the current linguistic theory. Since then, he has continued to focus on comparative syntax, generative typology, and parameter theory. Dr. Oda is currently working as a lecturer at the Department of Language and Information Sciences at The University of Tokyo.

Time: Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 13:00–16:30 (JST)
13:00–14:00: Lecture I by Dr. Oda
14:00–14:30: Question time
14:30-15:00: Break
15:00-16:00: Lecture II by Dr. Oda
16:00–16:30: Question time

Location: Online (Zoom)

Participation in this event is free, but pre-registration is required. If you wish to join, please fill in the form at the following link by 17:00, August 9 (JST).


Note: Registered participants should receive an e-mail on the day before the lecture with instructions about how to participate. If you have not received the message by 18:00 (JST) on August 9, please check your spam folder. Then, if necessary, contact the e-mail address below.

Contact: Questions about this event may be addressed to Naho Orita [orita@waseda.jp].

Acknowledgement: This seminar is supported by JSPS KAKENHI 21H00532.