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Kyle Johnson: The syntax-semantics interface and extractions from syntactic islands, pt 2

Research presentation by Professor Kyle Johnson from University of Massechusetts at Amherst.

Info about event


Tuesday 20 December 2022,  at 10:15 - 12:00


Building 1481, room 324


School of Communication and Culture

Abstract: The syntax-semantics interface and extraction from syntactic islands

Syntactic islands are typically defined as those configurations that block movement operations. In a famous paper from the 1970s, Noam Chomsky suggested that islands be used as a diagnostic for movement, which expresses the hypothesis that only movement is governed by islands. This diagnostic has been successful, and this encourages the supposition that there is some unique feature of movement operations that islands target. Which feature of movement this is, however, remains unknown. Both the semantics and phonology of movement have been entertained as possible relevant features. An explanation for islands would connect whatever feature of movement is island sensitive to an understanding of why the island configurations are the ones they are. Locating the relevant feature of movement that makes it island sensitive is linked to the project of understanding what it is about certain syntactic configurations that makes them islands. These lectures will explore an idea in Privoznov (2021) about what makes the syntactic configurations islands which could potentially interact with both the semantics and phonology of movement.


Privoznov, Dmitry (2021). “A Theory of Two Strong Islands”. PhD thesis. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/140111)