Back from Norway

Christmas is drawing near and then I will soon be on vacation for two weeks. This means that this term is coming to an end and it’s time to reflect over what I’ve done the last two weeks.

The most important thing I’ve done lately is the field trip to Snåsa, where I’ve recruited new informants and collected some more data. But first I went to Trondheim for a talk at NTNU. I was there to visit them for the first time earlier this fall, when I attended a course the Norwegean National Linguistics research school organized on Multlingualism and Grammar. Really interesting course and following conference with experts in the field taking part. This second visit was a much shorter shorter one, where I had a presentation with the title ”Object positions and Scrambling in South Saami”. It was interesting indeed also this time go there to present my work to an audience working within the generative field. I had expected and hoped for feedback and additional things to look for during my following fieldwork and I’m happy that just as I expected, I did get a lot of good feedback and comments on my work. One signal of an interested audience, one that really pays attention to the details, is when they spot things I’ve glossed incorrectly. I think this happens to me every time I write a handout, presentation or paper where I use glossed examples. Since it for instance makes a huge difference if an indirect object is in accusative or illative case, this glossing has to be correct. If you can read South Saami it’s not that big a problem, but since most linguists can not the gloss must give you the correct information. However, my audience at NTNU notices the incorrect glosses right away and asks about it. A good lesson to take with me. (I will later update this post with wrongfully glossed items in order to illustrate.)


Mitt första riktiga inlägg

Mitt första riktiga inlägg

Gick igenom bloggen eftersom jag inte riktigt kom ihåg varför jag egentligen startade bloggen. Det första inlägg jag skrivit , som är länkat till i titeln på det här inlägget blev det klart för mig igen. En del av anledningen var att jag tyckte mig ha fastnat i ett jobbigt läge i huvudet av ständig analys av allt. Samtal, ord, samhällsfrågor m.m. var saker som snurrade i huvudet. Som en återkoppling till det inlägget som är över ett år gammalt kan jag säga att så är inte längre fallet. Jag känner att det försvann på allvar efter att jag på allvar började med lingvistik igen. Alla analysresurser i huvudet går nu oavkortat åt till att analysera adjunkter och argument, A’- och A-positioner, interna och externa fall av Merge, bindningsrelationer osv. Även om jag klagar ibland att det tar mycket tid och energi så är det också positivt. Jag slipper känna att jag analyserar saker jag inte får utlopp för att skriva ner eller prata om analysen ifråga. Trevligt med sådan här positiv stämning ibland, jobbet har känts gansksa tungt ofta den här hösten.

Binding Reflexives and Herding Cats

Binding is indeed interesting.

Chomsky’s insight is that language possesses structure independent of meaning. Take the examples below:

(1a) There seems to be a girl in the garden

(1b) ??There seems to be Kate in the garden

(1c) ??There seems to be the boy in the garden

(1d) *There seems to be him in the garden

The only difference between these sentences is the noun in the garden—a girl, Kate, the boy, and him. So why does (1a) sound perfectly fine while the others sound off? Why does (1d) sound thoroughly ungrammatical? There must be structural elements involved here that are not visible in the words themselves.

Another, famous example:

(2a) Colorless green ideas sleep furiously

(2b) *Colorless ideas green furiously sleep

(2c) *Colorless green ideas sleeps furiously

Each sentence is meaningless. Yet most English speakers will agree that (2a) is fine while (2b) is word salad, and that in (2c), there’s something wrong…

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Tree drawing

I just stumbled upon a software for drawing syntactic tree. Now I’m not really sure i need it myself, since I just qtree in LaTex. However drawing more advanced trees might be a little harder only to do with code. Maybe the TreeForm might com in handy there.

Here is the link to where to download it and here is some info about it. Seems to be cross-platform so mac, linux and windows users can use it. I would appreciate anyone with experience of the program to comment or suggest other software doing the job better.