Leslie Lee’s Dissertation Defense: September 6, 2013. 1:00 P.M.

The Department of Linguistics is pleased to announce Leslie Lee’s dissertation defense on Friday, September 6, 2013, 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm in the Applied Physics and Mathematics Building room 4301.

Event structure and grammatical patterns: resultative constructions

In this talk, I present a pattern-theoretic approach to grammatical analysis that provides a happy compromise between mainstream generative approaches, typically criticised for focusing on broad cross-linguistic generalisations at the expense of complete descriptions of particular languages, and Construction Grammar approaches, which have been criticised for the complementary problem, i.e. focusing on the complete descriptions of particular languages at the expense of cross-linguistic generalisations. I develop a balance between these proposals by exploring three independent, but interdependent dimensions of resultative constructions: predication relations, argument realisation, and surface encoding. I argue for a pattern-theoretic analysis of resultatives in which patterns of predication relations are represented in terms of families of event structure templates, and propose to capture the regularities governing the alignment between semantic arguments of event structures and grammatical relations in the syntax by embedding event structures within a correspondence-based theory of argument realisation. Finally, I consider the crosslinguistic variation in the surface encoding of resultatives and provide a formal model of how the same event structure template can be realised by different surface encoding strategies in different languages.  Treating event structures as complex grammatical patterns provides an insightful way of characterising cross-linguistically recurrent, yet variant, construction types, such as resultative, and identifies a typological research programme with the potential to uncover implicational relations that hold within languages.