Dr. Tran Truong
December 9, 2022
9:00 am

Dr. Tran Truong

"Constraints on Irregularity"

Dr. Tran Truong, Assisting Teaching Professor of Linguistics at Penn State

Friday, December 9, 9:00–10:30 a.m. EST, 127 Moore Building and virtually via Zoom

Morphological contiguity domains are pockets of natural language grammar in which non-contiguous suppletion and syncretism are prohibited, giving the appearance of so-called *ABA distributions. These domains have shown great initial promise as a possible diagnostic for syntactic hierarchical structure, and have been observed in the morphosyntax of pronouns, case, number, gender, tense, possessives, negation, inter multissima alia. This talk argues that *ABA domains are heterogeneous in etiology (i.e., how they emerge diachronically) and derivation (i.e., how they are generated synchronically). Furthermore, it demonstrates that long-noticed universals in the anthropological and linguistic literature on kinship exemplify *ABA distributions. In the broader perspective, it emerges that *ABA effects represent a constraint on linguistic structure that is not recapitulated by a similar constraint on cognition.