Helen Jeoung will be defending her dissertation proposal on Friday, Feb
3 at 1:30pm. The defense will be held in the Seminar room of
the Linguistics department (at a new address: 3401-C Walnut
Street, Suite 300. Enter the C-wing through the doors
located between CVS and Modern Eye Optical.)
The abstract is below.
*Title: Optional Morphosyntax in Derivational Grammar and Its Implications *
This thesis examines optionality within the grammatical system of the individual, and how such optionality informs morphosyntactic theory. I examine variable constructions in which two or more forms are available to a speaker as grammatical. The data, drawn from Indonesian, Madurese and Javanese, include a range of syntactic environments and morphological forms, including verbal morphology marking voice, prepositions that introduce Initiators and wh-words used in disjunctions. These case studies show that apparently "free" optionality is constrained by the architecture of the clause; the structural, featural and semantic properties of syntactic objects; and autonomous syntactic processes. I will argue that these constraints on optionality (environments in which only one form is possible) yield important insights into the locus of the optionality and the nature of the construction itself. These conclusions are only possible if optionality is taken seriously as a component of individual grammar. While surface variability is the starting point of this investigation, this work is pre-variationist, as a formal theoretical account of the linguistic objects that participate in variability. Through investigation of these morphosyntactic constructions, I articulate a theory of derivational morphosyntax that incorporates possible loci of optionality.