Gumiel-Molina, Silvia, Norberto Moreno-Quibén, and Isabel Pérez-Jiménez. 2015. “The Inference of Temporal Persistence and the Individual/Stage Level Distinction: The Case of Ser vs. Estar in Spanish.” In New Perspectives on the Study of Ser and Estar, edited by Isabel Pérez-Jiménez, Manuel Leonetti, and Silvia Gumiel-Molina, 119–46. Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 5. John Benjamins. DOI: 10.1075/ihll.5.05gum.

The inference of temporal persistence and the individual/stage level distinction: the case of ser vs. estar in Spanish

Keywords: ser, estar, adjective, gradability, individual-level, stage-level, predication, Spanish

In this paper we propose that the differences between ser ‘beSER’ and estar ‘beESTAR’ predications traditionally associated with the individual-level/stagelevel (IL/SL) distinction (having to do with their differing combinations with adverbs quantifying over situations, locative and temporal modifiers, etc.) can be explained without arguing that ser ‘beSER’ and estar ‘beESTAR’ sentences have different event/aspect/Aktionsart-related properties. Specifically, we claim that in copular sentences with adjectival complements, the different kinds of elements that build up the comparison class needed to evaluate adjectival properties can account for the IL/SL character of the predication and that, specifically, the IL/SL distinction is linked to the relative/absolute distinction. This proposal,together with the hypothesis that relative adjectives trigger by default an inference of temporal persistence, can account for all the aforementioned differences between ser ‘beSER’ and estar ‘beESTAR’ sentences. We thus argue for an extension of the explanatory value of the individual/stage-level distinction to the domain of gradability.

Depictive secondary predicates in Spanish and the relative/absolute distinction

Gumiel-Molina, Silvia, Norberto Moreno-Quibén, and Isabel Pérez-Jiménez. 2016. “Depictive Secondary Predicates in Spanish and  the Relative/Absolute Distinction.” In Romance Linguistics 2013. Selected Papers from the 43rd Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), New York, 17-19 April, 2013, edited by Christina Tortora, Marcel den Dikken, Ignacio Montoya, and Teresa O’Neill, 139–58. Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 9. John Benjamins. 10.1075/rllt.9.08gum.

Depictive secondary predicates in Spanish and the relative/absolute distinction.

Keywords: absolute adjective, relative adjective, predication, Spanish

This study accounts for the unacceptability of individual-level gradable adjectives as depictive secondary predicates on the basis of two factors: a) the semantics of gradable adjectives and b) the pragmatic inference of temporal persistence.

Perez-Jimenez, Isabel, and Norberto Moreno-Quibén. 2011. “Las conjunciones exceptivas.” In 60 problemas de gramática: dedicados a Ignacio Bosque, 18–23. Akal.

«Las conjunciones exceptivas»

Keywords: Coordination, Free exceptive, Connected exceptive, Subordination, Ellipsis, Spanish

En este trabajo estudiamos la estructura interna de las construcciones exceptivas (la categoría de la partícula exceptiva y la estructura del constituyente que selecciona) así como el vínculo sintáctico que establecen con la oración que las aloja. Nos centraremos en las construcciones encabezadas por excepto, salvo y menos, puesto que estas piezas léxicas, como señala Bosque (2005) en su trabajo sobre distintos aspectos semánticos de estas construcciones, conforman un conjunto semántica y sintácticamente homogéneo. Comenzaremos en §3 presentando los dos tipos básicos de estructuras a que dan lugar excepto, salvo y menos, denominadas construcciones exceptivas ligadas y construcciones exceptivas libres . En §4 expondremos nuestro análisis sobre la sintaxis de estas estructuras, análisis que puede explicar el problema planteado en la sección anterior, así como otras diferencias entre las estructuras de (1)a y (1)b. La sección 5 recogerá distintos tipos de argumentos que apoyan y justifican nuestro análisis. En §6 recogeremos otros problemas que este trabajo permite plantear para su futura solución.

A partir del número 73 te espera el infinito

Charles Yang de la Universidad de Pennsilvania ha descubierto que el punto de inflexión para pasar de un sistema de conteo basado en la memorización a otro basado en reglas se sitúa alrededor del número 73. El cálculo está basado en lo que Yang denomina el principio de Tolerancia:

La formulación de una regla R es computacionalmente más efectiva que la memorización de unidades si el número de excepciones no supera el número de palabras de la categoría N dividida por el logaritmo de N (N/lnN)

Source: Penn linguist determines tipping point for children learning to count | Penn Current

Gumiel-Molina, S., N. Moreno-Quibén and I. Pérez Jiménez: Comparison classes and the relative/absolute distinction: a degree-based compositional account of the ser/estar alternation in Spanish. Nat Lang Linguist Theory (2015) 33: 955. doi:10.1007/s11049-015-9284-x.

Keywords: Adjective, Comparison class, Copula, Degree, Estar, Gradability, Relative, Ser

The notion of comparison class has figured prominently in recent analyses of the gradability properties of adjectives. We assume that the comparison class is introduced by the degree morphology of the adjective and present a new proposal where comparison classes are crucial to explain the distribution of adjectives in Spanish copular sentences headed by the verbs ser ‘beSER’ and estar ‘beESTAR’. The copula estar ‘beestar’ appears whenever a gradable adjective merges with a within-individual comparison class, a modifier expressing a property of stages. The copular verb ser ‘beser’ appears when a gradable adjective merges with a between-individuals comparison class, a modifier expressing a property of individuals. The distinction between relative and absolute adjectives can be reduced to the semantic properties of the modifier expressing the comparison class that is merged in the functional structure of the adjective.

Comparison classes and the relative/absolute distinction: a degree-based compositional account of the ser/estar alternation in Spanish

On the syntax of exceptions

Pérez-Jiménez I., and Moreno-Quibén, N. (2012). «On the syntax of exceptions. Evidence from Spanish». Lingua 122: 6, pp. 582-607.

Keywords: Coordination, Free exceptive, Connected exceptive, Subordination, Ellipsis, Spanish

In this paper we offer a syntactic description of Spanish exceptive constructions headed by excepto, salvo or menos (‘except’). Framing our hypothesis in an adjunction analysis of coordination, we argue that these exceptive markers head a Boolean Phrase, like other coordinating conjunctions. Two types of exceptive phrases can be identified, depending on the level of the constituents conjoined. In connected exceptives two DPs are conjoined. In free exceptives two CPs are conjoined; the exceptive markers select for a full-fledged CP as complement, whose null head (C) triggers a process of ellipsis in which all the syntactic material inside TP is marked for PF-deletion, except the remnant constituent(s). Our proposal supports a structural approach to ellipsis whereby elliptical constituents are in fact fully fledged though non-pronounced syntactic structures. It also supports the hypothesis that the differences in the syntactic behaviour of coordinate sentences and subordinate adverbial clauses cannot be derived from their phrase structure geometry but are instead due to the properties of individual conjunctions.

On the syntax of exceptions

Notas biográficas de Noam Chomsky sobre su desarrollo docente

Notas biográficas de Noam Chomsky sobre su desarrollo docente

From “Work, Learning and Freedom”, Noam Chomsky interviewed by Michael Kasenbacher, New Left Project, December 24, 2012

Children for example are naturally curious — they want to know about everything, they want to explore everything but that generally gets knocked out of their heads. They’re put into disciplined structures, things are organised for them to act in certain ways so it tends to get beaten out of you. That’s why school’s boring. School can be exciting. It happens that I went to a Deweyite school[^1] until I was about 12. It was an exciting experience, you wanted to be there, you wanted to go. There was no ranking, there were no grades. Things were guided so it wasn’t just do anything you feel like. There was a structure but you were basically encouraged to pursue your own interests and concerns and to work together with others. I basically didn’t know I was a good student until I got to high school. I went to an academic high school in which everybody was ranked and you had to get to college so you had to pass tests. In elementary school I had actually skipped a year but nobody paid much attention to it. The only thing I saw was that I was the smallest kid in the class. But it wasn’t a big thing that anybody paid attention to. High school was totally different — you’ve gotta be first in the class, not second. And that’s a very destructive environment — it drives people into the situation where you really don’t know what you want to do. It happened to me in fact — in high school I kinda lost all interest. When I looked at the college catalogue it was really exciting — lots of courses, great things. But it turned out that the college was like an overgrown high school. After about a year I was going to just drop out and it was just by accident that I stayed in. I happened to meet up with a faculty member who suggested to me I start taking his graduate courses and then I started taking other graduate courses. But I have no professional training. That’s why I’m teaching at MIT — I don’t have the credentials to teach at an academic university.

[^1] “A Deweyite school” es una escuela basada en las ideas de John Dewey.

Asya Pereltsvaig reflexiona sobre el anticosmopolitismo en la enseñanza de las lenguas, una forma camuflada del imperialismo de siempre.

Is Learning a Foreign Language a Waste of Time? – Languages Of The World | Languages Of The World.

As I [Asya Pereltsvaig] have pointed out elsewhere, Google all too often fails to translate both words in context and grammatical concepts, such as gender. In fact, it fails most in piecing together the grammatical structure of a sentence, something than even a child can do for his of her native language. Though it offers translation in 65 languages (and is set to round the number to 100 before too long), for most language pairs Google Translate uses so‑called “intermediary languages”, usually English. Going beyond the most easily translatable forms of language into something as complex as poetry or humor, Google Translate performs even more poorly.