The NYI Universe presents:

Talking about Trees

"Super Local Movement: A Dialogue"

 with John Fred Bailyn & Adam Szczegielniak

Tuesday, May 16, 1 pm (NY)

link to attend

Welcome to the Spring 2023 NYI Universe!

Writing against Borders presents:

"Cinepoetries with Abdur and Alexandra"

Mon. May 1, 9:00 am (NY)

Link to attend

Welcome to the Spring 2023 NYI Universe:

Café Elsewhere:

“Free-for-All: Bring your own grief, joy, inspiration, and fury.”

Friday, April 28, 2023, 10:00 am (NY)

Link to attend

Welcome to the Spring 2023 NYI Universe:

The NYI Distinguished Linguist Lecture Series continues!

"Probe specific locality"

Amy Rose Deal
  University of California, Berkeley

Mon. April 3, 2023, 1:30 pm (NY)

Link to attend

"Probe specific locality"
Amy Rose Deal, University of California, Berkeley

Abstract: Syntactic dependencies consistently show locality constraints, but these constraints have traditionally been taken to vary from one type of dependency to another (e.g. A' but not A movement can leave a finite clause) as well as from one language to another (e.g. out of finite clauses, some languages allow A movement, and some languages disallow A' movement). In this talk I will sketch a perspective on locality effects in syntax that attempts to find underlying unity in this domain while accounting for this diversity of behaviors. This is part of a larger project that seeks to make explicit a single operation of Agree that can account for all long-distance dependencies in syntax---the interaction/satisfaction theory. Special attention will be paid to the difference between "single" and "multiple" Agree, movement with mixed A/A' characteristics, and patterns of selective opacity beyond the A/A' distinction.


Welcome to the Spring 2023 NYI Universe!

Writing against Borders presents:

Naznin Sultana

reading her story "A Walk to the Library"

Mon. April 3, 9:00 am (NY)

Link to attend

Welcome to the Spring 2023 NYI Universe:

The NYI Distinguished Linguist Lecture Series is back!

"Syntax-phonology interactions

and the Left Edge Ban"

Kenyon Branan
  University of Göttingen

Mon. March 20, 2023, 1:30 pm (NY)

Syntax-phonology interactions and the Left Edge Ban

Syntax is commonly supposed to be autonomous, in the sense that it operates independent of considerations of other modules of the grammar, such as the phonology or the semantics. In this talk I develop an argument against the autonomy hypothesis: the syntax, in some cases, must make reference to phonological considerations in determining whether or not a syntactic operation, such as movement, should take place. The argument consists of two main parts: identifying a plausible restriction on phonological form that might motivate movement, and then demonstrating that syntactic movement does indeed take place to satisfy the restriction in question. 

Towards the first goal, I discuss the Final-over-Final Condition (Sheehan, Biberauer, Roberts and Holmberg 2017), a purportedly universal ban on certain recursive syntactic complementation structures. I discuss case studies from Finnish, Georgian, and Uyghur-Mandarin code-switching that suggest, minimally, that the FOFC should be thought of as a requirement that holds at PF. I further suggest that the FOFC be assimilated to a more general restriction on prosodic structure, termed the Left Edge Ban, discussed in extensive detail in Branan (under contract). This ban, crucially, may be satisfied by moving elements in the offending configuration to other postions in the clause. 

Towards the second goal, I provide a reasonably detailed discussion of a process of negation-triggered object preposing in Skou [Skou; Papua/Papua New Guinea]. While the language is generally SOV, and displays fairly inflexible word order, the arguments of a small class of verbs in the language must appear in a post-verbal position. However, in the context of a post-verbal negation particle, the aforementioned post-verbal arguments are obligatorily preposed. Noting that the presence of these post-verbal arguments between the verb and negation would lead to a violation of the Left Edge Ban, I suggest that movement is motivated to avoid violating this ban. I first show that a number of syntactic processes distinguish pre-verbal and post-verbal objects, and that arguments preposed under negation take on all relevant properties of pre-verbal objects, suggesting this movement takes place in the syntax. I further show that this process of object preposing fails to target a singular identifiable position in the clause, suggesting that preposing is not triggered by a syntactic feature located on a particular head (see also Kučerová 2007, Richards 2021 for arguments of this form). The most straightforward account, then, is one where movement takes place directly to create a well-formed phonological representation.

This suggests that we need a grammatical architecture where the syntax is allowed access to at least some phonological information, which comes into conflict with the autonomy hypothesis.

Welcome to the Spring 2023 NYI Universe!

Writing against Borders is back!!!

First meeting: Mon. March 20, 9:00 am (NY)

Link to attend

"Talking about Trees" Season Finale" 

an Open Discussion with

Marcel den Dikken
(Hungarian academy of Sciences)

Wednesday, December 21
10 am (NY), 4 pm (Warsaw/Budapest), 6 pm (Ankara)

In the Fall 2022 Season Finale of Talking about Trees, participants will hold an opn discussion woth renowned syntactian Marcel den Dikken (Hungarian Academy of Sciences) on a range of syntactic topics, from predication to phase structure to the future of the field.

Talking about Trees poster

All are welcome!

"Discourse-Free Left Periphery?" 
Cihan Başoğlu, Ankara University

Wednesday, December 14
10 am (NY), 4 pm (Warsaw), 6 pm (Ankara)

In the next meeting of Talking about Trees, Cihan Başoğlu, of Ankara University, will lead a discussion of "Discourse-free left periphery" based on Fanselow & Lenertova's 2012 paper "Left peripheral focus: mismatches between syntax and information structure" (posted under Academic Materials)

"The discussion will cover Fanselow & Lenertova's 2012 paper, where they argue that information structure plays no role in determining what is fronted to the left periphery of a clause, and they neither figure in determining the locality of fronting nor in any other syntactically relevant aspect of the construction. In their work, movement to the left periphery is triggered by an unspecific edge feature of Comp." 

Talking about Trees poster with the link to attend 

All are welcome!

"How Many Countries Does the Indus Cross?"
a poetry reading by Akhil Katyal (New Delhi)
Monday, Dec. 11, 2022, 9 am (NY); 3 pm (Berlin), 7:30 pm (New Delhi)

In Akhil Katyal’s poetry, the Collective recognized a consciousness that is fierce yet elegiac, journeying into the turbulent waters of South Asia’s most pressing social and political realities. In poems traversing Kashmir, New Delhi, Lahore, the UK, and the United States, readers encounter hope and heartbreak as they follow the river-like bends of Katyal’s astonishing new collection.

Journalism in Peril

Sat, Dec. 10, 2022:
6 am (LA), 9 am (NY); 2 pm (London), 3 pm (Berlin)
4 pm (Kyiv), 5 pm (St. P), 5:30 pm (Tehran)
7 pm (Dushanbe), 7:30 pm (Delhi), 10 pm (Beijing

hosted by Razvan Sibii, UMass, Amherst

The V-NYI Journalism in Peril series focuses on the lived experiences of journalist-activists in areas of active war, repression or other forms of crisis.

On Saturday Dec.10 (9 am NY), the NYI Universe will host a "Journalism in Peril" panel discussion with activist-journalists from three organizations: Women's Pravda, The Free Buryatia Foundation, and DOXA.

Women's Pravda (Larisa Zhukova)
Zhenskaya Pravda, or "Women's Truth," is a bi-weekly anti-war self-published newspaper released by activists and journalist of the Feminist Anti-war Resistance movement.
The movement was founded in February 2022 to protest the full-scale invasion, and the newspaper has been published since May of the same year.  Its main goal is to reach new audiences.  Anyone can download and print the newspaper, but readers must be cautious when doing so in Russia.
Larisa​ Zhukova​ is one of the activists and part of the horizontal editorial board.

Free Buryatia Foundation (Maria Vyushkova)
The Free Buryatia Foundation was founded in March of this year by opponents of the war in Buryatia and members of the global Buryats diaspora in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The organisation's activities include exposing fake reports and propaganda, fighting chauvinism towards Buryats, and conducting anti-war agitation.

     Maria Vyushkova is a co-founder of the foundation and the head of its analytical department, where she focuses on the analysis of open-source intelligence to dismantle propaganda and bring a research-based counter narrative.

DOXA (Katya Martynova, Armen Arаmyаn, Danya Faynberg)
DOXA is an independent student magazine founded in 2017 by students at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow. Initially, the publication focused on the problems facing Russian universities, but today it covers a wide range of topics including war, dictatorship, inequality, and the climate crisis. In addition, DOXA releases useful materials on how to cope with the everyday consequences of disasters.  The goal is to provide access to the information necessary for action.

     Katya Martynova, Armen Arаmyаn, Danya Faynberg are editors and journalists of the magazine, which adheres to a horizontal editorial policy.

"Structure and order in Kîîtharaka and in UG”

Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, 10 am (NY); 3 pm (London), 4 pm (CET), 5 pm (Kyiv)

Klaus Abels, University College London

Poster with link to attend

I discuss the order and hierarchical organization of noun-phrase internal constituents in Kîîtharaka (Bantu, Kenya). While the hierarchical organization that emerges is  unremarkable in a typological perspective, the order (N Dem Num A) is both typologically unusual and difficult to reconcile with the evidence about order. I will tentatively suggest a direct linearization approach (following Medeiros) that avoids invoking semantically vacuous movement operations but gives up the non-tangling condition for a restricted class of cases.