The Malay Verbal Prefix meN- and the Unergative/Unaccusative Distinction: public talk by Dr. Hooi Ling Soh

May 2, 2011

The Carleton Linguistics Department invites everyone to the final talk in the 2010-11 Carleton Linguistics Colloquium Series.

The Malay Verbal Prefix meN- and the Unergative/Unaccusative Distinction
Dr. Hooi Ling Soh
Associate Professor of Linguistics
University of Minnesota
Friday, 6 May 2011, CMC 209, 4:00 pm

The verbal prefix meN- in Malay is known to block DP movement. The existing analyses of this phenomenon focus on the blocking effect of meN- in transitive sentences but have not paid attention to whether such an effect holds in intransitive sentences. In this talk, we examine the blocking effect of meN- in intransitive sentences and show that surprisingly meN- does not appear to block DP movement in sentences that are usually considered unaccusative. We propose that no blocking effect is found in intransitive sentences because all intransitive meN- sentences are unergative. Our analysis implies that both lexical specification and structural determination are involved in determining the
unergative/unaccusative distinction.

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For more information on Dr. Soh's research, please visit her website: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~sohxx001/