THT

Papers

  • 2018. A short note on belief under desire. (with Luka Crnič). Submitted, under review. [Abstract: Embedded epistemic modals are infelicitous under desire predicates when they are anchored to the belief state of the attitude holder (see, esp., Anand and Hacquard 2013). We present two ways of deriving this observation from an independently motivated property of desire predicates, their anti-opinionatedness (Heim 1992; von Fintel 1999).]
  • 2018. Splitting atoms in natural language. (with Andreas Haida). Submitted, under review. [Abstract: The cardinality analysis of numerical statements runs into problems with sentences containing non-integers such as John read 2.5 novels. We propose a semantics for numeral phrases which derives several observations on these sentences, and identify a number of open questions for future research.]
  • 2018. Keeping it simple. To appear in Natural Language Semantics. [Abstract: Breheny et al. (2017) argue against the structural approach to alternatives. The empirical force of their argument comes mostly from challenges raised against Trinh and Haida (2015). This paper aims to respond to these challenges, showing how they can be met by a natural refinement of Trinh and Haida’s proposal which turns out to capture additional facts previously not accounted for. Another aim of this paper is to recount the debate with enough precision and explicitness in order to enhance understanding and facilitate future discussions.]
  • 2018. On complex adjectival phrases in Standard Arabic. (with Yahya Aldholmi & Hamid Ouali). To appear in Perspectives on Arabic Linguistics 30. [Abstract: We present three observations about a class of adjectival constructions in Standard Arabic: pleonastic definiteness, required resumption, and misalignment in case and agreement. We then account for these observations on the basis of a constituent structure and two generalizations, and derive the generalizations from more basic assumptions about syntactic relations and processes.]
  • 2017. Interpretation of numerals under memory load by Vietnamese speakers. (with Andreas Haida and Chi Mai Luong). [Abstract: We report the results of an experiment done on Vietnamese speakers regarding the interpretation of numerals under different memory conditions. The goal was to replicate the experiment by Marty et al. (2013) on French speakers in order to test whether the results would be different for Vietnamese which is typologically different from French in significant respects.]
  • 2017. When is not not not?. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 24. [Abstract: Negated complements of negative implicatives in Vietnamese have a reading in which they are logically equivalent to their non-negated counterpart. We propose an analysis which predicts the distribution of such “pleonastic” occurences of negation and show that it can account for the distribution of another case of pleonasm in Vietnamese: pleonastic modals. The analysis assumes the possibility of multidominance and contains a proposal on the linearization of syntactic structure.]
  • 2016. Splitting friends, wives, and boxes of booksMIT Working Papers in Linguistics #80. [Abstract: Cross-linguistic variation with respect to the pronunciation of topicalized verbs make up most of my argument for the Edge Condition (EC), a principle of chain linearization, in Trinh (2009, 2010). In section 5 of Trinh (2009), I argue that variation within Vietnamese with respect to the pronunciation of split NPs also supports EC. After the publication of that paper, I became aware of some additional facts about NP-Split in Vietnamese, which I then discussed in chapter 3 of my dissertation (Trinh 2011). I believe these facts and my analysis of them suffice to warrant presentation in a small but self-contained contribution. The present squib, which is a contribution to a Festschrift for David Pesetsky, is a long overdue result of that belief, and I am particularly happy about its venue of publication, as David Pesetsky’s guidance and support were essential in all of my works on this topic.]
  • 2015. Constraining the derivation of alternatives (with Andreas Haida). Natural Language Semantics 23. [Abstract: Inferences that result from exhaustification of a sentence S depend on the set of alternatives to S. In this paper, we present some inference patterns that are problematic for previous theories of alternatives and propose some structural constraints on the derivation of formal alternatives which derive the observations.]
  • 2014. How to ask the obvious – A presuppositional account of evidential bias in English yes/no questions. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics #71. [Abstract: English can express the basic meaning of a yes/no question in several ways, for example with or without sentential negation, and with or without subject auxiliary inversion. In this paper, we discuss how the presence of contextual clue with respect to one or the other answer to a yes/no question determines which formal variants of the question are felicitous. We then derive these syntax-pragmatics interactions from Heim’s principle of Maximize Presupposition, Stalnaker’s Bridge Principle and Grice’s Maxim of Manner, each formulated in a particular way, together with the assumption that the lexicon of English contains a silent evidential marker which exhibits familiar syntactic and semantic properties. This paper is a contribution to a Festschrift for Irene Heim.]
  • 2013. Das Vietnamesische und das Chinesische. In Das Mehrsprachige Klassenzimmer. Über die Muttersprachen unserer Schüler, edited by Manfred Krifka, Joanna Błaszczak, Annette Leßmölmann, André Meinunger, Barbara Stiebels, Rosemarie Tracy und Hubert Truckenbrodt. [This is a book chapter written in German which introduces the lay readers to some basic facts about Vietnamese and Chinese and thereby provides them with some knowledge of theoretical linguistics.]
  • 2011. The rise and fall of declaratives (with Luka Crnič). Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 15. [Abstract: This paper argues for a new way of thinking about semantic and pragmatic effects of particular sentence intonation patterns. The main focus of the paper is on the so-called rising declaratives, i.e. sentences that have the surface structure of a declarative sentence but are pronounced with a rising pitch contour. Rising declaratives differ from both declaratives with a falling pitch contour and questions in their pragmatic effect. Our goal is to account for this difference. We propose that rising intonation contour is syntactically realized. Its semantic import is to determine the resolution of a variable in the speech act projection, i.e. rising intonation operates on speech acts. The pragmatic effects associated with rising declaratives are shown to follow from this minimal assumption and the independently motivated tenets of speech act theory.]
  • 2011. Nominal reference in two classifier languages. Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 15. [Abstract: In this paper, we first present observations that have been made concerning the distribution and interpretation of nominals in Mandarin Chinese and propose an account for them. We will then contrast Mandarin Chinese with Vietnamese, and show that differences with respect to the syntax and semantics of noun phrases between these two languages can be reduced to the fact that they differ minimally in lexical resource. Implications of the analysis for a theory of semantic variation are also discussed.]
  • 2011. Edges and Linearization – An Investigation into the Pronunciation of Chains. PhD Thesis, MIT. [Abstract: This thesis is concerned with how grammar determines the phonological consequence of syntactic dislocation. It centers on a hypothesis regarding the linearization of movement chains – the Edge Condition on Copy Deletion, eventually named the Edge Condition in the last chapter, when it receives its final formulation. The empirical phenomena under investigation include (i) predicate cleft constructions in German, Dutch, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Swedish and Norwegian, (ii) NP-split constructions in Vietnamese and (iii) cross-linguistic variation in head ordering patterns.]
  • 2010. Edges and linearization – A reply. Theoretical Linguistics 36. [This is a reply to commentaries on my 2009 paper “A constraint on Copy Deletion,” Theoretical Linguistics 35, linked below.]
  • 2009. A constraint on Copy Deletion. Theoretical Linguistics 35. [Abstract: One version of the copy theory of movement holds that syntactic traces are full-fledged constituents which undergo a PF-deletion rule. In this paper, I propose a constraint on this rule. The constraint says that the lower copy of a chain can be phonologically deleted only if it ends an XP. I show that this constraint, conjoined with proposals that have been made concerning phrase structure (Chomsky 1994) and the semantics of NP in classifier languages (Chierchia 1998), explains a variety of facts in Dutch, German, Hebrew, Norwegian, Swedish and Vietnamese.]
  • 2008. Embedding imperatives. (with Luka Crnič). Proceedings of NELS 39. [This paper extends the centered world analysis of embedded epistemic modals proposed in Stephenson (2007) to account for embedded imperatives. A dissimilarity between epistemic and imperative modals in variability of modal force is accounted for by relying on Rullmann et al.’s (2008) analysis of Salish modals.]
  • 2008. Embedding imperatives in English. (with Luka Crnič). Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 13. [Abstract: Although it has generally been claimed otherwise (cf. Katz and Postal 1964, Sadock and Zwicky 1985, Palmer 1986, Rivero and Terzi 1995, Platzack and Rosengren 1998, Han 1998 among others), it holds that embedded imperatives exist in English. We describe their main characteristics and provide an account of these by relying on Schwager’s (2006) propositional analysis of imperatives, where imperatives are treated as modalized sentences. The imperative modal is thereby relativized to eventualities (cf. Hacquard 2006).]
  • 2008. Some approaches to complex demonstratives. Manuscript, MIT. [This is a squib written for a semantics class at MIT. It presents and compares various semantic analyses of determiner phrases headed by a demonstrative that has an NP complement.]
  • 2008. Notes on tense interpretation. Manuscript, MIT. [This is a squib written for a semantics class at MIT. It presents the pros and cons of two theories of tense interpretation: the Priorian theory and Kusumoto (2005), and argues that the Priorian theory is empirically more adequate. However, that theory as such is not able to predict the later-than-matrix reading in adjunct clauses. A tentative solution is proposed which makes use of the idea that semantic interpretation proceeds cyclically.]
  • 2007. A case for no Case. Manuscript, MIT. [This is a squib written for a syntax class at MIT. It provides an explanation for several distributional in interpretational facts in Vietnamese based on the assumption that this language lacks Case/Agreement.]
  • 2006. An analysis of transitive resultatives. Manuscript, MIT. [This is a squib written for a syntax class at MIT and later presented at the Maryland-MIT-Harvard-UMass-UConn Workshop in Formal Linguistics (ECO5). It proposes an analysis for transitive resultatives in Vietnamese and extends this analysis to English, thereby explaining some properties of English TRs. A major difference between English and Vietnamese is suggested to reduce to the fact that in English, [+EPP] on T must be satisfied by a DP, whereas in Vietnamese, an XP of any category can satisfy this feature.]
  • 2005. Aspects of Clause Structure in Vietnamese. Master Thesis, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Advisors: Manfred Krifka, Gisbert Fanselow. [Abstract: In dieser Arbeit wird die Syntax zweier Satztypen des modernen Vietnamesischen untersucht: des Aussagesatzes und der Entscheidungsfrage. Erstens wird die Distribution temporaler und verbaler Elemente im Aussagesatz erklärt. Die Erklärung ist in Rahmen der minimalistischen Theorie formuliert und beinhaltet einige Annahmen über die Morphosyntax des Vietnamesischen. Von diesen Annahmen ausgehend wird dann eine Analyse für die Entscheidungsfrage gemacht, die ebenfalls mit Begriffen des Minimalismus formuliert wird. Es stellt sich aber heraus, dass diese Analyse in mancher Hinsicht inadäquat ist. Aus diesem Grund wird sie durch sprach- und konstruktionsspezifische Regeln ergänzt. Es wird angenommen, dass diese Regeln historisch entstanden sind und zur Peripherie gehören.]