Plenary Talk

Prof. Tor Andres Åfarli

Title: Endo- and exoskeletal models of grammar: How to explain argument structure flexibility, lexical creativity, and language mixing.

November 11, 2016, 2.00 pm

About the Speaker: Prof. Tor Anders Åfarli is a Professor of the Department of Language and Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. His research interests are syntax, typology and syntax of dialects. He has authored the The Syntax of Norwegian Passive Constructions (John Benjamins Publishing Company) and has edited several volumes. He is extensively published in reputed journals. Currently, he is the investigator of project on syntactic variation that focuses on 'doubling' in dialects of Meeteilon and Norwegian.

Abstract of the talk: Most models of grammar are endoskeletal in the sense that the argument structure of the clause is thought to be projected (by some version of a projection principle) from the lexical-semantic argument structure properties that are thought to be inherent in the individual main verb. However, for some years now an alternative view has been gaining ground. This is an exoskeletal view that negates the traditional endoskeletal model. The exoskeletal model is a separationist model of grammar where syntactic frames or templates are assumed to be generated independently of the lexical items (including main verbs) which, on the other hand, are assumed to be inserted late in the derivation (late lexical insertion). In my talk, I will show that projectionist endoskeletal models face severe problems in three important domains, namely regarding the explanation of argument structure flexility, the explanation of lexical creativity, and the explanation of the structure of language mixing. I will further show how an exoskeletal model is in a better position to explain various phenomena in these three domains.