Julianne Doner

About Me

I defended my PhD in June 2019 at the University in Toronto, with a focus on comparative and theoretical syntax. 

You can reach me at julie dot doner at mail dot utoronto dot ca.

 

My Research

Main Areas: Comparative Syntax and Clausal Architecture

 

 
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Comparative Syntax

The primary focus of my research to date is in the area of comparative syntax, from a theoretical perspective. As part of this research, I look for properties of languages that tend to cluster together across geographically and genetically diverse languages (cf. macroparameters, Baker 2008). This research requires looking at the synchronic distribution of various properties across languages in order to identify such clusters and their diachronic distribution in order to identify how the various properties emerge (i.e., did one property appear first and trigger the appearance of others). In my dissertation research, I examined language data from over two dozen languages from over ten different language families and developed a typology of the different forms of the Extended Projection Principle (EPP; Chomsky 1981, 1982), arguing that it can be satisfied by either a nominal element or a predicate (building on work by Massam and Smallwood 1997, Davies and Dubinsky 2001), by either a phrase or a head (as argued by Alexiadou and Anagnostopoulou 1998), and by pied-piping the entire vP or not (as proposed by Richards and Biberauer 2005). I've also looked at what other properties of a language correlate with its EPP type, showing that null subject type is not correlated with EPP type, and that languages with predicate EPP pattern together in having a high, defective T.

Clausal Architecture

Broadly speaking, my research addresses the nature of clausal architecture and how it relates to human cognition. It is often assumed that the clause is divided into three (or sometimes four) domains: the discourse domain or left periphery, the inflectional domain or middlefield, and the thematic domain. In my research, I am investigating what these clausal domains are and how they operate, including the contrastive function of each domain and their relation to each other. The clausal spine seems to be somewhat universal across languages, at least in the broad ordering of clausal domains. By determining the underlying purpose of each domain, we can perhaps uncover the principles that determine their ordering, how they relate to each other, and how they result in the unique properties of human language. If the clausal spine has a principled reason for being structured the way it is, then this also opens the door for exploring whether its structure is emergent, rather than encoded in UG. I have explored these issues particularly through the lens of comparative syntax, which sheds light on the range of variation possible cross-linguistically. Specifically, I am looking at (a) the commonalities between various operations within the same domain cross-linguistically, (b) the contrastive functions of the different domains, and (c) the properties of operations that relate elements from different domains, such as movement.

Forthcoming Projects

The Anchoring Hypothesis

Ritter and Wiltschko (2014) propose that the inflectional domain has an anchoring function. I am exploring the strongest possible version of that hypothesis---that all operations of the inflectional domain have an anchoring function and that all anchoring operations occur within the inflectional domain. 

Verb-Initial Languages

Since Greenberg (1963), a variety of properties common to verb-initial languages have been noted. These properties do not, at first glance, appear to be related to word order. Is this a macroparameter? Are there subcategories in the class of verb-initial languages? Is there one underlying property that can explain all of the other correlated properties?

Explaining Null Subjects

Barbosa (2011) argued for four different kinds of null subject languages, and even non-null subject languages allow null subjects in certain registers and syntactic contexts, like non-finite clauses. Researchers typically focus only on one class of null subject at a time. Is there a way to unite the different ways null subjects are licensed cross-linguistically?

Papers and Handouts

 

K'iche' y las Lenguas Verbo-Inicial [K'iche' and Verb-Initial Languages]

2019. Lingüística Maya: Énfasis en el K’iche’. [Mayan Linguistics: Emphasis on K’iche’]. Universidad Mariano Galvez, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. 

Two Directions for Change: Case Studies in the Loss of Null Subjects.

2019. Diachronic Generative Syntax (DiGS). Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. June 7.

How to Organize Parameters: Accounting for Alternations in EPP Type.

2019. Parameters Workshop in Honour of Lisa Travis. McGill University, Montreal. May 17.

Anchors, Indices, and the EPP

2019. Person and Perspective: A workshop honoring the work of María Luisa Zubizarreta. University of Southern California, Los Angeles. May 4.

A 3D Typology of the EPP

2018. Linguistics Brown Bag Speaker Series. University of Toronto at Mississauga. November 26. 

Same EPP, Different Null Subject Type.

2018. (with Çağrı Bilgin). Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages 48. York University, Toronto. April 28.

The Anchoring Domain and the EPP.

2018. Poster. GLOW 41 in Budapest. Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. April 11.

Predicate-Raising Languages.

2018. Workshop: Predication in relation to propositions and properties. Syntax Workshop at GLOW 41 in Budapest. Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. April 10.

Spanish Stress and Lexical Accent Across Syntactic Categories.

2017. Probus 29 (2): 233-285.

Predicate-Sensitive EPP.

2017. In Andrew Alexander Monti, ed. Proceedings of the 2017 annual conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association. Best Student Paper Award.

Spanish Morphemes at the Interface: How Syntactic Position Affects Prosody.

2015. Societas Linguistica Europaea, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, Leiden. September 2.

Dimensions of Variation of the EPP.

2014. In Laura Teddiman, ed. Proceedings of the 2014 annual conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association.

A Typology of EPP-Checking Mechanisms.

2013. Proceedings from the First Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton (MOTH) Workshop in Syntax. McGill Working Papers in Linguistics 23(1).

Teaching

 

Syntactic Patterns

Summer 2016, Summer 2018

Language Diversity and Language Universals

Summer 2017, Summer 2018

K'iche' y las Lenguas Verbo-Inicial [K'iche' and Verb-Initial Languages]

2019. Lingüística Maya: Énfasis en el K’iche’. [Mayan Linguistics: Emphasis on K’iche’]. Universidad Mariano Galvez, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. 

Two Directions for Change: Case Studies in the Loss of Null Subjects.

2019. Diachronic Generative Syntax (DiGS). Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. June 7.

How to Organize Parameters: Accounting for Alternations in EPP Type.

2019. Parameters Workshop in Honour of Lisa Travis. McGill University, Montreal. May 17.

Anchors, Indices, and the EPP

2019. Person and Perspective: A workshop honoring the work of María Luisa Zubizarreta. University of Southern California, Los Angeles. May 4.

A 3D Typology of the EPP

2018. Linguistics Brown Bag Speaker Series. University of Toronto at Mississauga. November 26. 

Same EPP, Different Null Subject Type.

2018. (with Çağrı Bilgin). Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages 48. York University, Toronto. April 28.

The Anchoring Domain and the EPP.

2018. Poster. GLOW 41 in Budapest. Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. April 11.

Predicate-Raising Languages.

2018. Workshop: Predication in relation to propositions and properties. Syntax Workshop at GLOW 41 in Budapest. Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. April 10.

Spanish Stress and Lexical Accent Across Syntactic Categories.

2017. Probus 29 (2): 233-285.

Predicate-Sensitive EPP.

2017. In Andrew Alexander Monti, ed. Proceedings of the 2017 annual conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association. Best Student Paper Award.

Spanish Morphemes at the Interface: How Syntactic Position Affects Prosody.

2015. Societas Linguistica Europaea, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, Leiden. September 2.

Dimensions of Variation of the EPP.

2014. In Laura Teddiman, ed. Proceedings of the 2014 annual conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association.

A Typology of EPP-Checking Mechanisms.

2013. Proceedings from the First Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton (MOTH) Workshop in Syntax. McGill Working Papers in Linguistics 23(1).

 
Word to the Whys

Word to the Whys is a podcast created by TILCoP Canada (Teaching Intro Linguistics Community of Practice) as a companion to introductory linguistics courses. Check it out through the link below!

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Running Athletic Women

"...while to be able to run is never the same thing as to run or to be able to write a letter is by no means the same as to write it, it seems to be the case that, in some sense, to be able to know is to know, to be able to love is to love, and to be able to see is to see."

Zeno Vendler, "Verbs and Times," 1957