Project on the morpho-syntax and semantics of
Headless Relative Clauses in Mesoamerican languages
2017-2018
 
 


INTRODUCTION


Headless relative clauses (e.g., the bracketed string in Luca ate [what Adam prepared]) have received much less attention in the linguistics literature than related constructions like headed relative clauses and wh-interrogative clauses, despite the many morpho-syntactic and semantic puzzles they raise within a language, across languages, and for our understanding of human language in general. Headless relative clauses have been even more neglected in the study of Mesoamerican languages, although preliminary and isolated investigations have shown that they are present and very productive.

With this project, we want to pursue the broadest and most articulated cross-linguistic study of headless relative clauses that has been conducted so far and the first systematic study of the morpho-syntactic and semantic properties of headless relative clauses across more than 20 Mesoamerican languages from different language families by a team of more than 20 graduate students and scholars from Mexico, the US, Canada and France.

By providing a general methodology to systematically collect and analyze data about headless relative clauses across languages, we want to raise the awareness and knowledge about headless relative clauses in Mesoamerican languages and, more broadly, about those Mesoamerican languages in general. Our main findings will appear in an edited volume in English by a main academic publisher. This will ensure academic visibility to Mexican students and scholars in the English-speaking world and high-standards in academic and publishing quality.

The project is supported by grants from UC MEXUS-CONACYT, UC San Diego Social Sciences, and UCLA Academic Senate.


STRUCTURE and TIMELINE


1. WORKSHOP 1: setting up the research framework (November 27 - December 1, 2017)

The participants meet at CIESAS, Chiapas for one week to review and discuss the main features of headless relative clauses and related constructions (headed relative clauses and interrogative clauses), the details concerning the data collection (including tests and methodologies), the type and level of analysis, and the structure of forthcoming papers.

2. Data gathering and paper drafts (December 2017 - May 7, 2018)

  • The participants use these 6 months to collect and analyze data on the varieties of headless relative clauses in the languages they work on.
  • During these months, each participants is encouraged to contact the PIs (Caponigro, Torrence, and Zavala; see contact info below) to ask questions, raise issues, or make suggestions. The PIs may share their replies and feedback with all the participants via email or on the project webpage.
  • The participants are expected to submit the following drafts in Spanish or English (choose the language you prefer freely) to Ivano by email:

i) Preliminary paper draft (by March 31, 2018). The preliminary paper draft may have incomplete sections or data sets. It will not be posted or shared with all the participants. The PIs may provide feedback about the submitted drafts.

ii) Full paper draft (by May 7, 2018). The full paper draft contains all the required sections and all (or almost all) the relevant data and descriptions. It will be posted password protected on this webpage to be shared with all the participants. Feedback will be provided at Workshop 2.

  • PAPER TEMPLATE. The participants are asked to follow the same paper template in preparing all the papert drafs. The template is available as a Google document [here]. Participants can view it and leave comment for everyone. In order to change it, participants should contact Ivano, Harold, or Roberto so that we can discuss it all together first.

3. WORKSHOP 2: focused presentations and feedback (May 28 - June 1, 2018)
Each participants prepares a handout and gives a presentation focusing on the main findings and open issues in order to get as much feedback from the other participants as possible. The discussion time for each presentation will be as long as the presentation itself.

4. Revised paper (by July 1, 2018)
A revised version of the paper is submitted -- in Spanish or English -- that incorporates the feedback from Workshop 2.

5. Paper selection and editing (by September 1, 2018).

  • The editorial team selects:

    (i) the papers for the peer-reviewed volume in English with a major publisher
    (ii) the papers for a peer-reviewed issue (in English and/or Spanish) of the UCLA Working Papers

  • The papers selected for (i) (the volume with a major publisher) will be edited and proof-read by the editorial team. Participants can submit their papers in English or Spanish. If in Spanish, they will be translated by the editorial team; if in English, they will be proof-read by the editorial team.
  • If participants want to practice their English, they should write the papers in English. The editorial team will proof-read and correct it, and share the corrections with the authors.

6. Paper Review (August-October, 2018)
The papers are sent out for review. Reviews will be shared with the authors.

7. Final Paper (by December 15, 2018)
The authors submit the final version of their papers for publication.


PARTICIPANTS and LANGUAGES


The three principal investigators of this projects are (click on their names to open their webpages and find their contact info):

The principal investigators are joined by the three international scholars of Mesoamerican languages in leading the workshops and provide feedback to individual students on their projects (click on their names to open their webpages):

Below is the list of the project participants arranged by language group:

Uto-Aztecan

  • Tepehuan: Gabriela Salido, faculty (UNAM)
  • Tlaxcala Nahuatl: Lucero Flores, graduate student (CIESAS)
  • Texcoco Nahuatl: Valentin Peralta, faculty (ENAH)

Otomanguean

  • Mazahua: Antonio Victoria Sebastían, graduate student (CIESAS)
  • Otomi: Néstor Hernández-Green, faculty (UNAM)
  • Otomian: Enrique Palancar, faculty (CNRS)
  • Northern Zapotec: Óscar López Nicolás, faculty (CIESAS)
  • Southern Zapotec: Pafnuncio Antonio Ramos, postdoc (UC Santa Barbara)
  • Matlatzinca: Leonardo Carranza, independent scholar
  • Me'phaa: Philip Duncan, faculty (University of Kansas)

Mayan

  • Tojolab'al: José Gómez Cruz, graduate student (CIESAS)
  • K'ichee: Telma Can, faculty (UNAM)
  • Chuj: Jessica Coon, faculty (McGill)
  • Chol: Juan Jesús Vázquez Alvarez, faculty (UNICH) and Jessica Coon, faculty (McGill)
  • Tsotsil: Judith Aissen, faculty (UC Santa Cruz)
  • Yucatec: Scott AnderBois, faculty (Brown) and Miguel Oscar Chan Dzul
  • Tseltal: Gilles Polian, faculty (CIESAS)

Mixe-Zoquean

  • Zoque de San Miguel Chimalapa: Silviano Jiménez, graduate student (CIESAS)
  • Zoque de Ocotepec: Román De La Cruz, graduate student (CIESAS)
  • Mixe de Tamazulápam: Godofredo Santiago, faculty (SEP-OAXACA)
  • Popoluca de la Sierra (Soteapaneco): Wendy Liz Arbey López Marquez, graduate student (CIESAS)
  • Jitotoltec and Olutec: Roberto Zavala, faculty (CIESAS)

Totonacan

  • Sierra Totonac: Adela Juárez Esteban, graduate student (CIESAS)


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WORKSHOP 2: Focused presentations
May 28 - June 1, 2018
 

WHAT: Each participants prepares a handout and gives a presentation focusing on the main findings and open issues in order to get as much feedback from the other participants as possible. The discussion time for each presentation will be as long as the presentation itself.

WHEN: May 28 - June 1, 2018

WHERE: CIESAS Sureste, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

WHO: Judith Aissen, Scott AnderBois, Ivano Caponigro, Jessica Coon, Harold Torrence, Roberto Zavala, and all the other participants (see list above)

More details to be announced

 

 

 
 

WORKSHOP 1: Setting up the stage
November 27 - December 1, 2017

 

WHAT: This workshop reviews and discusses the main features of headless relative clauses and related constructions (headed relative clauses and interrogative clauses); it provides details concerning the data collection (including tests and methodologies), the type and level of analysis, and the structure of forthcoming papers.

HOW:

Each meeting is divided into three or four parts with breaks in between. Workshop participants are strongly encouraged to ask questions and make suggestions in any of these parts at any time.

Paper Section Overviews:

  • We called some of the parts Sections (in bold and red in the schedule below)
  • Sections are overviews of the main topics about headless relatives and related constructions that each forthcoming paper should touch on.
  • The labels and order of these Sections coincide with the expected structure of the forthcoming papers.
  • The Sections will be conducted by one of the 6 instructors listed below.
  • Some of you may already be familiar with some of the covered topics, if you have attended previous related workshops. Use this opportunity to refresh your memories and help those who are not familiar with the topics to better understand them.

Tutorials:

  • Three parts are tutorials focusing on topics that are relevant to better develop the investigations for our project, although these topics will not appear as independent sections in the forthcoming papers.
Participants' presentations:
  • Four parts are dedicated to participants' presentations.
  • Participants are encouraged to apply the topics that have already been reviewed and discussed in the workshop based on whatever relevant data they already have available.
  • Presentations should be supported by handouts or slides
  • Presenters can use Spanish or English for their presentation and/or handouts or slides.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to present and will be given precedence.
Individual meetings
  • Workshop participants are encouraged to discuss specific issues with individual instructors during the breaks or at the end of each day or during the "individual meeting time" on Friday afternoon

Readings

  • Readings have been selected to directly support the topics under discussion.
  • We recommend the participants to do the readings ahead.
  • Questions, comments, and criticism about the readings are strongly encouraged during the workshop.
  • The readings marked with a * require an ID and a password to be accessed. Email Ivano [click here] if you have not received the necessary ID and password.

WHICH language: The instructors will lecture,write handouts, and interact in English or Spanish; participants who are comfortable enough with English are encouraged to use it to give presentation or write their handouts in English; those who feel less comfortable can use Spanish.

WHEN: November 27 - December 1, 9 am - 5 pm

WHERE: CIESAS Sureste, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

WHO (instructors): Judith Aissen, Scott AnderBois, Ivano Caponigro, Jessica Coon, Harold Torrence, Roberto Zavala [see above for details and contact info for each of them]

 
 
DATES

TOPICS

  • structured like the paper template [pdf, Word] that participants are asked to follow
  • the headings in red coincide with sections of the paper template

READINGS & HANDOUTS

  • material preceded by * is protected; an ID and a password are required to access it
  • e-mail Ivano if you haven't received one [click here]
Monday
11/27
   
8:30-9 Breakfast  

Part 1:
9-10:30

Introduction
[by Roberto with Ivano and Harold]

  • Intro to the project:
    • goals and expectations
    • organization
    • timeline
  • Intro to project participants:
    • Each project participant will be asked to introduce themselves, the language(s) they are working on, and the specific (phono-morpho-syntactic-semantic-etc) interests they have
    • up to 3 mins for each participant
    • Presentations can be given in Spanish, if presenters are not comfortable enough with English
    • It would be great if each participant could summarize the main points of their intro on 1 page to send by email or give on paper to Harold and Ivano, so that Ivano and Harold can have a handy overview of the workshop participants, their competences, and their interests.
 
10:30-11 Coffee Break

 
Part 2:
11-1:30

Section 1. Language basic features
[by Jessica]

  • Basic word order
  • Noun Phrases and modifiers
  • Articles, demonstratives, and quantifiers
  • Argument-Verb agreement
  • Tense marking
  • Declarative clauses: main vs. embedded
  • Clausal nominalization

TWO EXAMPLES FROM ACTUAL PAPERS:

1:30-3 Lunch (provided)

 

Part 3:
3-5

Section 2. Overview on Interrogative Clauses
[by Judith]

  • wh-/constituent interrogatives vs. yes-no/polar interrogatives
  • full inventory of wh-words
  • matrix vs. embedded wh-interrogatives
  • multiple wh-interrogatives
  • wh-movement
Tuesday
11/28
   
8:30-9 Breakfast  

Part 1:
9-10:30

Section 3. Overview on Headed Relative Clauses
[by Harold]

  • Externally headed relatives
    • relative markers
    • preceding or following the head?
    • other morpho-syntactic properties
    • appositive vs. restrictive
  • Internally headed relatives
    • relative markers
    • other morpho-syntactic properties
  • Correlatives
    • position with respect to the matrix clause
    • markers
    • other morpho-syntactic properties
10:30-11 Coffee Break

 
Part 2:
11-12:30

TUTORIAL 1
[by Jessica]

  • How to distinguish between relative clauses and other nominal modifiers

OPTIONAL

Part 3:
12:30 -1:30

Participants' presentations 1:

  • Chivis: wh-interrogatives and headed relatives in Zoque de San Miguel Chimalapa
  • Lucero: wh-interrogatives and headed relatives in Tlaxcala Nahuatl

 
1:30-3 Lunch (provided)

 

Part 4:
3-5

Section 4. Introduction to Headless Relatives
[by Ivano]

  • Headless realtives with wh-words: Free Relatives (wh-words)
  • Light-headed relatives (D-elements)
  • Headless relatives without wh-words (no wh-words nor D-elements)

Section 4.1. Headless Relatives with wh-words: Free Relatives
[by Ivano]


4.1.1. Maximal Free Relatives (Max-FRs)
[by Ivano]

  • morpho-syntactic properties
  • semantic properties


Section 4

Section 4.1.

Section 4.1.1

OPTIONAL:

Wednesday
11/29
   
8:30-9 Breakfast  

Part 1:
9-10:30

Section 4.1. Headless Relatives with wh-words: Free Relatives (contd)

4.1.2. Existential Free Relatives (Ex-FRs)
[by Judith]

  • morpho-syntactic properties
  • semantic properties
  • matrix predicates introducing them

OPTIONAL:

10:30-11 Coffee Break

 
Part 2:
11-1:30

Section 4.1. Headless Relatives with wh-words: Free Relatives (contd)

4.1.3. Free Choice Free Relatives (FC-FRs)
[by Scott]

  • morpho-syntactic properties
  • semantic properties
  • position with respect to the matrix clause (within the matrix clause or as a dislocated free adjunct clause)

OPTIONAL:

1:30-3 Lunch (provided)

 

Part 3:
3-5

TUTORIAL 2
[by Scott]

  • How to distinguish between definites, indefinites, and free choice

OPTIONAL BACKGROUND READINGS:

Thursday
11/30
   
8:30-9 Breakfast  

Part 1:
9-10:15

Section 4.2. Light-Headed Relatives (LHRs)
[by Harold]

  • Introduced by articles
  • Introduced by demonstratives
  • Introduced by quantifiers

Section 4.3. Headless relatives without wh-words
[by Harold]


Section 4.2

10:15-10:45 Coffee Break

 
Part 2:
10:45-1:30

Participants' presentations 2:

  • 10:45-11:10: Paf
  • 11:10-11:35: Oscar
  • 11:35-12: Valentín

BREAK (12-12:15)

  • 12:15-12:40: Nestor
  • 12:40-12:05: Toño
  • 1:05-1:30:: Leonardo



 

1:30-3 Lunch (provided)

 

Part 3:
3-5

PAPER TEMPLATE: group discussion

We discuss the paper template together, section by section, in order to fully agree on its format and content in light of the discussion so far.

 
Friday
12/1
   
8:30-9 Breakfast  

Part 1:
9-10:30

Participants' presentations 3:

  • 9-9:25: J. Jesús
  • 9:50-10:15: Telma
  • 10:15-10:40: José


 
10:40-11 Coffee Break

 
Part 2:
11-1:30

Participants' presentations 4:

  • 11-11:25: G. Polian
  • 11:25-11:50: Adela
  • 11:50-12:15: Wendy

BREAK (12:15-12:30)

  • 12:30-12:55: Roman
  • 12:55-1:20: Chivis
 
1:30-3 Lunch (provided)

 

Part 3:
3-4:15

Participants' presentations 5:

  • 3-3:25: Godo
  • 3:25-3:50: Gaby
  • 3:50-4:15: Lucero

 

4:15-4:30

Conclusions:

  • Future plans [by Ivano, Harold, and Roberto]
  • Individual meetings


 
From 7 pm on FINAL PARTY at Roberto's  
     

 
 
 

(last update: 12/04/2017 )