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AndrewI am Associate Professor (førsteamanuensis) of Modern English Language and Linguistics in the Department of Language and Literature of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim.

I specialize in generative syntax with a secondary focus on semantics. My work particularly focuses on the syntax and semantics of ellipsis (especially clausal ellipsis), dialect and register variation (particularly syntactic and semantic features of dialects of English, especially Scottish English, and of ‘reduced written register’ such as diaries, text messages, headlines etc.), and cartographic approaches to syntax.

I am a member of the AcqVA (Acquisition, Variation, and Attrition) research group, a joint project between NTNU and UiT the Arctic University of Norway (Tromsø).

Recent happenings

  • Off to NELS 48 in Reykjavik soon to present work on restitutive again (link to PDF of poster). I argue (contra e.g. von Stechow 1995, 1996) that lexical decomposition is not required to handle restitutive readings of again in sentences like The car broke but then I fixed it again, if we exploit the power of Function Composition at the lexical level.
  • New squib submitted on reduced unconditionals (He’ll read anything, no matter how boring (the prose)). These are (I argue), not sluicing, as they might appear to be, but rather a surprising corner of English where (little) pro can be found: …no matter how boring pro BE. (Link to Lingbuzz version, current as of August 2017.)
  • A Schrift to Fest Kyle Johnson (my doctoral advisor at UMass Amherst), has just appeared. I contributed a paper entitled But write what?, about the apparent alleviation of restrictions on ‘massive pied-piping’ under sluicing.
  • Proceedings papers for NELS 47 (links to preprints):
    • Sentential and possibly subsentential modification: the ambiguity of Collins conjunctions‘, joint work with Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten at the University of Gothenburg.
      We argue that sentences like John ate a doughnut and possibly a slice of pizza have a previously unnoticed ambiguity in their parses: they can either result from a ‘conjunction reduction’-style parse (John ate a doughnut and possibly John ate a slice of pizza), or from modification of a transparent free relative-like structure (roughly, John ate a doughnut and something that is possibly a slice of pizza, based on previous work by Bogal-Allbritten).
    • DP-be-CP constructions and the licensing of clausal ellipsis‘, in which I investigate constructions like Who should teach the class?—My suggestion is John.
      I argue that these are elliptical structures (i.e. My suggestion is that John should teach the class, and that these shed light on the syntactic licensing conditions on embedded clausal ellipsis structures more generally.
  • My proceedings paper for Sinn und Bedeutung 21, ‘Cointensional questions and their implications for fragment answers‘, has just appeared as a pre-print. I discuss certain unacceptable ‘mismatches’ in fragment answers, such as How many steaks have you cooked?—*Never (even though I have never cooked steak is OK). I suggest (building on work by Manfred Krifka) that the unacceptability of such mismatches argues for a more fine-grained semantic condition on clausal ellipsis than mutual entailment at the propositional level (as in Merchant’s e-givenness and my previous work), requiring comparison of focus background structures (understood as lambda-abstractions over the focused element).

Contact

Email: andrew dot weir at ntnu dot no

Correspondence address:
Institutt for språk og litteratur
NTNU
7491 Trondheim
Norway