Chris Collins

Chris Collins
New York University | NYU · Department of Linguistics

Ph.D

About

57
Publications
19,475
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Introduction
I am professor of linguistics at New York University. I specialize in syntax and African languages. This year, I am in Botswana working on Sasi and Kua.
Additional affiliations
September 2011 - July 2012
University of Botswana
Position
  • Researcher
August 2011 - July 2012
University of Botswana
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • I taught courses UB and did research on the Khoisan languages.
August 1993 - May 2005
Cornell University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Education
September 1988 - May 1993
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Field of study
  • Linguistics

Publications

Publications (57)
Article
Across dialects, Spanish uses the third person forms usted and ustedes to refer to the addressee. In this squib, we propose an imposter analysis of these forms in the framework of Collins and Postal (2012. Imposters. MIT Press, Cambridge.).
Article
Across dialects, Spanish uses the third person forms usted and ustedes to refer to the addressee. In this squib, we propose an imposter analysis of these forms in the framework of Collins and Postal (2012. Imposters. MIT Press, Cambridge.).
Chapter
This chapter proposes a smuggling approach to the dative alternation. On the basis of traditional c-command tests, it is argued that the prepositional dative example in (ii) is derived from the structure underlying the double object construction in (i). i. John gave Mary the car (Double Object Construction). ii. John gave the car to Mary (Prepositi...
Chapter
The introduction outlines the scope of the volume and defines smuggling as involving two steps (Step A is a pied-piping, and Step B is extraction). It is pointed out that in terms of the order of the steps involved, smuggling is the reverse of remnant movement. The possible range of smuggling operations is discussed, including a case of smuggling i...
Article
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"This paper proposes an analysis in which passive by-phrases are merged as the arguments of the active with the corresponding theta roles (Hasegawa 1988; D’Hulst 1992; Mahajan 1994; Goodall 1997; 1999; Caha 2009; Collins 2018a; Roberts 2019; Karlík 2020 and Hallman 2020). The analysis finds support in new data from Greek and English showing that, j...
Article
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This paper discusses two ways of negating DP quantifier phrases. In one way, NEG modifies the quantifier D directly with the structure [[NEG D] NP] (inner negation). In the other way, NEG modifies the whole DP with the structure [NEG DP] (outer negation). I give evidence based on negative polarity items that negated universal quantifier phrases lik...
Article
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This article presents a novel analysis of Negative Auxiliary Inversion (NAI) constructions such as didn't many people eat , in which a negated auxiliary appears in pre-subject position. NAI, found in varieties including Appalachian, African American, and West Texas English, has a word order identical to a yes/no question, but is pronounced and inte...
Article
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I argue that there is a grammatical (non-semantic) constraint in English that prohibits double negation, dubbed *NEG NEG. I adduce a range of structures to illustrate this constraint, and show that apparent counter-examples are not double negation.
Article
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In this paper we consider two analyses of NEG raising phenomena: a syntactic approach based on raising NEG, as recently advocated in Collins & Postal 2014, and a semantic/pragmatic approach based on the Excluded Middle Assumption; see Bartsch 1973. We show that neither approach alone is sufficient to account for all the relevant phenomena. Although...
Article
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In this paper I argue that in certain cases quantifier domain restriction is due to a process of syntactic ellipsis. I give evidence for this analysis from inverse scope phenomena. I respond to Stanley and Szabó’s arguments against a syntactic ellipsis approach. Furthermore, I show how their own semantic proposal fails to capture the inverse scope...
Article
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In this paper, we show that the syntactic analysis of one major type of NEG raising in Collins & Postal (2014) is inconsistent with the facts of negation scope revealed by Klima (1964) type tests for sentential negation. Two of the four original Klima tests plus three additional ones are discussed. We propose a novel alternative syntactic analysis,...
Article
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I document a scope freezing effect found with negated quantifier phrases (distinct from the scope freezing effect discussed in Collins (Nat Lang Semant 24: 291–303, 2016a)). In a sentence with a negated quantifier phrase of the form [NEG DP1], no quantifier phrase DP2 can take scope between NEG and DP1. I show how this scope freezing effect can be...
Article
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Collins and Postal (2014) postulate that English NPIs represent two distinct structures: A unary NEG structure and a binary NEG structure. Some NPIs, such as any and ever expressions, can instantiate either of these two structures in different contexts. Others (such as one use of jackshit) have only unary NEG structures. The present article seeks t...
Article
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Collins & Postal (2014) argue that English NPIs have two distinct syntactic structures: a unary NEG structure and a binary NEG structure. They suggest that this distinction is generally valid for natural languages. This formal difference was taken to reconstruct the common distinction in NPI studies between strong and weak NPIs. The present analysi...
Chapter
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This paper explores the history, properties and implications of the syntactic operation Merge(X,Y) = {X,Y}.
Article
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This paper proposes an analysis of the semantics of even that is consistent with the assumptions about the syntax and semantics of negation in Collins and Postal (Classical NEG raising, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2014). First, I review the distribution of negation, showing how negation may modify quantificational expressions where it gives rise to scope...
Article
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The goal of this paper is to give a precise, formal account of certain fundamental notions in minimalist syntax, including Merge, Select, Transfer, occurrences, workspace, labels, and convergence. We would like this formalization to be useful to minimalist syntacticians in formulating new proposals and evaluating their own proposals, both conceptua...
Chapter
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The goal of this paper is to investigate the ambiguity of sentences like (1): (1) At the party, I saw three boys who I know and one girl. On one interpretation, I propose (1) has the following structure: (2) At the party, I saw three boys who I know and one girl The angled brackets <…> indicate that the enclosed string is present syntactically...
Article
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This paper looks at the syntax of so-called gapless relative clauses in spoken English. §1 contrasts gap relatives (like that italicised in ‘something which I said’, in which there is a gap internally within the relative clause associated with the relativised constituent) with gapless relatives (like that italicised in ‘They were clowning around, w...
Book
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The volume is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Noam Chomsky's groundbreaking Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.
Article
In this book, Chris Collins and Paul Postal consider examples such the one below on the interpretation where Nancy thinks that this course is not interesting: Nancy doesn’t think this course is interesting.They argue such examples instantiate a kind of syntactic raising that they term Classical NEG Raising. This involves the raising of a NEG (negat...
Article
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A study of pronominal agreement with imposters, third person DPs (this reporter, yours truly, my lord, Madam) that denote the speaker or addressee. © 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.
Article
Contains table of contents for Section 4, an introduction and abstracts for five doctoral dissertations.
Article
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The linker in N|uu appears before various types of nominal expressions, but not before the second object in a double object construction. Linkers in Khoisan language such as ǂHoan and Ju|ʼoansi do appear in this position. I will show that this property of the linker in N|uu is related to the fact that N|uu has a dative Case marker -a which appears...
Article
This paper describes the consonant inventory of the endangered southern African language Nuu. Our novel approach to segment classification accounts for all 73 Nuu consonants with just four phonetic dimensions (place, manner, phonation, airstream) and does away with the phonetically empty category click accompaniment. We provide ultrasound data show...
Chapter
This chapter begins with a brief discussion of the general perspective in the linguistic community on language universals. It then presents an overview of the subsequent chapters in this book. This is followed by a discussion of the importance of interdisciplinary research and a multidisciplinary approach towards understanding language universals....
Book
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Languages differ from one another in bewildering and seemingly arbitrary ways. For example, in English, the verb precedes the direct object ('understand the proof'), but in Japanese, the direct object comes first. In some languages, such as Mohawk, it is not even possible to establish a basic word order. Nonetheless, languages do share certain regu...
Article
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Spears 1998 discusses a use of the word ass in African American English (AAE) in sentences like They done arrested her stupid ass and I'm gonna sue her ass. We refer to DPs like her stupid ass generically as the ACC (ass CAMOUFLAGE CONSTRUCTION), and we view the ACC as an instance of a universal grammatical phenomenon we call CAMOUFLAGE. The ACC is...
Chapter
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Basic properties of X-TheorySelectionThe Minimal Link ConditionLabels at the PF interfaceConclusion
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This paper will attempt to explain the following asymmetry between the over realization of "to" and the overt realization of "at" with the word "home": a. I went (*to) home. b. I did my homework *(at) home. c. I stayed (at) home.
Article
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In a variety of languages a particle, which we call the linker, appears between the direct object and a secondary object or nominal adpositional phrase. We compare the syntax of this linker particle in Kinande (Niger-Congo) to its syntax in two Khoisan languages, Ju|’hoansi and # Hoan. We propose an account of the properties that linkers in these l...
Article
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  I propose a theory of the passive that combines aspects of the principles and parameters analysis (no specific rules, no downward movement) and Chomsky's (1957) Syntactic Structures analysis (the arguments in the passive are generated in the same positions as they are in the active).
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In this article, I analyze ki (‡Hoan) and ko (Ju|'hoansi) as heading vP internal functional projections dominating VP and dominated by vP. I show how this analysis provides a natural account for the various possible and impossible word orders in constructions involving locative and instrumental phrases. Lastly, I discuss the general implications of...
Article
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I argue that verbal compounds in ≠ Hoan are derived from underlying structures similar to serial verb constructions. I show that the derivation crucially involves multiple verb movement, which is subject to the same kinds of locality constraints as other types of multiple movement. I show how the multiple verb movement analysis applies to a range o...
Article
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ASPECTS OF PLURALITY IN HV33527HOAN CHRIS COLLINS Cornell University In HV33527Hoan, nouns and verbs can be pluralized.This article investigates various syntactic and semantic aspects of plurality in HV33527Hoan: first, the formation of plurals of inalienable nouns, then, how the plurals of verbs (termed PLURACTIONAL VERBS) are formed in much the s...
Chapter
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An important theme in recent generative grammar is that linguistic opera-tions, derivations, and representations are subject to economy conditions which guarantee that they are optimal in some sense (see Chomsky 1998b). Consider an operation OP applying in a derivation D leading to the repres-entations (PF, LF) (phonetic form and logical form). Eco...
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This paper examines a number of standard extraction tests which are applied to conditionals to determine their syntactic structure. The conclusion is that in conditionals where the protasis and the apodasis are 'linked' by the word then there exists an extra barrier to movement. I will speculate on the source of the extra barrier at the end of the...
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The main objective of this chapter is to eliminate Theta-role assignment as an independent theoretic module determining correspondence between arguments in a syntactic structure and thematic roles in a structure apart from syntax, for exam­ple, in a Theta-grid (Stowell 1981), independent ""argument structure"" (Williams 1984), or autonomous concept...
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Sentences in which a direct speech complement to a verb of saying is preposed or postposed can trigger inversion of the subject and the finite verb. This structure is analysed in a minimalist framework, leading to a revision of the minimalist theory of locality constraints on movement. Evidence is presented to show that the subject remains in Spec-...
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We show that if Chomsky's (1993) locality theory is adopted, then it is necessary to postulate VP-internal functional projections in order to account for object shift in double object constructions in Icelandic. We account for these functional projections by analyzing ditransitive verbs as causative constructions, where a causative "light verb" tak...
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy, 1993. Includes bibliographical references (p. 195-197). Photocopy.
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In this paper I will give an analysis of structures involving "why" and "how come". In section two, I will present an analysis of "why" and "how come". In section three, I will show how a wide range of syntactic facts follows from this analysis. In section four, I will show how a number of facts about quantifier interpretation follow from this anal...

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Projects

Projects (8)
Project
Studies in argument structure.
Project
To explore ellipsis in English.
Project
Descriptive and theoretical work in the Khoisan languages.