The Circle is a weekly forum dedicated to discussion of the descriptive, experimental, and theoretical study of syntax and semantics, featuring presentations of ongoing research by members of the Berkeley Linguistics Department and other departments, as well as discussion of previously published works.


Fridays, 3:00-4:30pm


1303 Dwinelle Hall


Virginia Dawson

Erik Hans Maier


University of California, Berkeley
Department of Linguistics


29 september
WECOL practice talks


6 october
WECOL practice talks

13 october
NELS practice talks

20 october
Stefan Keine (USC)
Topic TBA

27 october

3 november

10 november
No Meeting (Veterans Day)

17 november
Nicholas Rolle (Berkeley)

Topic TBA

24 november
No Meeting (Thanksgiving)

1 december
Linguistics 221 Project Presentations

8 december
No Meeting (RRR Week)

15 december
No Meeting (Finals Week)


22 september
Bernat Bardagil-Mas (Groningen)
Verbal inflection and clause type

In this talk, I examine and discuss novel data concerning verbal morphology in Panará. Previously believed to inflect for aspect (Dourado 2001), Panará verbs present an inflectional paradigm that appears to be sensitive to both clause type and mood. First, I show that none of the verbal inflectional forms correspond to a nominal form of the verb. I also provide supporting evidence for clause type agreement in Panará. Finally, I argue that there is no case-marking alignment split in the system of pronominal clitics. I also discuss the diachrony of such a system in an otherwise solidly accusative language family, with ergativity constrained to nominal environments.

15 september
No Meeting

8 september
Line Mikkelsen (Berkeley) and Vera Gribanova (Stanford)
Danish VP ellipsis revisited

In this talk, we show that Danish verb phrase ellipsis is transparent for wh-movement and A-movement, but not head movement. Even though finite main verbs demonstrably move outside of the verb phrase in non-elliptical root clauses, a finite main verb cannot escape VP ellipsis. We provide an explanation of this fact, bringing together recent work by Lobke Aelbrect and Craig Sailor on the licensing of ellipsis with the understanding of head movement developed by Boris Harizanov and Vera Gribanova (2017).


Aelbrecht, Lobke (2010) The syntactic licensing of ellipsis. Amsterdam/New York: Benjamins.

Harizanov, Boris and Vera Gribanova (2017) Whither Head Movement? Submitted.

Sailor, Craig (to appear) The Typology of Head Movement and Ellipsis. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory.

1 september
Round Robin

Summer ends and the Round Robin returns! All are welcome to present data, questions, or ideas related to syntax and semantics for discussion and feedback. According to hallowed tradition, names of those who want to present will be drawn from a hat and presenters will have up to 5 minutes to discuss their topic.

25 august
No Meeting