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, 3:00-5:00pm


1303 Dwinelle Hall


Kenneth Baclawski

Virginia Dawson

Erik Hans Maier

previous semesters

spring 2015
fall 2014
spring 2014
fall 2013
spring 2013
fall 2012
spring 2012
fall 2011
spring 2011
fall 2010
spring 2010
fall 2009
spring 2009
fall 2008
spring 2008
fall 2007
spring 2007
fall 2006
spring 2006
fall 2005


University of California, Berkeley
Department of Linguistics


9 october
Kenneth Baclawski (UC Berkeley)
Erik Hans Maier (UC Berkeley)
Christine Sheil (UC Berkeley)
Practice Talks Triple Feature! Topics TBA


16 october
Peter Jenks (UC Berkeley)
Topic TBA

23 october
Gregory Scontras (Stanford)
Topic TBA

30 october
Andreas Walker (University of Konstanz; UC Santa Cruz)
Topic TBA

6 november
Jessica Cleary-Kemp (UC Berkeley)
Topic TBA

13 november
Jason Merchant (University of Chicago)
Roots, selection, and locality

20 november

27 november
No Meeting (Thanksgiving Break)

4 december
Boyoung Kim (UC Berkeley)
Topic TBA


2 october
Discussion of Ramchand's Verb Meaning and the Lexicon: A First-Phase Syntax

25 september

18 september
Eric Potsdam (University of Florida)
Analyses of Extraposition: The View from Madagascar

There is no shortage of analyses of extraposition—the placement of various clause-internal constituents in a right-peripheral position. The Austronesian language Malagasy (Madagascar) shows wide use of extraposition. Canonical word order is VOXS but most constituents can optionally extrapose to a position to the right of the subject, yielding VOSX word order. In this talk I survey existing analyses of extraposition and evaluate the Malagasy patterns against them: A' movement (Ross 1967, others), base generation (Rochemont & Culicover 1990), Stranding (Kayne 1994, Sheehan 2010), PF movement (Göbbel 2007), Ellipsis (de Vries 2009), and Processing Efficiency (Hawkins 2014). Because Malagasy is strongly head-initial and shows unusual VOS word order, it allows us to decide between a number of the proposals. Data from a wide range of phenomena support a traditional A' movement approach (as defended in Büring & Hartmann 1997 for German).

11 september

4 september
Round Robin:

Everyone who wants to can have up to 5-10 minutes to discuss any topic related to syntax or semantics, whether an idea, a question, a problem, a controversy, or an interesting theory. Names will be drawn from a hat, so the order of turns will be random. Share whatever's been on your mind!

28 august
No Meeting