Department of Linguistics University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Publications From Our Department

Publications From Our Department

UIUC's Professor Benmamoun co-authors The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Linguistics

Published: Tue, 16 Jan 2018

UIUC's Elabbas Benmamoun has recently co-edited a compendium of chapters by a variety of linguists relating to the topic of Arabic Linguistics and its component sub-disciplines. 


Of the work, Routledge says this:

The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Linguistics introduces readers to the major facets of research on Arabic and of the linguistic situation in the Arabic-speaking world.

The edited collection includes chapters from prominent experts on various fields of Arabic linguistics. The contributors provide overviews of the state of the art in their field and specifically focus on ideas and issues. Not simply an overview of the field, this handbook explores subjects in great depth and from multiple perspectives.

In addition to the traditional areas of Arabic linguistics, the handbook covers computational approaches to Arabic, Arabic in the diaspora, neurolinguistic approaches to Arabic, and Arabic as a global language.

The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Linguistics is a much-needed resource for researchers on Arabic and comparative linguistics, syntax, morphology, computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and applied linguistics, and also for undergraduate and graduate students studying Arabic or linguistics.



MacDonald, J.E. 2017. An Implicit Projected Argument in Spanish Impersonal- and Passive-Se Constructions. Syntax 20.4:353-383.

Published: Fri, 03 Nov 2017


An Implicit Projected Argument in Spanish Impersonal- and Passive-Se Constructions - MacDonald - 2017 - Syntax - Wiley Online Library

This article argues for the presence of an implicit projected argument in Spec,Voice in Spanish impersonal- and passive-se constructions. The main empirical support comes from an available inalienable-possession interpretation of the sole overt DP when it is a body part in both constructions. This interpretation is only possible in the presence of a syntactically present c-commanding possessor. I argue that the implicit projected external argument serves as the inalienable possessor of the body part. Neither the periphrastic passive nor the anticausative-se construction in Spanish allows an inalienable-possession interpretation of the sole overt DP when it is a body part. In these instances, I claim, no implicit argument projects in Spec,Voice. I discuss how the presence of a projected argument in Spec,Voice is responsible for by-phrase restrictions in impersonal- and passive-se constructions and person restrictions in passive-se constructions; the lack of a projected implicit argument in Spec,Voice of both the periphrastic passive and the anticausative-se construction is responsible for the lack of the person restrictions in both, and the lack of by-phrase restrictions in the periphrastic passive.



Codruta Garlea and Roxana Girju. Decoding Decoding the Perception of Sincerity in Written Dialogues. In the Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, Oct. 2017

Published: Mon, 23 Oct 2017

Understanding how people perceive sincerity is important in identifying malevolent deceptive behavior in social media. This is a difficult problem because the only signal in most such cases is written text, and the larger proportion of human communication is non-verbal. Furthermore, perception is very subjective, and people adapt to each other’s perceptions. We define the problem of decoding sincerity perception for two domains, dating and online games. We introduce and evaluate new psycholinguistic features of perceived sincerity. Our results shed light into the connection between language, deception, and perception, and underline the challenges and difficulty of assessing perceptions from written text.

Macdonald, J.E. 2017. Spanish aspectual se as an indirect object reflexive: The import of atelicity, bare nouns, and leĆ­sta PCC repairs

Published: Tue, 19 Sep 2017

This article discusses four properties of Spanish aspectual se constructions. 1. The telicity inducing effects of se; 2. The ungrammaticality of bare noun direct objects; 3. Leísta Spanish Person Case Constraint (PCC) repairs; and 4. A central/terminal coincidence relation between the direct object and the subject. I show that aspectual se does not induce telicity with stative VPs.


The ungrammaticality of bare noun direct objects results from the direct object functioning as an ‘inner subject’ of a complex predicate formed by the verb and a null preposition, the complement of which is a pro coreferential with the external argument. The semantics of the null P plus verb give rise to a central/terminal coincidence relation between the direct object and the complement of P. Moreover, I argue that the null pro moves to Spec, Appl and functions as an indirect object. In this respect, aspectual se is an indirect object reflexive. The resulting structure, moreover, is fundamentally a double object construction, a construction in which PCC effects are known to hold.

Keywords: aspectual setelicitybare nounsPCCleísta Spanish

Yoon, J. H. S. (2017). Lexical integrity and suspended affixation in two types of denominal predicates in Korean. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics,

Published: Thu, 11 May 2017

Central to the debate on the demarcation of morphology and syntax is the position staked out by the Lexicalist Hypothesis, which holds that morphology and syntax are distinct systems which interface with each other in a particular way. Proponents of the Lexicalist Hypothesis point to a suite of diagnostics collectively known as lexical integrity tests (Bresnan and Mchombo 1995) as evidence pointing to the fundamental difference between morphology and syntax. The tests revolve around the apparent failure of principles of phrasal syntax at the threshold of words. If morphology and syntax constitute a unified rule system, as assumed in current approaches such as Distributed Morphology, such failure is not predicted. It is surprising therefore that lexical integrity has not played a significant role in arguments for Distributed Morphology (Lieber and Scalise 2007). The purpose of this paper is to introduce two types of denominal predicates in Korean, which are distinguished by the fact that lexical integrity is observed in one but not the other type. I explore how the behaviors of the two classes of denominal predicates can be modeled using the theoretical and empirical machinery of current DM, in particular, the distinction between roots and words. While this is a welcome result, it turns out that DM predicts that more languages should behave like Korean in allowing massive violations of lexical integrity. I provide an analysis of the differences between languages like Korean that allow selective access of word-internal structure by syntactic principles and languages like English where such access is prohibited by focusing on the mechanics of Vocabulary Insertion and complex head formation. The paper concludes with the implications of the analysis of the two types of predicates in Korean for both lexicalist and DM architectures of morphology and syntax interaction.


Yoon, J. H. S. (2017). Lexical integrity and suspended affixation in two types of denominal predicates in Korean. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 2(1), 45. DOI: