June 26 & 27, Susanne Flach (Neuchâtel) visited our research group. She gave a talk on “We must be born with it … maybe … are we?” A case study in morphological constraint acquisition in the Oberseminar meeting June 26. She discussed data on the go-V constrution as in Go get the nurse!. This construction has puzzled researchers because it cannot occur with verb forms distinct from the base form, i.e. we do not have *He goes gets/get the newspaper, *She went see/saw the doctor.
Based on corpus evidence, Susanne argued for the construction-status of the go-V combination, where the construction has a particular pragmatic effect (or a hortative) and a particular formal restriction (base form of the verbs). Evidence from L1 data suggests that children initially have no adult-like understanding of the construction; working out its properties is a lengthy process that spans the time of reaching morphological maturity more generally.
June 27, Susanne presented the corpus infrastructure cpq@fu that she has developped for Freie Universität Berlin. This infrastructure makes available a rich collection of corpora through a uniform interface. Susanne has produced an online tutorial and additional material to enable students to work with the corpora.