May 242021
Artemis Alexiadou & Uli Sauerland have put forth a proposal recently for an alternative view of generative grammar, which they term the Meaning First Approach (MFA). The animating idea behind MFA is that the grammar is fundamentally a “compression” mechanism, which maps between complex (i.e., hierarchical) structures of thought on the one hand, … [read more] blogpost: There is no “meaning-first” alternative”
Mar 112021
It’s been longer than usual since my last blog post. I’ve been busy with various research- and teaching-related activities, which I love dearly, but which have kept me away from blogging. But I’m back with a doozy, length-wise. So strap in… (Also, it’s worth pointing out that this post is an extended … [read more] blogpost: Are individual syntactic terminals ever interpreted?”
Dec 262020
I was reading some comments by Dan Milway about Chomsky’s recent UCLA lectures, and I realized something I hadn’t noticed before: committing oneself to the brand of minimalism that Chomsky has been preaching lately means committing oneself to a fairly strong version of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. Here’s why. Consider … [read more] blogpost: Noam Chomsky and Benjamin Lee Whorf walk into a bar…”
Oct 282020
From time to time, the term “ecological validity” is thrown around in connection with linguistic research. And you’d think I’d be calloused by now, but no: I’m astounded anew every time someone treats this as something that’s self-evidently desirable (and not, say, as anathema to how science works). The term “ecological validity”, which … [read more] blogpost: “Ecological validity””
Jul 252020
This is not so much a blog post as it is a collection of things that I think deserve your attention. As you will see, it is quite a self-serving list, in that several of these works provide evidence in favor of claims that I have also been arguing for. But hey, it's my blog, right? ūüėä … [read more]
Jun 182020
For a while now, I have been pondering the prospects of a realizational/interpretive theory in which spellout to PF and spellout to LF involve separate collections of rules, and where individual spellout rules crucially map from sets of syntactic terminals to exponents or to meaning primitives. (For a given spellout rule to be applicable, … [read more] blogpost: Architecture and Blocking revisited”
Apr 262020
For the last ten years or so, Chomsky has been claiming increasingly often that the discrete bifurcation of expressions into “grammatical” and “ungrammatical” is incorrect. I think he is wrong, or at least that these claims are without any current basis. But before explaining why, it’s important to set some parameters of … [read more] blogpost: On so-called “degrees of grammaticality””
Apr 182020
Matushansky (2006) proposes to replace the head-adjunction mechanism of Government & Binding theory (call this “Theory1”) with a version that involves movement to a specifier position followed by “m-merger” of the specifier with the adjacent head (call this “Theory2”). One of the major selling points is supposed to be that Theory2 … [read more] blogpost: On the “interleaving” of morphology & syntax”