Mar 052019
 

Here is a paper by Canaan Breiss and Bruce Hayes (I will refer to the paper as B&H). To offer a brief summary of B&H’s main empirical point, it shows that the choice of syntactic ‘structure’ (i.e., both the choice of terminals and their arrangement) is probabilistically biased towards avoiding phonotactically problematic sequences (e.g. a sequence of two consecutive sibilants), even when the sequence in question arises across a word boundary. It does so by focusing on a series of well-established phonological constraints (from work on word‑level phonology), and showing that word‑bigrams whose juncture violates these constraints are underattested. This is shown to be the case in a variety of corpora, both written and spoken. Let’s refer to this as Evidence for Phonologically-Influenced Choice of Syntactic Structure, or EPICSS for short. […]  [read more]

Feb 162019
 

Here’s a nice little thing to ponder. Suppose syntactic computation is bound by some cyclic domains – we can call them “phases” (though I am on record with the opinion that phase theory is a faded facsimile of Subjacency, and many of its more recent developments, a faded facsimile of Barriers). And suppose that we encounter a configuration like (1) in which H is able to access XP but unable to access YP, where XP and YP both seem, as far as we can tell, featurally suited to H’s needs: […]  [read more]

blogpost: Kudos

 Posted by on 01/29/2019  1 Response »
Jan 292019
 

I just stumbled upon this: ... Notice the "Published in" field: Lisa Selkirk and Angelika Kratzer have made it publicly known that this paper received a rejection in its very first round of review from Language. I don't think it can be overstated how important it is for senior people to share [...]

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Jan 072019
 

There is a rather persistent confusion in current linguistic literature that I would like to highlight, between what syntax is (the component of grammar responsible for those computations that are not reducible to sound and to meaning) vs. what syntax looks like (constituents, phrases, complementation, specifiers, c-command, etc.). […]  [read more]

Nov 242018
 

DISCLAIMER: I don’t think the following thoughts are particularly “revolutionary” – i.e., I imagine other people have thought (and maybe said) the same things before. But for what it’s worth, I’m a syntactician who has been in linguistics for years and I’ve only recently come to realize these things; so perhaps there are others like me out there who might still benefit from reading this. […]  [read more]

Oct 102018
 

There are several reasons why I started my own blog, after blogging over on Norbert Hornstein’s Faculty of Language (FoL) for a while. One of them is that I found the thematic content of my posts was actually not a terribly good fit for FoL. Norbert is very interested in big-picture cogsci and bio-cognitive themes. I love little morphemes and what makes them (syntactically) tick. These themes obviously make contact with one another, but I sometimes felt like an entomologist at a geophysicists convention. […]  [read more]