Linguistik-Klassifikation: Grammatikforschung / Grammar research
Semiotactics as a Van Wijngaarden grammar
Frederik H. H. Kortlandt
- 1. There are two classes of theories of Universal Grammar: (1) Formalist theories, such as the widespread varieties of generative grammar. These theories start from the assumption that certain strings of linguistic forms are grammatical while other strings are ungrammatical. A grammar of this type produces grammatical strings and does not produce ungrammatical ones. All theories of this class fail in the same respect: they do not account for the meaning of the strings. (2) Semiotactic theories, which describe the meaning of a string in terms of the meanings of its constituent forms and their interrelations. The only elaborate formalized theory of this class presently available is the one advanced by C.L. Ebeling (Syntax and Semantics, Leiden: Brill, 1978). I shall discuss some of its mathematical properties here.
Lexical information from a minimalist point of view
- Simplicity as a methodological orientation applies to linguistic theory just as to any other field of research: ‘Occam’s razor’ is the label for the basic heuristic maxim according to which an adequate analysis must ultimately be reduced to indispensible specifications. In this sense, conceptual economy has been a strict and stimulating guideline in the development of Generative Grammar from the very beginning. Halle’s (1959) argument discarding the level of taxonomic phonemics in order to unify two otherwise separate phonological processes is an early characteristic example; a more general notion is that of an evaluation metric introduced in Chomsky (1957, 1975), which relates the relative simplicity of alternative linguistic descriptions systematically to the quest for explanatory adequacy of the theory underlying the descriptions to be evaluated. Further proposals along these lines include the theory of markedness developed in Chomsky and Halle (1968), Kean (1975, 1981), and others, the notion of underspecification proposed e.g. in Archangeli (1984), Farkas (1990), the concept of default values and related notions. An important step promoting this general orientation was the idea of Principles and Parameters developed in Chomsky (1981, 1986), which reduced the notion of language particular rule systems to universal principles, subject merely to parametrization with restricted options, largely related to properties of particular lexical items. On this account, the notion of a simplicity metric is to be dispensed with, as competing analyses of relevant data are now supposed to be essentially excluded by the restrictive system of principles.
Anti-Structure Preservation Effects in Optimality Theory
Tracy Alan Hall
Topic and Focus at the Peripheries : The Dynamics of Tree Growth
Ruth M. Kempson
- In this paper topic and focus effects at both left and right periphery are argued to be epiphenomena of general properties of tree growth. We incorporate Korean into this account as a prototypical verb-final language, and show how long- and short-distance scrambling form part of this general picture. Multiple long-distance scrambling effects emerge as a consequence of the feeding relationship between different forms of structural under-specification. We also show how the array of effects at the right periphery, in both verb-final and other language-types, can also be explained with the same concepts of tree growth. In particular the Right Roof Constraint, a well-known but little understood constraint, is an immediate consequence of compositionality constraints as articulated in this system.