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Sag2 - What Auxiliaries Tell us about the Mind Ivan A Sag...

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What Auxiliaries Tell us about the Mind Ivan A. Sag Stanford University
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Thesis 1: The Mind is a Transformational Machine English is not a Finite-State language (i.e. there is no Regular Grammar that can generate English) The generalizations we know about English auxiliaries transcend the capabilities of Context-Free Phrase Structure Grammars (CFGs) The existence of discountinuous dependencies and abstract generalizations in the auxiliary system require transformational operations.
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Thesis 2: Transformations are Structure-Sensitive Operations Ts are not merely string operations. Ts don’t count things. Ts manipulate structures in ways defined by Universal Grammar (human biology) [[The man] who is speaking] is their friend. Is the man who is speaking their friend? *Is the man who speaking is their friend?
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Feature Decomposition of Grammatical Categories 1 As early as the mid 1960s, Chomsky had suggested replacing familiar syntactic categories (S, NP, VP, P) with feature bundles, e.g. +V - N , +N - V , +V - N , - N - V V + N - BAR 2 , N + V - BAR 2 , V + N - BAR 1 , N - V - BAR 0 Widely adopted in TG and elsewhere.
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Feature Decomposition of Grammatical Categories 2 X-Theory Head Feature Principle: The category of a mother is the same as the category of the head daughter. Widely adopted in TG and elsewhere.
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v + n - bar 2 (=S) v - n + bar 2 two guys v + n - bar 1 (=VP) v + n - bar 0 walked v - n - bar 1 (=PP) v - n - bar 0 into v - n + bar 2 (=NP) a bar
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Come the Revolution In 1982, Geo ff rey Pullum and Gerald Gazdar demonstrated that all arguments against the context-freeness of natural language published prior to then are either mathematically flawed or based on incorrect assessments of the empirical data. First CFG of English Auxiliary System: Gazdar, Pullum, Sag (1982). This led to the framework of Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar as one of several well-developed alternatives to Transformational Grammar. (see http://lingo.stanford.edu/sag/L221a/syll/wk1.html) And then to Head-Driven PSG (HPSG), and then to the kind of Construction Grammar I’ll use here (Sign-Based).
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Feature Decomposition of Grammatical Categories 3 Also in the mid-1960s, Chomsky suggested providing words with features specifying their combinatoric potential. Cf. Ajdukiewicz 1935 lexeme valence List Example laugh NP Kim laughs walk NP (, PP) Kim walked (into a bar) love NP, NP Kim loved Lee give NP, NP, NP They gave Pat a watch give NP, NP, PP[ to ] They gave a watch to Pat keep NP, VP[ prp ] They kept coming continue NP, VP[ inf ] I continue to doubt
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v + n - val v - n + val two guys v + n - val NP v + n - val NP,PP walked v - n - val v - n - val NP into v - n + val a bar
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cat pos verb vf fin val cat [ pos noun ] val
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