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ERIC Number: EJ1050155
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0090-6905
On Directionality of Phrase Structure Building
Chesi, Cristiano
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, v44 n1 p65-89 Feb 2015
Minimalism in grammatical theorizing (Chomsky in "The minimalist program." MIT Press, Cambridge, 1995) led to simpler linguistic devices and a better focalization of the core properties of the structure building engine: a lexicon and a free (recursive) phrase formation operation, dubbed Merge, are the basic components that serve in building syntactic structures. Here I suggest that by looking at the elementary restrictions that apply to Merge (i.e., selection and licensing of functional features), we could conclude that a re-orientation of the syntactic derivation (from bottom-up/right-left to top-down/left-right) is necessary to make the theory simpler, especially for long-distance (filler-gap) dependencies, and is also empirically more adequate. If the structure building operations would assemble lexical items in the order they are pronounced (Phillips in Order and structure. PhD thesis, MIT, 1996; Chesi in "Phases and cartography in linguistic computation: Toward a cognitively motivated computational model of linguistic competence." PhD thesis, Università di Siena, 2004; Chesi in "Competence and computation: Toward a processing friendly minimalist grammar." Unipress, Padova, 2012), on-line performance data could better fit the grammatical model, without resorting to external "performance factors." The phase-based, top-down (and, as a consequence, left-right) Minimalist Grammar here discussed goes in this direction, ultimately showing how strong Islands (Huang in "Logical relations in Chinese and the theory of grammar." PhD thesis, MIT, 1982) and intervention effects (Gordon et al. in "J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn" 27:1411-1423, 2001, Gordon et al. in "J Mem Lang" 51:97-114, 2004) could be better explained in structural terms assuming this unconventional derivational direction.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A