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  1. Relative Clauses as a Benchmark for Minimalist Parsing

    Graf, Thomas, James Monette, and Chong Zhang

    Abstract Minimalist grammars have been used recently in a series of papers to explain well-known contrasts in human sentence processing in terms of subtle structural differences. These proposals combine a top-down parser with complexity metrics that relate parsing …

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  2. Morphotactics as Tier-Based Strictly Local Dependencies

    Aksënova, Alëna, Thomas Graf, and Sedigheh Moradi

    Abstract It is commonly accepted that morphological dependencies are finite-state in nature. We argue that the upper bound on morphological expressivity is much lower. Drawing on technical results from computational phonology, we show that a variety of morphotactic …

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  3. A Computational Guide to the Dichotomy of Features and Constraints

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract A contentious issue in the Minimalist literature is whether certain phenomena are best described in terms of features or constraints. Building on recent work in mathematical linguistics, I argue that constraints and features are interchangeable in Minimalist syntax. This does not invalidate …

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  4. A Computational Guide to the Dichotomy of Features and Constraints

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract A contentious issue in the Minimalist literature is whether certain phenomena are best described in terms of features or constraints. Building on recent work in mathematical linguistics, I argue that constraints and features are interchangeable in Minimalist syntax. This does not invalidate …

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  5. A Refined Notion of Memory Usage for Minimalist Parsing

    Graf, Thomas, Brigitta Fodor, James Monette, Gianpaul Rachiele, Aunika Warren, and Chong Zhang

    Abstract Recently there has been a lot of interest in testing the processing predictions of a specific top-down parser for Minimalist grammars (Stabler 2012). Most of this work relies on memory-based difficulty …

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  6. Models of Adjunction in Minimalist Grammars

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Three closely related proposals for adding (cyclic) adjunction to Minimalist grammars are given model-theoretic definitions and investigated with respect to their linguistic and formal properties. While they differ with respect to their linguistic adequacy, they behave largely the same on a computational …

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  7. Beyond the Apparent: Cognitive Parallels Between Syntax and Phonology

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract One of the central changes in 20th century linguistics was the reconceptualization of language as a cognitive ability rather than merely an abstract relational system of signs —- in the terminology of Chomsky (1986), the move from E-language to I-language. This shift entails …

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  8. Local and Transderivational Constraints in Syntax and Semantics

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract A long-standing tension in Minimalist syntax is that between the structure-building operations Merge and Move on the one hand and the constraints restricting the shape of the structures built by said operations on the other. Proposals differ vastly in how much weight …

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  9. Movement-Generalized Minimalist Grammars

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract A general framework is presented that allows for Minimalist grammars to use arbitrary movement operations under the proviso that they are all definable by monadic second-order formulas over derivation trees. Lowering, sidewards movement, and clustering, among others, are the result of instantiating …

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  10. Concealed Reference-Set Computation: How Syntax Escapes the Parser’s Clutches

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract It has been conjectured that all properties of language beyond recursion can be motivated by interface requirements. One component in this setup is the parser, which is thought to give rise to a preference for computational parsimony. I discuss a mathematical result …

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  11. Locality and the Complexity of Minimalist Derivation Tree Languages

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Minimalist grammars provide a formalization of Minimalist syntax which allows us to study how the components of said theory affect its expressivity. A central concern of Minimalist syntax is the locality of the displacement operation Move. In Minimalist grammars, however, Move is …

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  12. Closure Properties of Minimalist Derivation Tree Languages

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Recently, the question has been raised whether the derivation tree languages of Minimalist grammars (MGs; Stabler 1997, Stabler & Keenan 2003) are closed under intersection with regular tree languages (Graf 2010). Using a variation of a proof technique devised by Thatcher (1967), I …

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  13. Logics of Phonological Reasoning

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Inspired by Kracht (2003) and Potts and Pullum (2002), who use tools from mathematical logic in their investigation of phonological theories, I develop an extendable modal logic over string structures, which in turn is used to formalize a specific phonological theory, Government …

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  14. Reference-Set Constraints as Linear Tree Transductions via Controlled Optimality Systems

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Reference-set constraints are a special class of constraints used in Minimalist syntax. They extend the notion of well-formedness beyond the level of single trees: When presented with some phrase structure tree, they compute its set of competing output candidates and determine the …

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  15. Some Interdefinability Results for Syntactic Constraint Classes

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Choosing as my vantage point the linguistically motivated Müller-Sternefeld hierarchy (Müller and Sternefeld 2000), which classifies constraints according to their locality properties, I investigate the interplay of various syntactic constraint classes on a formal level. For non-comparative constraints, I use Rogers’ (2003 …

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  16. Comparing Incomparable Frameworks: A Model Theoretic Approach to Phonology

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract In previous work, we used techniques from mathematical logic and model theory to study and compare two phonological theories, SPE and Government Phonology. The surprising result was that Government Phonology corresponds to a very weak fragment of SPE, yet it can attain …

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  17. A Tree Transducer Model of Reference-Set Computation

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Reference-set constraints are a special class of constraints used in Minimalist syntax. They extend the notion of well-formedness beyond the level of single trees: When presented with some phrase structure tree, they compute its set of competing output candidates and determine the …

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  18. Towards a Factorization of String-Based Phonology

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Inspired by the model-theoretic approach to phonology deployed by Kracht (2003) and Potts and Pullum (2002), I develop an extendible modal logic for the investigation of phonological theories operating on (richly annotated) string structures. In contrast to previous research in this vein …

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  19. Agreement with Hybrid Nouns in Icelandic

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract A short squib on the special gender agreement properties exhibited by Icelandic nouns when their semantic gender is different from their syntactic gender.

    Files [pdf]

    @Article{Graf07Snippets,
      author    = {Graf, Thomas},
      title     = {Agreement with Hybrid Nouns in {I}celandic},
      year      = {2007},
      journal   = {Snippets …
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