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  1. Memory Usage Predicts Relative Difficulty in Human Sentence Processing

    Graf, Thomas, James Monette, Robert Pasternak, and Chong Zhang

    Files [pdf] [code]

    @Misc{GrafEtAl16IACSposter,
      author    = {Graf, Thomas and Monette, James and Pasternak, Robert and Zhang, Chong},
      title     = {Memory Usage Predicts Relative Difficulty in Human Sentence Processing},
      year      = {2016},
      note      = {Poster presented at the {IACS} {R ...
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  2. Adjuncts, Conjuncts, Ojuncts: Deriving Strong Island Constraints

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Adjuncts differ from arguments by a number of properties, in particular i) optionality and ii) their island status, which renders them opaque for extraction of subconstituents. Conjuncts, too, are optional and forbid extraction. Starting from this basic observation, I demonstrate that islandhood ...

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  3. 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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  4. A Hidden Consensus: Computational Invariants of Minimalist Syntax

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract A common sentiment among linguists is that the Minimalist literature features a dazzling array of competing proposals that seem to share little common ground in their technical assumptions. While differences certainly do exist between accounts, a computationally informed perspective reveals a set ...

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  5. Commonality in Disparity: The Computational View of Syntax and Phonology

    Graf, Thomas, and Jeffrey Heinz

    Abstract Heinz and Idsardi (2013) draw attention to a computational difference between syntax and phonology established by earlier research: phonology only requires regular computations over strings (Johnson 1972, Kaplan and Kay 1995), whereas syntax involves non-regular computations over strings (Chomsky ...

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

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract I draw on various result from mathematical linguistics to argue that feature-based accounts and constraint-based ones should not be viewed as competing with each other but rather as complementing each other. In particular, recent results on Minimalist grammars show that features and ...

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  7. 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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  8. The Syntactic Algebra of Adjuncts

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract I argue that the special behavior of adjuncts is a consequence of two properties that set them apart from arguments: optionality and independence.

    • Optionality Adjuncts can be omitted.
    • Independence Independently well-formed adjuncts can be combined.

    These properties yield several grammaticality inferences that ...

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  9. Of Tops and Bottom: The Algebra of Person Case Constraints

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract The Person Case Constraint blocks certain combinations of clitics and weak pronouns in a variety of languages. Out of the numerous logical possibilities, only four variants of the Person Case Constraint are attested. I show that these four variants form a natural ...

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  10. 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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  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. Optimality Is Not a Race: Against a Performance-Based View of Reference-Set Computation

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Reference-set constraints (RCs; also known as transderivational constraints) differ from standard well-formedness conditions in that for every tree, they compute a set of output candidates called its reference set and pick from said set the optimal candidate(s) according to some economy ...

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  14. Lost in Translation: A Formal Model of Merge-over-Move and Its Implications for the Language Faculty

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract I demonstrate that Merge-over-Move (MOM), a transderivational constraint (TC) put forward in Chomsky (1995, 2000), can be modeled by linear tree transducers, i.e.\ machines that take a tree as input and traverse it from the leaves towards the root while at ...

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  15. Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics: Where Do We Find Optimality?

    Graf, Thomas

    Files [pdf] [code]

    @Misc{Graf10Goettingentalk,
      author    = {Graf, Thomas},
      title     = {Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics: Where do we Find
              Optimality?},
      year      = {2010},
      note      = {Invited talk, December 15, Institut für Anglistik,
              Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany}
    }
    
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  16. Reference-Set Computation = Minimalism + Transformational Rules?

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Transderivational constraints (TC) formed an integral part of the early Minimalist Program. I develop a formal model of TCs firmly rooted in automata theory and subsequently argue that

    • in general, TCs aren’t computationally intractable, nor does their complexity exceed that of ...
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  17. Efficient Computation at the Interfaces

    Graf, Thomas

    Files [pdf] [code]

    @Misc{Graf10ONLIposter,
      author    = {Graf, Thomas},
      title     = {Efficient Computation at the Interfaces},
      year      = {2010},
      note      = {Poster presented at On Linguistic Interfaces II (OnLI II),
              December 2--4, 2010, University of Ulster, Belfast, United
              Kingdom}
    }
    
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  18. 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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  19. Concealed Reference-Set Computation or How Syntax Escapes the Parser’s Clutches

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract A core assumption of the biolinguistic program is that all properties of language beyond recursion can be motivated by requirements imposed by other cognitive modules. One component in this setup is the parser, which is thought to give rise to a preference ...

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  20. Locality in Flux — Reducibility Results for Syntactic Constraints

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Müller and Sternefeld (2000) propose a locality hierarchy of syntactic constraints such that {representational, derivational} < global < translocal < transderivational. We use formal methods to demonstrate that their hierarchy correctly assumes that higher constraint classes are more powerful, but we also show that for ...

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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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