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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 non-transderivational constraints;
  • TCs have technical advantages over normal constraints in accounting for cross-linguistic variation;
  • an automata-theoretic approach brings us closer to a unified perspective on three rather distant research traditions, each of them with their unique body of empirical results: TCs, OT, and Synchronous Tree-Adjoining Grammar.

As an illustration of the applicability of this formal model, I exhibit precise implementations of Focus Economy (Reinhart 2006), the Merge-over-Move condition (Chomsky 1998), and the Shortest Derivation Principle.

Files [pdf] [code]

  author    = {Graf, Thomas},
  title     = {$\text{Reference-Set Computation} = \text{Minimalism} + \text{Transformational Rules?}$},
  year      = {2010},
  note      = {Invited talk, December 8, Institut für Linguistik,
          Universität Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany}