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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 unbounded. This paper is a study of the repercussions of limiting movement with respect to the number of slices a moved constituent is allowed to cross, where a slice is the derivation tree equivalent of the phrase projected by a lexical item in the derived tree. I show that this locality condition 1) has no effect on weak generative capacity 2) has no effect on a Minimalist derivation tree language’s recognizability by top-down automata 3) renders Minimalist derivation tree languages strictly locally testable, whereas their unrestricted counterparts aren’t even locally threshold testable.

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  author    = {Graf, Thomas},
  title     = {Locality and the Complexity of Minimalist Derivation Tree
  year      = {2011},
  note      = {Slides of a talk presented at the 16$^\textrm{th}$
          Conference on Formal Grammar (FG-2011), August 6, 2011,
          Ljubljana, Slovenia}