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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 1956, Shieber 1985). In the present work, the computational difference between these two domains is studied from a perspective which recognizes two dimensions of formal grammars: the nature of the model (the data structures) and the power of the computations that manipulate these structures. We argue that the differences between syntax and phonology can be recast entirely in terms of the differences in the data structures rather than the power of the computations. Both phonological and syntactic dependencies turn out to be local given a suitable domain of relativization, which we formalize in terms of tiers.

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  author    = {Graf, Thomas and Heinz, Jeffrey},
  title     = {Commonality in Disparity: The Computational View of Syntax
          and Phonology},
  year      = {2015},
  note      = {Slides of a talk given at {GLOW 2015}, April 18, Paris,