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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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 …

    read more
  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 …

    read more
  15. 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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  16. 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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  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 …

    read more
  18. 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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  19. 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 …

    read more
  20. 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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  21. 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 …

    read more

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