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  1. Case Assignment in TSL Syntax: A Case Study

    Vu, Mai Ha, Nazila Shafiei, and Thomas Graf

    Abstract Recent work suggests that the subregular complexity of syntax might be comparable to that of phonology and morphology. More specifically, whereas phonological and morphological dependencies are tier-based strictly local over strings, syntactic dependencies are tier-based strictly …

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  2. The Surprising Simplicity of Syntax: Derivation Trees, Subregular Complexity, and What It Implies for Language and Cognition

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract It is a well-known fact of computational linguistics that syntax is mildly context-sensitive and thus highly complex —- certainly more complex than phonology or morphology. This complexity is at odds with the ease of language acquisition and the impressive speed of human sentence …

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  3. C-Command Dependencies as TSL String Constraints

    Graf, Thomas, and Nazila Shafiei

    Abstract We provide a general formal framework for analyzing c-command based dependencies in syntax, e.g. binding and NPI licensing, from a subregular perspective. C-command relations are represented as strings computed from Minimalist derivation trees, and syntactic dependencies are shown …

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  4. Case Assignment in TSL Syntax: A Case Study

    Vu, Mai Ha, Nazila Shafiei, and Thomas Graf

    Abstract Recent work suggests that the subregular complexity of syntax might be comparable to that of phonology and morphology. More specifically, whereas phonological and morphological dependencies are tier-based strictly local over strings, syntactic dependencies are tier-based strictly …

    read more
  5. Tiers and Relativized Locality Across Language Modules

    Graf, Thomas, Alëna Aksënova, Hyunah Baek, Aniello De Santo, Hossep Dolatian, Sedigheh Moradi, Jon Rawski, Suji Yang, and Jeffrey Heinz

    Abstract Heinz and Idsardi (2013) draw attention to a profound computational difference between syntax and phonology: phonology only requires regular computations over strings (Johnson 1972 …

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  6. Derivations as Representations: News from the Computational Frontier

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract Ever since McCawley (1968) one of the fundamental questions of linguistic theory has been whether formalisms should be construed as derivational or representational in nature. The former focuses on how structures are built in an incremental fashion from pre-defined atoms via structure-building …

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  7. Grammar Size and Quantitative Restrictions on Movement

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract This work is a first tentative step towards motivating constraints on movement as a mechanism for minimizing grammar size.

    Recently is has been proved that every Minimalist grammar can be converted into a strongly equivalent single movement normal form such that every …

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  8. Grammar Size and Quantitative Restrictions on Movement

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract This work is a first tentative step towards motivating constraints on movement as a mechanism for minimizing grammar size.

    Recently is has been proved that every Minimalist grammar can be converted into a strongly equivalent single movement normal form such that every …

    read more
  9. Relative Clauses as a Benchmark for Minimalist Parsing

    Graf, Thomas, James Monette, and Chong Zhang

    Abstract Minimalist grammars have been used recently in a series of papers to explain well-known contrasts in human sentence processing in terms of subtle structural differences. These proposals combine a top-down parser with complexity metrics that relate parsing …

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

    Graf, Thomas

    Abstract A contentious issue in the Minimalist literature is whether certain phenomena are best described in terms of features or constraints. Building on recent work in mathematical linguistics, I argue that constraints and features are interchangeable in Minimalist syntax. This does not invalidate …

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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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 …

    read more
  14. 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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  15. 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 …

    read more
  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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 …

    read more
  22. 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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  23. 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 …

    read more
  24. 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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  25. 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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