Linguistics Department Faculty Publication Series

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 191
  • Publication
    Quantitative Transfer in Reduplicative and Templatic Morphology
    (1988) McCarthy, John J; Prince, Alan
    Segmental quantity-the distinction between long and short vowels or geminate and simplex consonants-is preserved under specifiable conditions in reduplication. ’ Current nonlinear phonology holds, for a number
  • Publication
    Harmonic Serialism and Parallelism
    (2000-01-01) Mcarthy, John J
  • Publication
    Prosodic Boundaries in Adjunct Attachment
    (2001-01-01) Carlson, Katy; Clifton, Charles; Frazier, Lyn
    Five studies explored the processing of ambiguous sentences like Martin maintained that the CEO lied when the investigation started/at the start of the investigation. The central question was why particular prosodic boundaries have the effects they do. A written questionnaire provided baseline preferences and suggested that clausal adjuncts (when the investigation started) receive more high attachments than nonclausal adjuncts (at the start of the investigation). Four auditory studies manipulated the prosodic boundary before the adjunct clause and the prosodic boundary between the matrix clause and its complement. They disconfirm every version of an account where only the local boundary before the adjunct is important, whether the account is based on the acoustic magnitude of the boundary or its phonological type (an intermediate boundary characterized by the presence of a phrase accent vs. an intonational phrase boundary characterized by both a phrase accent and a boundary tone). Instead the results support use of the global prosodic context, especially the relative size of the local boundary and the distant boundary.
  • Publication
    Integrating Lexical and Formal Sematics: Genitives, Relational Nouns, and Type-Shifting
    (1998) Partee, Barbara H; Borschev, Vladimir
    In this paper we discuss the analysis of expressions such as John’s team, John’s brother, John’s favorite movie, Mary’s favorite chair, Mary’s former mansion. Before introducing the concrete problems, we briefly describe our theoretical perspective. Our theoretical concern is the integration of formal semantics and lexical semantics, especially but not exclusively in the traditions of Montague Grammar and the Moscow School (Apresjan (1994), Mel’èuk (1982), Paducheva (1996)), respectively. We have proposed (Borschev and Partee (in press)) to modify the Moscow school approach and represent lexical information in the form of sets of meaning postulates, which may or may not exhaust the meaning of the given lexical item. We believe this use of meaning postulates is consistent with actual Moscow school practice, and it makes it possible to integrate lexical semantics with the compositional “semantics of syntax” given by formal semantics. If the formal semantic interpretation of a sentence is given as a formula of intensional logic in which lexical items are primitives, and lexical semantics as a set of meaning postulates for these lexical items, then their integration can be seen as the drawing of entailments from these sources. This approach is in principle extendable to the integration of semantic interpretation with contextual and other information as well. So we semantically represent a sentence or a text as a theory consisting of different sorts of formulas, i.e. different sorts of axioms and their entailments. By “theory” here, we do not mean the metalevel linguistic theory, but the set of axioms from various sources plus the consequences that can be drawn from these axioms, which together constitute the interpretation of such a sentence in a given context. Such a theory (see Borschev 1996) characterizes the class of all models that are consistent with the content of the given text, or of the text together with certain aspects of its context, if the theory includes axioms representing contextual information. The most general structure (features and constraints) of such models have to represent what the Moscow School calls “naivnaja kartina mira” ‘the naive picture of the world’, and what formal semanticists, following Bach (1986) and Link (1983), call Natural Language Metaphysics or Ontology. This general scheme, particularly the principles governing interactions among axioms from different sources, has to be investigated with concrete linguistic material. On our modeltheoretic perspective, all of the “axioms” from all of the different sources jointly constrain the possible models, and their joint effects may account for phenomena ranging from ambiguity reduction to meaning-shift phenomena such as “coercion”. On this view, cooccurrence restrictions reflect the sometimes incompatible demands that different elements may make on the interpretation of the whole. Ambiguities are decreased when not all of the possible variants provide a consistent (or sufficiently plausible) interpretation. Inconsistency, which should in principle always result in “anomaly” judgments, may lead instead to type shifting or other meaning shifts, the complexities of which are one of the main concerns of this paper. It will probably turn out that the mechanism of axiom interaction is rather complicated, and may include modifications (shifts) in some axioms in the context of the others. We do not pretend to have an articulated view of the nature of all the different sorts of axioms that may play a role in the “theory” of a text, but we will illustrate some of the possibilities for a few of them.
  • Publication
    What is Optimality Theory?
    (2007-01-01) McCarthy, John J
    Optimality Theory is a general model of how grammars are structured. This article surveys the motivations for OT, its core principles, and the basics of analysis. It also addresses some frequently asked questions about this theory and offers suggestions for further reading.