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Re: THEORY: OT Syntax (Was: Re: THEORY: phonemes and Optimality Theory tutorial)

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 22, 2000, 4:39
On Mon, 20 Nov 2000, Marcus Smith wrote:

> Yoon Ha Lee wrote: > > >And I thought I'd never be interested in neurobiology. I sometimes > >regret not paying more attention to HS biology. (I declined to take IBH > >biology after seeing what a lab practical was like...) Foundations are > >good to have. <sigh> > > I agree. When I went into my neuroling course, I knew bearly anything about > the structure of the brain, and my terminology was almost non-existant. I > had to have a nasty crash course in lobes, neurotransmitters, blood-flow > patterns, etc. Very rough.
I have this terrible image of bears crashing through your neural system...<G>
> > > Take a sentence like "The man admired Don's sketch of the landscape." You > > > cannot say *"The man admired Don's of sketch the landscape". This type of > > > ungrammaticality is what syntacticians have been calling a "Phrase > > > Structure Violation" for decades. Now, if you attach electrodes to a > > > >Stupid question: so there are analogously ungrammatical sentences in > >other languages, or perhaps better stated, there *isn't* a language in > >which a construction like the starred one above *is* grammatical? > > There are languages which are like English in this respect. There are > languages that differ. It would be interesting to see the neurological > activity in a language that allows the ungrammatical English sentence. > Presumablly they would not show the odd brain activity, but as far as I > know, work on this topic has only been done in English so far. There are > similar expiraments for Italian, Chinese, and Japanese, but not on exactly > this topic.
Well, I imagine there are an awful lot of things in linguistics to study, and things will inevitably fall between the cracks! <wry g> A Good Thing for linguists writing dissertations?
> >I must learn more about syntax after I find out more about > >phonology/phonetics. :-) I'll have to check out the Gray Wizard's list > >of recommended books. > > I just looked at the list for the first time. A very good library. As far > as syntactic theory goes, I would recommend either of the books by Radford > on his list. I would also recommend a couple books not on the list: > > Introduction to Government and Binding, by Lilianne Haegemann. > The Syntactic Phenomena of English, by James McCawley. > > This last one is the most complete grammar of English I've ever seen. I > have professors who re-read it regularly.
Thanks for the recs! Does that last book explain the article system particularly well? Despite the efforts of the Writing Workshop's linguist-in-residence, Judy Pierpont, we writing tutors *still* can't explain everything about the article system to foreign-language native speakers. :-( Especially to Asian-language speakers who think that articles are redundant and confusing to begin with (if I weren't fluent in English I would tend to agree) because they're not used to articles. :-/ YHL