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Syntactic Computation as Labelled Deduction: WH a case study

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Syntactic Computation as Labelled Deduction: WH a case study

This paper addresses the question "Why do WH phenomena occur with the particular cluster of properties observed across languages -- long-distance dependencies, WH-in situ, partial movement constructions, reconstruction, crossover etc." These phenomena have been analysed by invoking a number of discrete principles and categories, but have so far resisted a unified treatment. The explanation proposed is set within a model of natural language understanding in context, where the task of understanding is taken to be the incremental building of a structure over which the semantic content is defined. The formal model is a composite of a labelled type-deduction system, a modal tree logic, and a set of rules for describing the process of interpreting the string as a set of transition states. A dynamic concept of syntax results, in which in addition to an output structure associated with each string (analogous to the level of LF), there is in addition an explicit meta-level description of the process whereby this incremental process takes place. This paper argues that WH-related phenomena can be unified by adopting this dynamic perspective. The main focus of the paper is on WH-initial structures, WH in situ structures, partial movement phenomena, and crossover phenomena. In each case, an analysis is proposed which emerges from the general characterisatioan of WH structures without construction-specific stipulation.Article

Kempson, Ruth and Meyer-Viol, Wilfried and Gabbay, Dov (2000) Syntactic Computation as Labelled Deduction: WH a case study.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Citation: In R. Borsley and I. Roberts (eds.), "Syntactic Categories".
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: Dynamic syntax, Syntactic computation
Divisions: Institute of Philosophy
Collections: London Philosophy Papers
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