LINGUIST List 13.2381

Thu Sep 19 2002

Disc: Do We Need a Replacement for *(...)

Editor for this issue: Renee Galvis <reneelinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Dan Everett, RE: 13.2369, Disc: New: Do We Need a Replacement for *(...)?
  2. Christopher Bader, RE: 13.2369, Disc: New: Do We Need a Replacement for *(...)?

Message 1: RE: 13.2369, Disc: New: Do We Need a Replacement for *(...)?

Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 10:02:40 -0300
From: Dan Everett <dan_everettsil.org>
Subject: RE: 13.2369, Disc: New: Do We Need a Replacement for *(...)?

Joost Kremers asks if we need a replacement for the *(...) notation. I
think we need a replacement for that entire way of thinking about
grammaticality. Some standard statistical significance/ANOVA
evaluations of native speaker reaction would put linguistics on a much
more sound methodological footing. The *, **, *(...), ?, ??, #,
notations we have grown up with are really just unscientific and
imprecise ways of talking about statistical generalizations across
speakers.

It is a shame that Wayne Cowart's book, _Experimental Syntax _, hasn't
received more attention and had more of an impact on syntactic
studies. It points, I believe, to the future of linguistics - one
where we are no longer inventing our own notions of grammaticality to
fit the Procrustean bed of the paper we are currently writing. (Cowart
doesn't show that the symbols we have used in our syntactic
publications are wrong, necessarily, just very imprecise, often
obscuring deeper insights.)

- Dan Everett


.........................
Dan Everett
Professor of Phonetics and Phonology
Department of Linguistics
Arts Building
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
M13 9PL
Manchester, UK
dan.everettman.ac.uk 
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Message 2: RE: 13.2369, Disc: New: Do We Need a Replacement for *(...)?

Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 11:21:44 -0400
From: Christopher Bader <cbaderUnveil.com>
Subject: RE: 13.2369, Disc: New: Do We Need a Replacement for *(...)?

Rather than add + , why not get rid of * ?

Linguists have acknowledged for years than the meaning of the star
notation and its variants, e.g. question mark(s), is implicitly
contrastive. Optimality Theory expresses this directly in the harmony
operator >.

Therefore, instead of writing:

(1) I see *(the) car

(2) I see the (*a) car

Write:

(3) I see the car > I see car

(4) I see the car > I see the a car

Or simply:

(5) I see the car > I see car > I see the a car



Christopher Bader
Unveil Technologies, Inc.
400 Fifth Avenue
Waltham, MA 02451
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