LINGUIST List 13.2592

Wed Oct 9 2002

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

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Michael Johnstone, Disc: Do We Need a Replacement for *(...)

Message 1: Disc: Do We Need a Replacement for *(...)

Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 15:35:51 +0100 (BST)
From: Michael Johnstone <>
Subject: Disc: Do We Need a Replacement for *(...)

Yury Lander says:

> Unlike Dan Everett (Linguist 13.2407), I almost completely agree with
> Tim Stowell in that ''there is a real difference between a marginally
> acceptable example and a completely unacceptable one''
> (Linguist 13.2404).

Is there any actual quantitative research on grammaticality judgments
that could tell us whether such judgments are evenly distributed along
a scale of grammaticality or whether they tend to cluster at certain
points (e.g. +/?/?*/*) in a semi-categorical way?

Say, if you asked 100 informants to mark the grammaticality of 100
sentences on a scale of 0-9, would there be a sudden shift in
grammaticality judgments along the informant axis? along the sentence
axis? (Assuming you'd selected the informants and the sentences in
some 'representative' way, that is...)

If forced to categorise a sentence as grammatical vs. ungrammatical,
are there any sentences where 50% of informants would go each way?

Michael Johnstone
PhD student, Cambridge Uni.
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