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LINGUIST List 19.2786

Fri Sep 12 2008

Disc: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'

Editor for this issue: Catherine Adams <catherinlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Michael Maxwell, Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'

Message 1: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'
Date: 11-Sep-2008
From: Michael Maxwell <maxwellumiacs.umd.edu>
Subject: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'
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In response to the comments on whether syntax comes before semantics (in
the context of the review of ''Chomsky's Minimalism'', see link below), I
suspect that this is a misunderstanding of the meaning of the arrows. The
arrows refer to a derivational relationship, not a temporal one.

In this respect, they are similar to the arrows in phonological rules (back
when phonology was done with rules...). The fact that the arrow in a
phonological rule pointed in one direction did not imply that it was not
possible to run the process in reverse. At least one parser (my Hermit
Crab) was built that was quite capable of running phonological rules in
either direction, and today's finite state transducers are routinely used
to convert between phonological representations in either direction.

I don't know whether the translation between semantics and syntax can be
done with finite state transducers, but I am reasonably certain that the
mapping is bidirectional, although it may be ambiguous in one or both
directions. If this is true, then the direction that the arrows point is
largely irrelevant.

Read Review: http://linguistlist.org/issues/16/16-1890.html

Mike Maxwell

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories

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