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Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

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Discussion Details

Title: Re: Deep Structure/Initial PP
Submitter: Ahmad Reza Lotfi
Description: Dear Linguists,

On 21-Nov-2004 Pius ten Hacken < P.Ten-Hacken@swansea.ac.uk   wrote:

 Two obvious remarks any Chomskyan linguist would make in this respect are:
 1. Phrase structure rules and transformations are meant to describe
 the grammatical competence of a speaker, not the processes of
 production or interpretation of linguistic performance.

What is less obvious, however, is whether (Dan Slobin's) psycholinguistic
experimentations with such rules, which established the (true?) belief that
these rules are at best those of linguistic competence rather than those of
real-time speakers' performance/mental processes are still valid given the
superiority of parallel processing models to serial ones for a good number
of mental activities including visual ones, and most probably also for
those of mental grammar:

All a reaction-time experiment shows is that the sentence S1 allegedly
involving more transformations than S2, e.g. passives vs. their active
counterparts, does not get more time to process. This does not necessarily
mean that they've got no pyschological reality. There's still a chance that
(some) T-rules apply in parallel irrespective of the superficial feeding
relationships among them, hence not different in computation time but
perhaps different in the amount of resources employed. I think
generativists of the time withdrew too hurriedly when they confined their
rules to mere competence.


Ahmad R. Lotfi, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of linguistics,
Chair of English dept.
Graduate School
Azad University at Khorasgan (IRAN)

Date Posted: 25-Nov-2004
Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
LL Issue: 15.3303
Posted: 25-Nov-2004

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