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Gradience in GrammarGenerative Perspectives$
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Gisbert Fanselow, Caroline Féry, Matthias Schlesewsky, and Ralf Vogel

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274796

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274796.001.0001

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Decomposing Gradience: Quantitative versus Qualitative Distinctions

Decomposing Gradience: Quantitative versus Qualitative Distinctions

(p.124) 7 Decomposing Gradience: Quantitative versus Qualitative Distinctions
Gradience in Grammar




Oxford University Press

This chapter characterizes the critical phenomena from a behavioural perspective before turning to experimental methods, yielding more fine-grained data. It examines how linguistic judgments emerge from the real-time comprehension processes by drawing upon studies of word order variation in German. Based on a number of empirical observations, it argues that gradient data need not be interpreted as evidence against categorical grammars. Instead, gradience can come from a complex interaction between grammar-internal requirements, processing mechanisms, general cognitive constraints, and the environment within which the judgment task is performed.

Keywords:   gradience, quantitative distinctions, qualitative distinctions, German, word order, categorical grammar

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