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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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Gradedness as Relative Efficiency in the Processing of Syntax and Semantics 1

Gradedness as Relative Efficiency in the Processing of Syntax and Semantics 1

(p.207) 11 Gradedness as Relative Efficiency in the Processing of Syntax and Semantics1
Gradience in Grammar


Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a group of corpus data from English, a head-initial language, and some additional data from Japanese, a head-final language, showing clear selection preferences among competing structures. The structures include positioning of complements and adjuncts relative to the verb, and the preferences range from highly productive unattested (despite being grammatical). These ‘gradedness effects’ lead to a principle of efficiency in performance, minimize domains (MiD). This principle is evaluated on postverbal prepositional phrases (PPs) in English and on preverbal NPs and PPs in Japanese. This chapter introduces a measurement for quantifying multiple constraints and their interaction. It discusses MiD in grammars and in cross-linguistic variation.

Keywords:   minimize domains, prepositional phrases, phonology, gradedness, syntax, semantics, noun phrases, Japanese, English, grammar

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