Rather, they use a small set of Gradience in Acceptability and Grammaticality typically whole numbers repeatedly, and many or all The freedom provided by magnitude estimation to of the members of that set often stand in a salient rela- distinguish a theoretically infinite number of levels tionship to one another that does not seem to depend of acceptability and the ability to quantify the dis- on the stimuli e.
The absolute ratings property. Thus, it is unclear how participants are cal- acceptability, suggesting that it is indeed tapping into ibrating their responses, but it cannot be on the basis a robust cognitive system that yields gradient results. But the possibility that the ity, lexical and syntactic frequency, prototypicality, degraded status of some sentences could be due to etc. Rather, our judgments can that temporary processing difficulties that arise during evidently be sensitive to factors other than our under- the parsing of what appear to be fully well-formed sen- lying competence.
Putting it another way, when asked tences can lead to differences in acceptability ratings. For example, sentences 15 and 16 ently infer that she must have really intended to ask are equally grammatical according to all traditional something slightly different. For instance, instead of syntactic theories, because their WH-extractions are rating the extent to which some number is even, they from identical positions indicated by the under- may not necessarily consciously reinterpret the task score following for.
Also, both involve a pars- as seeking a rating of how representative or typical ing difficulty: due to the Active Filler Strategy cf. Thus, gradient that the WH-phrase which general has moved from acceptability judgments are perfectly compatible with the first underscore position immediately following a categorical model of grammar.
Examples of this killed ; reanalysis will therefore be required in both kind are given in the following section. Two Examples of Gradient Acceptability John wondered [which general] the soldier An emerging benefit of the use of gradient accept- killed the enemy effectively and enthusiastically ability measures has been an increased awareness of for during the war in Korea.
John wondered [which general] the soldier in the literature as fully acceptable. For example, killed effectively and enthusiastically for Featherston60 demonstrates that even though native during the war in Korea. German speakers report that 14a and 14b are both acceptable,61 one can detect that 14b is actually sig- nificantly less acceptable than 14a using magnitude Sentences like 15 are rated significantly less accept- estimation.
There could be a A plausible pro- b Was hat wer gelesen? Why the former is being taken on the current significance of the situation is the more disruptive should be explained methods or results. Some of the earliest attempts by a gradient theory of reanalysis. Refs 77 and 78 for reviews and new time, error rate, electrophysiological response, and so experiments. For some more typical use. This is claimed to make them instance, Labov71 has documented that speak- artificial and undermine their external validity.
Section Gram- that acceptability judgments are systematic, it is mars and Grammaticality or even knew what it unlikely that their underlying cognitive source would meant went on to use it spontaneously dur- be something unrelated to grammar—the existence ing the very same interview; there is no evi- of a separate system that duplicates many aspects of dence that this is the result of sociolinguistic language in use but is invoked only for metalinguistic stigmatization.
But such cases are extraordinarily tasks seems highly improbable Box 5. Nonetheless, any single kind of evidence has its flaws, so experiments that measure something The more challenging variety of experiment to other than explicit ratings—most often, reaction times design is one that goes beyond issues for which tra- or brain activity—certainly have their place in the empirical base of linguistics.
They can be used as a ditional data have so far been able to tip the scales source of converging evidence for claims made on the substantially. For example, an early Examples ERP study,79 whose aims were more ambitious than The history of the use of laboratory measures to many that have followed, found that unacceptable confirm the claims of generative grammar is almost sentences that were analyzed as violating different as old as the field itself, and space considerations constraints in Government-Binding theory, such as prohibit a comprehensive survey.
The examples men- 17 — 19 , elicited different ERP patterns, a finding tioned in this section have been chosen because of that was taken to support the Government-Binding their historical importance or their relevance to gen- analysis over alternatives under which these ungram- eral points that are being illustrated; no position maticalities might not be divvied up in the same way. In principle, the logic of the experiment evidence favoring possibility 1 over alternatives makes additional predictions, which apparently have 2 and 3 ; their magnetoencephalography MEG not been tested: namely, that all sentences violating data supported this conclusion, finding that sentences a particular constraint would have an ERP signature like 21b showed an increase in amplitude of a in common.
For example, one would expect sentences component known as the anterior midline field like those in 20 to pattern with AMF , relative to sentences like 21a. In two other, superficially quite dissimilar, syn- Until this is established, it is difficult to exclude More recent work has endeavored to find evi- [Regular meaning] dence for the same neurophysiological response to b The nimble climber imagined the ice different syntactic configurations in order to asso- survivable even though others did not.
Pylkkanen and colleagues have something, i. In one, Brennan and in 22b , e. Finding the AMF the aspectual type required by the meaning of the in sentences like 21b , 22b , and 23b supports sentence as a whole. For example, the verb sneeze the claim that a common operation is involved in often denotes a single instance of the event of sneez- all three instances of semantic mismatch, independent ing a punctual reading , as in 21a ; however, some of their syntactic form.
Any particular technique conclusion. Chomsky N. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cam- Labov W.
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