5 years ago

Structural analogy and universal grammar

Structural analogy and universal grammar

John Anderson 12

John Anderson 12 usefully be drawn only in semantic terms, i.e. in terms of semantic complements vs. semantic adjuncts. On the other hand, to return to the alleged absence of such notions from the phonology, there is a clear analogue to the syntactic set in (11) apparent in the phonological phenomena of (13): (13) a. pack b. peak c. pact d. * patc The accented checked syllabic core in (13a) requires a complement: */pa/ is not a monosyllabic item of English. Whereas the free core of (13b) does not: pea. Complement and adjunct are combined in (13c), in that order – cf. (13d), which, like (11d), would involve ‘tangling’. Exactly analogous representations to those in (12) are arguably appropriate: (14) a. • | • • : : : : • : : : : : : p a k b. • | • • : | : • • : : : : : : p i: k c. • | • • : | : • • : : : : : • : : : : : : : : : p a k t

13 Structural analogy and universal grammar d. • | • • : | : • • : : : : : : • : : : : : : : : * p a t k (12) and (14) involve respectively syntactic and phonological manifestations of the transplanar cognitively-based relation of dependency, including the complement/adjunct distinction. Of course, it seems that various structural properties are elaborated further in the syntax than in the phonology. This is unsurprising, given the difference in the size of vocabulary which is available as realisations of the respective alphabets of categories, and given the relationship between the planes, such that, to repeat the words of Martinet (1957: 105), ‘on parle pour être compris, et l’expression est au service du contenu’. However, there is a need for caution in dismissing from phonology properties alleged to be characteristically syntactic. Carr, in an aside (2000: 90), claims that ‘recursion’ is absent from phonological structures. But phenomena associated with cyclicity, however they are to be treated, have been associated by different investigators with both the syntax and the phonology (cf. e.g. the contributions to Denton et al. 1992), and various researchers (cf. e.g. Anderson 1986b) have argued for nesting of tone units within one another. Certainly, physical limitations impose an obvious constraint on the elaboration of nestings in a way that they can be regarded as not directly impinging on potential nestings in the syntax. But this again is a reflection of the relationship between the planes and of the more circumscribed cognitive domain inhabited by phonology. Likewise, the fact that syntax is structurally more elaborated than phonology is not in itself a problem for Carstairs- McCarthy’s (1999) view that syntactic organisation has its source in phonology, given a shared ‘core’ of properties. But that is a whole other debate... It is important to recognise that we are still in a poor position (perhaps no better than Bazell’s – recall the comment (1949a: 86) cited above) to fully evaluate the extent of syntax/phonology analogy. Thus, it is unsafe to assume that any particular allegedly syntactic property necessarily lacks a phonological analogy. Take, for instance, the notion ‘specifier’. I’m not sure that, as deployed in various syntactic analyses, this is a coherent notion. This is even more the case than with ‘complement’ or ‘government’. There is is not a lot of clarity or detail in proposed characterisations I am aware of beyond an agreed association with the first-dependent place in (the equivalents of) a representation such as (15), i.e. a, where the uppermost node is the maximal projection of the head category b:

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