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Structural analogy in language and its limits [Contrast and analogy v.2]

Structural analogy in language and its limits [Contrast and analogy v.2]

John Anderson 28 (62)

John Anderson 28 (62) structural analogy assumption Minimise (more strongly, eliminate) differences between levels that do not follow from a difference in alphabet or from the nature of the relationship between the levels concerned Phonology and syntax are different (sets of) levels: this is ensured merely by the difference in alphabet, where the alphabet of a level is the basic set of categories out of which representation are constructed. Levels differing in alphabet can be said to belong to different planes. And the planes of syntax and phonology are related in a particular way: typically, phonology is seen as interpretative of syntax. Golston formulates the relationship as ‘syntax outranks phonology’ (1995: title). What I want to go on and examine here is some of the ways in which the different characters of the alphabets limit the scope for analogy. We shall find that closeness of analogy between syntax and phonology reflects distance of a property from a purely interface orientation. 2.1 Transitivity and ambidependents I have just suggested that there are in the syntax analogues to the head-based concepts – complement, adjunct, specifier – deployed in §1 in relation to the phonology. (63) illustrates the categorial and structural parallelisms involved: (63) a. {P:N{grad}} | {\{P:N{grad}}} {P:N{grad}} : : : : very difficult b. {P;N} | {P;N} {N\{P;N}} : : : : died yesterday c. {P;N} | {P;N/{N}} {N\{P;N}} : : : {N} : : : : : : : visited Mary yesterday (63.a) contains a specifier, (b) an adjunct and (c) a complement and adjunct – all of them rather uncontroversially claimed here to be such. In the primary-categorial representations given here, P is a notional feature of ‘predicability’, N of naming or ‘referentiability’; names (and pronouns), which are non-predicable (so that James in That is James is equative not predicative), are characterised by N alone, the lexical verb has a preponderance of P, and with the adjective we have mutual preponderance of P and N, indicated by ‘:’. I return to the primary-categorial characterisations, including this new possibility in-

29 Structural analogy in language, and its limits volving ‘:’, in (63) in a moment. Very in (63.a) is specified as selecting the grad(able) secondary category of adjective. What I want to illustrate at this point is that the structures in (63) involve the same structural relations as we found in our discussion of phonological representation; recall the representation in (30): (30) {V} | {C\{V}} {V} | | {\{|C|}} {C\{V}} {V} : | | : {C\{V}} {C\{V}\{C}} {V} : : : | : : : {V} {cor,obs\{V}} : : : | : : : : {V/{C}} {C\{V}} : : : : : | : : : : : {C\{C}} {C\{V}} : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : s + k + r + i + m + p + s /i/ in (30) shows the complement and adjunct relations associated with visited in (63.c), whereas died in (63.b) is intransitive, like a vowel such as /i:/. The specifier very in (63.a) is paralleled by the /s/ in (30). Actually, (30) simplifies somewhat in a way so far not unacknowledged: just as very selects only gradable adjectives, so the /s/ in (30) and the like selects specifically unaspirated (as well as unvoiced) plosives to modify. (30) also shows double-motherhood, or ambidependency, as with /r/ and /m/. There are motivations for recognising this as appropriate in the syntax also, as in a structure such as (64): (64) {P;N/{P;N}} : : {P;N/{N}} : : : {N} : : : : : : : saw him die In (64), die selects for a particular kind of {N}, but the morphology of the {N} in (64) reveals that this complement is also a dependent of saw, with the verbal configuration imposing objective case, even though saw is not subcategorised for him, but rather simply for a verbal construction in this case. A fuller explication of the syntax involved here (including e.g. some explication of the treatment of the {N} as a complement of die) will require some further elaboration of the content of syntactic structure, some of which elaboration goes beyond what we have found in the phonology. §3 argues that these ‘elaborations’ are motivated by the character of the alphabet of syntax. At this point I merely want to record in a preliminary fashion that double-motherhood is not necessarily limited to phonology. I

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