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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 30 shall

John Anderson 30 shall indeed be arguing that double-motherhood is pervasive in syntactic structure, but for rather different reasons than those associated with the phonology, where dependency guarantees coordination of segments in time, an interface property not applicable as such to the syntax. 2.2 The structure of the basic unit The word classes, or primary categories, distinguished by combinations of P and N are analogous to the major classes, or primary categories, of the phonology, distinguished by combinations of V and C: these categories determine the basic order of elements in both cases. The secondary categories, involving e.g. place of articulation in phonology, and gender in syntax, provide only ‘fine tuning’ of the basic possibilities. The primary/secondary distinction among categories is a further inter-planar analogy. And the primary categories are in each case distinguished in terms of varying preponderances of the substantive features. 19 Again the analogy is limited by the need for further elaboration in the syntax, elaboration once more required by the nature of the alphabet, which involves semanticity rather than being simply perceptually based. And again we pursue this in §3. However, we can observe the similarity of basic pattern between (39), repeated here, and (65): (39) a. vowels {|V|} = 4V:0C b. sonorant consonants {V;C} = 3V:1C c. fricatives {V.C} = 2V:2C = 1V:1C d. voiced plosives {C;V} = 1V:3C e. voiceless plosives {|C|} = 0V:4C (65) a. finites: {|P|} = 4P:0N b. non-finite verbs {P;N} = 3P:1N c. adjectives {P:N} = 2P:2N = 1P:1N d. nouns {P;N} = 1P:3N e. determinatives {|N|} = 0P:4N (65.c) introduces a new relation (though already deployed, in passing, in (63.a)), represented by the colon, signalling that P and N are mutually dependent. The reason for this is the increased complexity of the representations necessary to the characterisation of syntactic primary categories, a consideration of which will, as indicated, occupy us in §3. The measures in (39) define the sonority hierarchy. Syntax displays a similar hierarchy characterised by the parallel measures in (65). Manifestations of the hierarchy (and its elaborations, involving further, more complex categories, as discussed in §3) have been described by Ross (1973), for instance, in terms of a dimension of ‘nouniness’, such that less ‘nouny’ constructions are less accessible to certain syntactic phenomena. Thus, though there is an analogy here in the need and the capacity of segmental representations to define hierarchies, the manifestations of the hierarchies in respectively syntax and phonology are rather different. And this can be associated with the domain of their respective alphabets: in phonology we are concerned with relative inherent perceptual prominence and the constraints this imposes on syllable structure; in syntax we are involved with relative access to the semantic capacity to head a fully-formed predication. Nouns, with low capacity (associated with predominance of the N feature), are prototypically not complementtaking (as I shall argue in a moment), and prototypically do not constitute the head of an independent predication; more adjectives than nouns are complemented (not just deverbal ones: aware of, close to, near (to), like, etc.), though perhaps not prototypical ones (small,

31 Structural analogy in language, and its limits old, etc.), and in many languages adjectives share ‘verbal’ properties; verbs show a fully fledged system of complementation, but only finite ones can head an unmarked independent predication. It emerges from these last remarks and comparison of the discussion of phonological transitivity and adjunction in §1.2 that also analogous in phonology and syntax is the unevenness of the distribution of complementation, adjunction and specification through the set of primary categories. Just as only vowels in English take complements, there is no complementation of prototypical nouns, with ‘nominal’ complements being restricted to deverbal nouns (such as disappearance, destruction, student, etc) and a small number of ‘inherently relational’ nouns (such as mother, side, etc.). Anderson (in press a: §4) thus argues that the high degree of parallelism attributed to the expansions of the primary categories by X-bar syntax is fallacious. By virtue of their cognitive content nouns and verbs, for instance, enter into different kinds of relationships within the expansions of the basic category: nouns allow attributive adjuncts (blonde men, men from Iceland, etc.), which permit further classification and identification, while verbs, as prototypically relational, require complements and permit circumstantial adjuncts (sang beautifully, sang at the Met, etc.). Both attributive and circumstantial adjuncts can occur with deverbal nouns, but in a certain order, as illustrated by (66): (66) a. students of physics at Cambridge from Iceland b. * students of physics from Iceland at Cambridge c. * students at Cambridge of physics from Iceland d. * students from Iceland of physics at Cambridge (66.a) shows a post-nominal complement, an attributive and a circumstantial. The attributive does not normally precede the circumstantial (66.b), nor can either of them precede the complement, as shown by (66c/d). Deverbal nouns may also be associated with an ambiguous adjunct: (67) a beautiful singer The pre-nominal adjunct in (67) may be either a circumstantial (cf. the verbal circumstantial in she dances beautifully) or attributive (where the beauty is independent of the singing). 20 If we associate complements and circumstantial adjuncts with verbs and attributive adjuncts with prototypical nouns, then we can allow for the occurrence of all of these with deverbal nouns in terms of their complex internal structure:

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