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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 32 (68)

John Anderson 32 (68) {N;P} | {N;P} { \N;P} | : {P;N} : | : {P;N/{ }} { \{P;N}} : : : : : { } : : : : : : : : : : students of physics at Cambridge from Iceland Recall that {N;P} is the representation for nouns, and that {P;N} represents lexical verbs (cf. (65). The higher, attributive adjunct is associated with the {N;P}, and the others with the {P;N}; and the linear order is in conformity with height and thus projectivitypreserving: there is no interruption of constructions by elements from outside the construction. Cf. e.g. (69): (69) {N;P} | {N;P} { \N;P} | : {P;N} : | : {P;N/{ }} : { \P;N}} : : : : { } : : : : : : : : : : students of physics from Iceland at Cambridge I have suppressed much of the category information in (68) and (69) (as well as the internal structure of the post-nominal phrases). This is because this would involve categorial elaborations which we shall be looking at in the following section on possibly nonanalogous aspects of syntax. 21 The representations in (39) and (65) also provide an inherent measure of markedness (as well as sonority/‘nouniness’) in terms, in this case, of their relative simplicity (Anderson & Ewen 1987: §1.3.2, Anderson 1997: §2.4). Thus, for instance, adjectives emerge as rather complex, in involving two features in a double dependency, a relation of mutual preponderance. Anderson (1997: 62) suggests the metric in (70), based on complexity of feature combination.: (70) markedness metric 0 , = 1 ; = 2 : = 3

33 Structural analogy in language, and its limits This seems to be in accord with their non-universality and late acquisition as a distinct class (Anderson 2001b: 176). The particular complexity – {P:N} = {P;N},{N;P} – also correlates well with the fact that in adjective-less languages items that would be adjectives in other languages are either verbs – {P;N} – or nouns – {N;P} (Dixon 1982: ch.1). In some languages (such as Cherokee – Lindsay & Scancarelli 1985) all adjectives are derived from either verbs or adjectives. Most relevantly, however, complexity correlates here with markedness. Similarly, a language may lack fricatives ( = 2, by (70), if we equate ‘.’ with ‘;’, the former not being included in Anderson’s formulation of the metric) but not oral stops ( = 0) and a language is unlikely to have fewer stops than fricatives (and fewer voiceless stops than voiced ( = 2)) – see e.g. Nartey (1979). Although, as e.g. Menn & Stoel-Gammon (1995: 348) and Heijkoop (1998) observe, there is much individual variation in order of acquisition of categories, the primacy of stops clearly emerges in studies of phonological acquisition and loss (cf. e.g. Menn & Stoel-Gammon 1995: 348, Dinnsen et al 1990). Other factors are involved, though. In, for instance, the data studied by Heijkoop (1998: part II, §3), a nasal stop, with a typical adult specification involving simple combination, of a sonorant and a stop specification, {(V;C),V}, is often the first realisation in acquisition combining a vowel representation with a consonantal, {V,C} (cf. too again Dinnsen et al 1990) – though in other cases a fricative occupies this position. Fricatives, in adult language typically{V.C}, make a plausible first combination of V and C. Nasals, however, are not the simplest of categories. But they may represent the simplest way in terms of performance to combine a vowel-like and a consonantal articulation, a notion consistent with their frequency (particularly that of [m] – Locke 1983) in babbling. (For an attempt to formulate a hierarchy of opposition acquisition that would accommodate this and other aspects of categorial representation see Anderson 1997b.) In the two planes, markedness clearly relates to interface properties to do with maximisation of perceptual and cognitive differentiation, so that verb and noun and vowel and consonant, respectively, are maximally opposed. But this interface-based distinction yields in both cases to the same kind of formal characterisation, as embodied in (39) and (65). I have tried in what precedes to illustrate some of the detailed formal analogies that have been attributed to the two planes of syntax and phonology. I have not belaboured here manifestations of obvious properties such as the crucial part played not just by the dependency relation itself but by this relation’s being deployed as part of (directed connected) trees in both planes – although I did point to the sharing by syntax and phonology of the availability of double-motherhood (recall (30) and (64) above). The analogies we have considered involve aspects of structure that are relatively independent of the substance of the respective categorial alphabets and thus of properties that are purely interface. In so far as linearity correlates with substance, ultimately time, it is perhaps exceptional here in pervading both phonology and syntax. As we have observed, however, it is only marginally contrastive in the phonology; and with respect to the syntax it is not a lexical property, but is derivative of other aspects of syntax (argument structure, weight, pragmatic considerations such as empathy, textual considerations such as focus, etc.). Though linearity is crucial to expression and perception, its independence of other aspects of language structure is marginal. 2.3 Extrasegmentals: harmony, underspecification and opacity The linearity analogy, however, can be argued to extend, more interestingly, to the ‘multilinearity’ associated with many current approaches to phonology: syntax is ‘autosegmen-

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