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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 84 (189)

John Anderson 84 (189) {P//{ {loc{X}}} | { {abs}} {P;N} : : { {loc}{X}} : { {abs,erg}} | : : {N} : {N} : : : : : : Here comes Charley The ‘X’ represents any of the eligible items. Here the upper {P} replaces the {P} introduced by (157); they are mutually exclusive. The sentence lacks a syntactic subject. Again concord is realised on the nearest superordinate finite. The relevance of these various ectopic constructions to our ongoing discussion is that they all illustrate the role of thematic factors – topicality, contrast, focus, empathy – in accounting for ectopicity, even where the construction has been grammaticalised and/or lexicalised. The lack of phonological analogies to such ectopicities follows from their semantic motivation, i.e. interface requirements on the syntax which are absent from phonology, and from the problems that ectopicity would present for interface requirements on the phonology. Linearity within the syllable is almost entirely invariant, and determined largely by sonority plus primitive distinctions between complement, adjunct and specifier. Dependency relations in the phonology are reflected in relative timing, and there thus can be no argument-sharing between elements in different syllables, except at the boundary (ambisyllabicity). As observed in §1.2, it seems that we can require projectivity (‘notangling’) of phonological representations. This is ensured if ambidependency occurs only where syllables meet and not otherwise across boundaries, i.e. if it is limited to ambisyllabicity. Ambidependency in syntax is not limited in this way. (179.a-c) all involve ‘tangling’, induced by cross-clausal argument-sharing. The kind of more radical argumentsharing that we find in the syntax is allowed for by the development of functional categories, particularly functors. Functional categories, with their variant modes of realisation – as separate word, as affix, as lexically incorporated – are also inimical to the interface properties of the phonology. Functional categories also constitute one element in the constraining of projectivity violations. In all the cases we have looked at the violation is associated with argumentsharing by functional categories. Such argument-sharing need not involve ‘tangling’, as can be seen in several of the structures we have been discussing. Thus, in (177) not all of the sharing of arguments involves violation of projectivity:

85 Structural analogy in language, and its limits (177) {P} | { {abs}} {P;N/{loc.erg}} : : { {loc,erg} : { {abs}} {P;N,*P/P;N} | : : : {N} : { {abs}} : {P;N/{loc,erg},{abs}} : : : : : : : { {loc,erg}} : : { {abs}} : : | : : | : : {N} : : {N} : : : : : : : : : : : : Fritz expects John to know that Indeed, only the arc linking the know verb with John introduces ‘tangling’. ‘Tangling’ is also restricted in all the cases we have looked at to circumstances where one of the sharing functors is a free abs, an { {abs}} not included in the subcategorisation of the predicator it is dependent on but introduced by a universal requirement that every predicator contain an {abs} functor. Conclusion I have sought here to identify various formal properties that are shared by phonology and syntax; their existence is consistent with the structural analogy assumption, which leads us to expect such property-sharing, except when this is frustrated by the different interface requirements on syntax and phonology and the relationship between the two planes. Some of these properties are associated with the notion ‘head’: crucially there are the distinctions between complement, adjunct and specifier. In §1 I tried to show that these are fundamental to the phonology in being potentially contrastive. The syntactic analogies to these head-based notions were explored in §2, as well as the analogical composition of categories on the two planes. These were supplemented in that section by further analogies, perhaps in this case more familiar in their phonological guise, involving extrasegmental/clausal elements, analogies to do with ‘harmony’, ‘umlaut’ and ‘polysystemicity’, in particular. A range of phenomena in a range of languages testifies to the appropriateness of analogous analyses in the two planes. However, the nature of the respective interfaces of syntax and phonology limit the extent of analogical patterning. Crucially, the semanticity of syntax demands structural distinctions not required in the phonology. These elaborations are also incompatible with the restrictions imposed by the nature of the physical medium of transmission with which the phonology interfaces. §3 tried to illustrate both these aspects in relation to the development of functional and derivational categories and extended embedding as a response to the need for the syntax to express complex cognitive ‘scenes’, and in relation to the kind of ‘displacements’ that we can associate with wh-forms in English. These latter are associated with the referential aspect of syntactic representations and specifically with the expression of their thematic, or discoursal structure.

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