Now showing items 1-6 of 6
Necessary Bias in Natural Language Learning
This dissertation investigates the mechanism of language acquisition given the boundary conditions provided by linguistic representation and the time course of acquisition. Exploration of the mechanism is vital once we ...
On Formal Feature Licensing in Minimalism: Aspects of Standard Arabic Morphosyntax
This dissertation investigates a set of phenomena in Standard Arabic at the syntax-morphology interface, providing an analysis for each within the assumptions of the minimalist program, particularly those related to ...
(DIS)AGREE: MOVEMENT AND AGREEMENT RECONSIDERED
This dissertation examines Agree, a narrow syntactic, long-distance operation underlying phi-agreement in the grammar. Taking the strong minimalist thesis (cf. Chomsky 2000) as my point of departure, I question Agree on ...
Language-Specific Constraints on Scope Interpretation in First Language Acquisition
This dissertation investigates the acquisition of language-specific constraints on scope interpretation by Japanese preschool children. Several constructions in Japanese do not allow scope interpretations that the corresponding English sentences do allow. First, in Japanese transitive sentences with multiple quantificational arguments, an inverse scope interpretation is disallowed, due to the Rigid Scope Constraint. Second, Japanese logical connectives cannot be interpreted under the scope of local negation, due to their Positive Polarity. Thirdly, in Japanese infinitival complement constructions with implicative matrix verbs like wasureru ("forget") the inverse scope interpretation is required, due to the Anti-Reconstruction Constraint. The main goal of this research is to determine how Japanese children learn these constraints on scope interpretations. To that end, three properties of the acquisition task that have an influence on the learnability of linguistic knowledge are examined: productivity, no negative evidence, and arbitrariness. The results of experimental investigations show that Japanese children productively generate scope interpretations that are never exemplified in the input. For example, with sentences that contain two quantificational arguments, Japanese children accessed inverse scope interpretations that Japanese adults do not allow. Also, Japanese children interpret the disjunction ka under the scope of local negation, which is not a possible interpretive option in the adult language. These findings clearly show that children do not acquire these scope constraints through conservative learning, and raise the question of how they learn to purge their non-adult interpretations. It is argued that input data do not provide learners with negative evidence (direct or indirect) against particular scope interpretations. Two inherent properties of input data about possible scope interpretations, data sparseness and indirectness, make negative evidence too unreliable as a basis for discovering what scope interpretation is impossible. In order to solve the learnability problems that children's scope productivity raise, I suggest that the impossibility of their non-adult interpretations are acquired by learning some independently observable properties of the language. In other words, the scope constraints are not arbitrary in the sense that their effects are consequences of other properties of the grammar of Japanese....
A program for experimental syntax: Finding the relationship between acceptability and grammatical knowlege
There has always been interest in the methodology of acceptability judgment collection, as well as the reliability of the results. It seems, though, that the past several years have seen an increase in the number of studies ...
Spin: Lexical Semantics, Transitivity, and the Identification of Implicit Sentiment
Current interest in automatic sentiment analysis is motivated by a variety of information requirements. The vast majority of work in sentiment analysis has been specifically targeted at detecting subjective statements and ...