By Misha Becker
This ebook explains a widely known puzzle that helped catalyze the institution of generative syntax: how youngsters tease aside different syntactic constructions linked to sentences like John is easy/eager to delight. the reply lies in animacy: taking the basis that matters are animate, the e-book argues that youngsters can take advantage of the incidence of an inanimate topic as a cue to a non-canonical constitution, during which that topic is displaced (the ebook is easy/*eager to read). the writer makes use of facts from a variety of linguistic subfields, together with syntactic concept, typology, language processing, conceptual improvement, language acquisition, and computational modeling, exposing readers to those other kinds of information in an available approach. The theoretical claims of the publication extend the well known hypotheses of syntactic and semantic bootstrapping, leading to larger assurance of the middle ideas of language acquisition. it is a must-read for researchers in language acquisition, syntax, psycholinguistics and computational linguistics.
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Extra info for The Acquisition of Syntactic Structure: Animacy and Thematic Alignment
B. Theresai is too intelligent [Opi [PROarb to select t i for guard duty]]. Again, though, degree constructions differ from true tough-constructions in that they disallow an expletive subject (*It is too intelligent to select Theresa). A further type of adjective that is sometimes grouped together with toughadjectives is pretty, as in Birds are pretty to look at, since only the object-gap reading is possible (this is the object deletion construction; cf. Lasnik and Fiengo (1974)). However, Anderson (2005) cautions against this grouping, since the matrix subject is the thematic subject of the main predicate (Birds are pretty) and thus not underlyingly an empty position.
9781107007840AR” — 2013/11/18 — 20:08 — page 32 — #48 32 Syntax of displacing and non-displacing predicates Tough-adjectives also permit a gerundive or infinitive clause subject (which itself contains an arbitrary PRO subject), and no infinitive complement. (39) [Seeing the mountain/To see the mountain] is easy. (40) * [Seeing the mountain/To see the mountain] is eager. In contrast, control adjectives permit a simple referential (animate) NP subject and no infinitive predicate (41), while tough-adjectives do not (42).
The reason for abstracting away from these types of constructions is that I am interested in how children learn the selectional properties of main predicates, and copular constructions lack main predicates. “9781107007840AR” — 2013/11/18 — 20:08 — page 17 — #33 Raising-to-subject and subject control 17 In these respects, raising verbs like seem contrast with control verbs, like claim. In (3), John is a thematic argument of claim, and it is also semantically related to the predicate in the complement clause.