Methodology, argumentation, evidence

A bibliography of (most of) my published papers on methodology, argumentation, and evidence (in syntax, morphology, and phonology). Most of them are not yet available on my website; I hope that eventually they will all be, but it’s a slow process getting them on-line.

Some of these papers seem rather quaint these days, since (for the most part) they assume the framework of early transformational generative grammar, which was explictly derivational: the rules of grammar were viewed as mappings of one class of representations into another; interactions between rules were seen through the metaphorical lens of temporal sequence (taking things back one step, the objects of description were representations of expressions in some formal language, rather that, say, having the rules conceptualized directly as conditions on the well-formedness of expressions in a natural language); and interactions between components of grammar were similarly seen as matters of ordering (again, taking things back a step, the assumption was that grammars were modular, with a complex architecture of modules and submodules).

Over the years, I’ve moved away from crude versions of these assumptions, to less straightforwardly derivational views: rules as positive conditions (on some class of expressions) determining well-formedness (if expression X meets these conditions, it’s well-formed), rule interactions as a logic of defaults and overrides, invocations and inheritance, and so on.

I believe that my earlier work on methodology and argumentation still has some value, but there are few hardy souls who would be willing to extract this value from the intellectual frameworks of earlier times. So it languishes, though it may be of interest to historians of the field.

All of this intersects with my interest in theory construction — well, actually in articulating reasonably precise pre-theoretical proposals for various parts of grammatical theory (this is conceptual analysis rather than theory construction proper) — and in matters of evidence (what, in particular, can facts about language use tell us about the way people’s grammars are organized?). Over the years, phenomena of variation (of many kinds) have taken a central position in my thinking, though that concern isn’t well represented in this little bibiography.

The items are numbered as they are in the main section of my full bibliography (where articles are listed; books, booklets, notes, book reviews, book notices, bibliographies, poems, and interviews are listed separately, and blog postings aren’t listed at all).

6.  Naturalness arguments in syntax. CLS 4.94-102 (1968).

13. The free-ride principle and two rules of complete assimilation in English. CLS 6.579-88 (1970).

19. Remarks on directionality. Journal of Linguistics 8.1.103-10. (1971).

20. Linguistics as chemistry: The substance theory of semantic primes. A Festschrift for Morris Halle, ed. by S. R. Anderson & Paul Kiparsky. Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1973) 467-85. [on website: “Linguistics as chemistry: The substance theory of semantic primes” (A Festschrift for Morris Halle, 1973).]

23. The strategy of generative phonology. Phonologica 1972, ed. by W. Dressler & F. Mareš. Wilhelm Fink (1975) 151-65.

24. Taking a false step. Language 50.2.215-24 (1974).

25. Homing in: On arguing for remote representations. Journal of Linguistics 10.1.55-69 (1974).

26. The analytic leap: From  ‘Some Xs are Ys’ to ‘All Xs are Ys’ . CLS 9.700-9 (1973).

30. Settling on an underlying form: The English inflectional endings. Testing Linguistic Hypotheses, ed. by D. Cohen and J. Wirth. Hemisphere Publishing Co. (1975) 120-85. [on website: “Settling on an underlying form: The English inflectional endings” (Cohen & Wirth, 1975).]

[Added 9/15/11:

35. Litmus tests, the Bloomfieldian counterrevolution, and the correspondence fallacy. Second Annual Metatheory Conference Proceedings, Dept. of Linguistics, Michigan State Univ. (1977) 93-151. [on website: “Litmus tests, the Bloomfieldian counterrevolution, and the correspondence fallacy” (Metatheory conference proceedings, 1977)]]

38. Arguing for constituents. CLS 14.503- 12 (1978).

44. “Internal” and “external” evidence in linguistics. PSA 1980, vol. 2, ed. by P. D. Asquith & R. N. Giere (1981) 598-604. Philosophy of Science Assoc.

72. The case against plain vanilla syntax. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences 15.2.205-25 (1985). [on website: “The case against plain vanilla syntax”, about unadorned phrase structure grammar and its shortcomings (Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, 1985).]

74. The general case: basic form versus default form. BLS 12.305-14 (1986).

78. In and out in phonology. OSU WPL 32.34-45 (1986).

104. Quicker, more quickly, *quicklier. Yearbook of Morphology 2.139-73 (1989). [on website: “Quicker, more quickly, *quicklier”, about comparison of adverbs in English (Yearbook of Morphology, 1989).]

4 Responses to “Methodology, argumentation, evidence”

  1. Rick Wojcik Says:

    It’s really good of you to post links to reprints here. You were always very good at teaching methodology and analysis. Lacking a good academic library now, I no longer find it so easy to gain access to things like this. So much is stored away in boxes.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Well, the links aren’t there yet. Just the references. These days, most people on the net consider traditional bibliographies to be useless; only bibliographies that provide hot links to material on the web are worth anything. I’m trying to catch up, but I’m relying on the expertise of a friend (who has a life of his own), having neither staff nor the hardware, software, and time to create these things on my own. But we’re working on it.

  2. New on my website « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] publications of mine. Some of them are in my “Methodology, argumentation, evidence” posting (indicated by M&A in the list […]

  3. More additions to my website « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] and evidence are marked with a number (from my master bibliography) and “M&A”; all the items on this topic are now on my website. “Naturalness arguments in syntax” (Chicago Linguistic Society, […]

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