Archive for the ‘The syntax-phonology interface’ Category

get ’em, stop it, gimme

May 4, 2019

Among the everyday examples of a phenomenon subjected to analysis in an awesome new paper by Joan Bresnan, “On Weak Object Pronouns in English”, which she will present at the Lexical Functional Grammar conference this July in Canberra (LFG2019, 8-10 July, sponsored by the ARC’s [Australian Research Council] Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, program on-line here).

Joan’s paper is a demonstration of what can be done with serious resources — really big databases, serious statistical tools, complex analytic tools — in investigating  very ordinary, but intricately structured, phenomena, and in how you might try to integrate the approaches of usage-based frameworks with those of formal grammar.

For me the paper has a special resonance, because the analysis develops some ideas of mine in a little note from 1986 that appeared only in a working papers volume and has mostly gone unnoticed since then: “The Unaccented Pronoun Constraint in English” (OSU Working Papers in Linguistics 32.100-113, 1986).

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