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On Phrase Structure building and labeling algorithms: towards a non-uniform theory of syntactic structures

Diego Gabriel Krivochen
From the journal The Linguistic Review

Abstract

This paper argues that the theory of phrase structure a certain linguistic approach assumes implies taking a stance on the formal nature of the computational procedures that generate that phrase structure. We will proceed by critically evaluating theories of phrase structure and labeling -which implies taking a structure as a unit for the purposes of further computations-, and building on and opposing to the proposals we review, we will claim that syntactic objects are not computationally uniform, and therefore the computational system in charge of establishing dependencies between symbolic objects within the mind is not uniform as well. We argue in favor of a linguistic-cognitive model which dynamically chooses different grammars based on the complexity of the input, and is capable of assigning a mixed phrase marker to an object that presents more than one computational pattern. Empirical evidence is provided in favor of our approach to phrase structure building, and further implications for a theory of labeling and predication are discussed as prolegomena to further research.

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