MGs do not struggle (as much as you think) with multiple wh-movement

🕑 15 min • 👤 Thomas Graf • 📆 July 23, 2021 in Discussions • 🏷 Minimalist grammars, movement, multiple wh-movement, transductions, first-order logic

In February I had a nice chat with Bob Frank and Tim Hunter regarding their SCiL paper on comparing tree-construction methods across mildly context-sensitive formalisms. Among other things, this paper reiterates the received view that MGs cannot handle unbounded multiple wh-movement. That is certainly true for standard MGs as defined in Stabler (1997), but my argument was that this is due to what may now be considered an idiosyncrasy of the definition. We can relax that definition to allow for multiple wh-movement while preserving essential formal properties of MGs. However, friendly chats aren’t a good format for explaining this in detail, so I promised them an Outdex post with some math. Well, 5 months later, I finally make good on my promise.

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Logical transductions: Bats, butterflies, and the paradox of an almighty God

🕑 14 min • 👤 Thomas Graf • 📆 September 21, 2020 in Tutorials • 🏷 formal language theory, transductions, subregular, first-order logic

Since we recently a had a post about Engelfriet’s work on transductions and logic, I figured I’d add a short tutorial that combines the two and talks a bit about logical transductions. I won’t touch on concrete linguistic issues in this post, but I will briefly dive into some implications for how MGs push PF and LF directly into “syntax” (deliberate scare quotes). I also have an upcoming post on representations and features that is directly informed by the logical transduction framework. So if you don’t read anything here unless it engages directly with linguistics, you might still want to make an exception this time, even if today’s post is mostly logic and formulas.

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