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Efficiency and Complexity in Grammars - John A. Hawkins

Efficiency and Complexity in Grammars


Published: 1st October 2004
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This book addresses a question fundamental to any discussion of grammatical theory and grammatical variation: to what extent can principles of grammar be explained through language use? John A. Hawkins argues that there is a profound correspondence between performance data and the fixed conventions of grammars. Preferences and patterns found in the one, he shows, are reflected in constraints and variation patterns in the other. The theoretical consequences of the proposed 'performance-grammar correspondence hypothesis' are far-reaching -- for current grammatical formalisms, for the innateness hypothesis, and for psycholinguistic models of performance and learning. Drawing on empirical generalizations and insights from language typology, generative grammar, psycholinguistics, and historical linguistics, Professor Hawkins demonstrates that the assumption that grammars are immune to performance is false. He presents detailed empirical case studies and arguments for an alternative theory in which performance has shaped the conventions of grammars and thus the variation patterns found in the world's languages. The innateness of language, he argues, resides primarily in the mechanisms human beings have for processing and learning it. This important book will interest researchers in linguistics (including typology and universals, syntax, grammatical theory, historical linguistics, functional linguistics, and corpus linguistics), psycholinguistics (including parsing, production, and acquisition), computational linguistics (including language-evolution modelling and electronic corpus development); and cognitive science (including the modeling of the performance-competence relationship, pragmatics, and relevance theory).

Jack Hawkins has long been a trail-blazer in the attempt to reconcile the results of formal and functional linguistics. Efficiency and Complexity in Grammars charts new territory in this domain. The book argues persuasively that a small number of performance-based principles combine to account for many grammatical constraints proposed by formal linguists and also explain the origins of numerous typological generalizations discovered by functionalists. Frederick J. Newmeyer, University of Washington Efficiency and Complexity in Grammars is a landmark work, setting a new standard in the study of the relationship between linguistic competence and performance. Tom Wasow, Stanford University Hawkins argues that grammars are profoundly affected by the way humans process language. He develops a simple but elegant theory of performance and grammar by drawing on concepts and data from generative grammar, linguistic typology, experimental psycholinguistics and historical linguistics. In so doing, he also makes a laudable attempt to bridge the schism between the two research traditions in linguistics, the formal and the functional. Efficiency and Complexity in Grammars is a major contribution with far-reaching consequences and implications for many of the fundamental issues in linguistic theory. This is a tremendous piece of scholarship that no linguist can afford to neglect. Jae Jung Song, University of Otago, New Zealand

1: Introduction 2: Linguistics Forms, Properties and Efficient Signaling 3: Defining the Efficiency Principles and their Predictions 4: More on Form Minimization 5: Adjacency Effects Within Phrases 6: Minimal Forms in complements/Adjuncts and Proximity 7: Relative Clause and Wh-movement Universals 8: Symmetries, Asymmetric Dependencies and Earliness Effects 9: Conclusions Abbreviations References Index of Authors Index of Languages Subject Index

ISBN: 9780199252695
ISBN-10: 0199252696
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 324
Published: 1st October 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.7 x 15.6  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.49