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What's in the middle? Reflections on Brown et al. (2001)
Artur Stepanov, unpublished conference contribution

Keywords: intermediate acceptability rating, experimental syntax, multiple wh-question, Superiority effect
Published in RUNG: 03.05.2023; Views: 343; Downloads: 0
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Experimental syntax and Slavic languages
Arthur Stepanov, 2021, independent scientific component part or a chapter in a monograph

Abstract: The chapter reviews a number of empirical domains that recently came into the focus of research in Slavic experimental syntax, including island phenomena, syntactic Superiority effects, various types of agreement, word order, and scope interaction, among others. This research mostly relies on sentence acceptability experiments applied across larger pools of participants, but the chapter also reviews selected studies using related experimental methods (e.g. elicited production and sentence–picture verification). The chapter concludes by identifying a number of conceptual issues in syntactic theory, for which we believe Slavic experimental syntax has a potential to make a particularly strong contribution.
Keywords: experimental syntax, Slavic language, syntactic island, unaccusativity, information structure, superiority effect, case matching, agreement, numeral phrase
Published in RUNG: 20.12.2021; Views: 1381; Downloads: 12
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The nominal structure of clausal complements: An experimental study of wh-extraction in Bulgarian
Arthur Stepanov, Iliyana Krapova, 2021, published scientific conference contribution

Keywords: wh-extraction, experimental syntax, propositional attitude verb, Bulgarian
Published in RUNG: 21.06.2021; Views: 1592; Downloads: 0
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Adjective ordering and extralinguistic cognition
Franc Marušič, Petra Mišmaš, Rok Žaucer, Luka Komidar, Gregor Sočan, 2021, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: adjectives, general cognition, experimental syntax, cognitive foundations, syntax
Published in RUNG: 14.05.2021; Views: 1603; Downloads: 54
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Measuring free word order: Some empirical and modeling perspectives
Artur Stepanov, invited lecture at foreign university

Abstract: Languages manifesting flexibility of word order (within the sentence's compositional meaning) have always presented a challenge for modern theories of syntax requiring any deviation from the canonical word order to be grammatically motivated. Parasyntactic motivations such as information structural or stylistic requirements may account for some portion of this flexibility, but not all of it. In addition, native speakers do not necessarily accept canonical and non-canonical word orders to an equal extent. In fact, the latter typically receive lower acceptability scores than the former, albeit above the subjective threshold for what would count as "ungrammatical". Some of the combinatorially possible word orders are not acceptable at all. In this experimental study we scrutinize different word order sequences in a free word order language (Serbo-Croatian) and attempt to isolate independent displacement factors responsible for various elements of the sentence appearing away from their canonical structural positions. We explore differential and cumulative effects of these independent factors to predict speakers' acceptability scores.
Keywords: Free word order, experimental syntax, Serbo-Croatian, sentence acceptability task
Published in RUNG: 11.02.2021; Views: 2044; Downloads: 0
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Can we explain strict ordering restrictions with extralinguistic properties?
Franc Marušič, Petra Mišmaš, Rok Žaucer, Luka Komidar, Gregor Sočan, unpublished conference contribution

Abstract: Cartographic approach to syntax models strict universal word orders with a universal hierarchy of functional projections. For example, universal order of adjectives [Adjs] (cf. Hetzron 1978, Sproat & Shih 1991, etc.), supposedly comes from a universal hierarchy of FPs which host specific types of Adjs (Scott 2002). Adopting this as a premise, we explore the origin of this hierarchy, i.e., the origin of the specific ordering of individual FPs in the functional hierarchy and thus the origin in which Adjs end up being linearized.
Keywords: adjectives, cartography, universal hierarchy of functional projections, general cognition, experimental syntax, cognitive foundations of syntax
Published in RUNG: 16.10.2020; Views: 2247; Downloads: 0
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Looking for Cognitive Foundations of Functional Sequences
Franc Marušič, Petra Mišmaš, Rok Žaucer, 2019, published scientific conference contribution

Abstract: With the multiplication of various functional projections, syntactic structures became very complex entities. Approaches like Cartography (e.g. Cinque and Rizzi 2008) went one step further than most other approaches, proposing that each sentence comprises of a number of universal, strictly ordered functional projections. In the noun phrase, the strictly ordered functional projections are said to be responsible not only for the relative order of numerals, demonstratives and nouns (cf. Cinque 2005), but also for the universal order of various types of adjectives (cf. Hetzron 1978; Sproat and Shih 1991; Cinque 1994; Scott 2002, etc.). Cinque and Rizzi (2008) discuss possible origins of the many hierarchies of functional projections and suggest that they might derive from general cognition. If cognition and its restrictions are behind the hierarchy of functional projections, then the order of projections hosting adjectives should be reflected in various non-linguistic cognitive processes. We designed several experiments to test this hypothesis. Our experiments did not confirm our hypothesis; but as we have also identified problems in the design of our experiments, our results do not warrant a clear rejection of the hypothesis either.
Keywords: noun phrase, adjective ordering restrictions, functional hierarchy, experimental syntax, cognitive foundations of syntax
Published in RUNG: 22.11.2019; Views: 2491; Downloads: 0
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Elided Clausal Conjunction Is Not the Only Source of Closest‐Conjunct Agreement: A Picture‐Matching Study
Boban Arsenijević, Jana Willer-Gold, Nadira Aljović, Nermina Čordalija, Marijana Kresić, Nedžad Leko, Frane Malenica, Franc Marušič, Tanja Milićev, Nataša Milićević, Petra Mišmaš, Ivana Mitić, Anita Peti-Stantić, Branimir Stanković, Jelena Tušek, Andrew Nevins, 2019, original scientific article

Abstract: A recurring hypothesis about the agreement phenomena generalized as closest‐conjunct agreement takes this pattern to result from reduced clausal conjunction, simply displaying the agreement of the verb with the nonconjoined subject of the clause whose content survives ellipsis (Aoun, Benmamoun & Sportiche 1994, 1999; see also Wilder 1997). Closest‐conjunct agreement is the dominant agreement pattern in the South Slavic languages Slovenian and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. A natural question is whether closest‐conjunct agreement in these varieties may indeed be analyzed as entirely derived from conjunction reduction. In this article, we report on two experiments conducted to test this. The results reject the hypothesis as far as these languages are concerned, thereby upholding the relevance of models developed to account for closest‐conjunct agreement within theories of agreement.
Keywords: Conjunct agreement, Clausal conjunction, Experimental syntax
Published in RUNG: 08.04.2019; Views: 11538; Downloads: 134
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Two (non-)islands in Slovenian : A study in experimental syntax
Arthur Stepanov, Manca Mušič, Penka Stateva, 2018, original scientific article

Abstract: There exists a controversy in the literature and among the speakers of Slovenian concerning the grammaticality of wh-island and subject island constructions in this language. We conducted an acceptability rating study of wh-islands and subject islands in Slovenian, using the factorial definition of island. This definition provides for a possibility to isolate a true island effect while controlling for two complexity factors that potentially interfere in speakers’ evaluation of the relevant sentences: the length of the respective movement dependency and the presence of an island structure itself. We found that (i) Slovenian speakers do judge the wh-island sentences worse than the respective controls, but the observed degradation cannot be attributed to a true island effect; (ii) subject extraction out of a wh-island leads to a so called reverse island effect whereby the acceptability is higher than expected even if the above two complexity factors are taken into consideration; and (iii) speakers are sensitive to the subject island effect, as predicted by the mainstream theories of syntactic locality. The results of our study contribute to establishing a solid empirical base for further theoretical investigations of the island effects and raise new questions about the role of processing factors in speakers’ evaluations of island constructions.
Keywords: syntactic island, experimental syntax, Subjacency, Empty Category Principle, Slovenian
Published in RUNG: 11.06.2018; Views: 3756; Downloads: 0
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When linearity prevails over hierarchy in syntax
Franc Marušič, Tina Šuligoj, 2017, original scientific article

Abstract: Hierarchical structure has been cherished as a grammatical universal. We use experimental methods to show where linear order is also a relevant syntactic relation. An identical methodology and design were used across six research sites on South Slavic languages. Experimental results show that in certain configurations, grammatical production can in fact favor linear order over hierarchical structure. However, these findings are limited to coordinate structures and distinct from the kind of production errors found with comparable configurations such as “attraction” errors. The results demonstrate that agreement morphology may be computed in a series of steps, one of which is partly independent from syntactic hierarchy.
Keywords: experimental syntax, syntactic agreement, elicited language production, coordinated, noun phrases, South Slavic languages
Published in RUNG: 15.01.2018; Views: 3724; Downloads: 181
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