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11 - The role of experimental syntax in an integrated cognitive science of language

from Part II - Mind, brain, behavior

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2013

Cedric Boeckx
Affiliation:
The Catalan Institute for Advanced Studies
Kleanthes K. Grohmann
Affiliation:
University of Cyprus
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Summary

This chapter discusses the role of experimental syntax in the construction of an integrated cognitive science of language. It presents a view of syntactic theory as a computational level description of a part of the human language faculty. The first major obstacle to the construction of an integrated theory of language, the black box problem, presents a framework for investigating the empirical contribution of experimental syntax, and second major obstacle presents a framework for understanding the historical and sociological context of recent investigations of experimental syntax. The chapter examines how can experimental syntax help establish confidence in the acceptability judgments reported in the syntactic literature. It reviews two ways in which experimental syntax has added to the understanding of the nature of syntactic theory: (i) testing reductionist claims about the correct locus of acceptability judgment effects, and (ii) examining the complex theoretical issues surrounding the interpretation of continuous acceptability judgments.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

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