Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia
Iuss Linguistic Seminars
“MINIMALIST PARSING AS A PSYCHOLINGUISTIC MODEL”
April 12th 2021, 17.00
Aniello De Santo – University of Utah
Andrea Moro – University School for Advanced Studies, IUSS Pavia
Computational models grounded in rich grammatical formalisms can be used to explore whether --- and to which degree --- the structural representations hypothesized by generative linguists are relevant to sentence processing. In this talk, I present a line of work exploring how a top-down parser for Minimalist grammars (Stabler, 1996; MGs) can explain well-known contrasts in off-line sentence processing in terms of subtle structural differences. This model is especially suited to probe the relation between syntactic and processing complexity, as it specifies: 1) a formalized theory of syntax; 2) a sound and complete parser for the grammatical formalism; 3) a linking theory between syntactic assumptions and processing behavior, in the form of metrics measuring memory usage. To exemplify the mechanisms behind the model, I discuss its performance on the off-line processing asymmetries reported for Italian post-verbal subject constructions. Then, I present ongoing work evaluating the MG parser as a good, non-probabilistic formal model of how gradient acceptability can be derived from categorical grammars. By investigating the MG model’s performance across a diverse array of processing phenomena, this project aims to add support to the psychological plausibility of fine-grained grammatical knowledge contributing to processing cost. It thus highlights the MG parsing model as a valuable, empirically grounded, theoretically insightful reframing of the Derivational Theory of Complexity (Miller and Chomsky, 1963).
Use the following link to attend: