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Title:Extraction, Gradedness, and Optimality
Authors:Frank Keller
Comment:In Alexis Dimitriadis, Laura Siegel, Clarissa Surek-Clark, and Alexander Williams, eds., Proceedings of the 21st Annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium, 169-186. Philadelphia, 1997.
Abstract:Recently, a number of researcher have proposed the use of experimental methods to elicit acceptability judgments, thus addressing the shortcomings of the conventional intuitive way of gathering linguistic data (cf. Bard et al. 1996, Cowart 1997, Schütze 1996). The use of experimental methods allows to handle inter- and intraspeaker variation and to control for known biases on judgment behavior (cf. Schütze 1996). An experimental approach seems particularly important for the study of linguistic phenomena involving degrees of grammaticality, and recently, several experimental investigation of gradedness have become available (cf. Cowart 1994, Keller 1996a,b, Neville 1991). So far, however, no theoretical framework exists that offers a systematic way of dealing with graded data.

This paper addresses the problem of accounting for graded data in linguistic theory. As a model for graded grammaticality, we propose an extended version of Optimality Theory, relying on the concept of ranked grammatical constraints that is independently motivated in Optimality Theory. In this model, the ranking of constraints induces a ranking of linguistic structures, and degrees of grammaticality emerge as a property of suboptimal structures. We show in detail how this framework can be used to account for extraction from picture NPs based on graded experimental data.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1