Thomas Wasow

Thomas Wasow
Stanford University | SU · Department of Linguistics

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84
Publications
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4,953
Citations
Citations since 2016
5 Research Items
1377 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200

Publications

Publications (84)
Chapter
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We revisited Rickford et al.’s 1995 study of topic-restricting "as far as"—e.g., “as far as linguistics is concerned” or “as far as linguistics goes,” but sometimes without verbal coda, as in simply “as far as linguistics”—to see how a variety of newer computational tools not available to the earlier study might benefit investigation of this relati...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The word "to" that precedes verbs in English infinitives is optional in at least two environments: in what Wasow et al. (2015) have called the "do-be construction", and in the complement of "help", explored in the present work. Wasow et al. found that a preceding infinitival "to" increases the use of optional following "to" in the environment they...
Article
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The English auxiliary system exhibits many lexical exceptions and subregularities, and considerable dialectal variation, all of which are frequently omitted from generative analyses and discussions. This paper presents a detailed, movement-free account of the English Auxiliary System within Sign-Based Construction Grammar (Sag 2010, Michaelis 2011,...
Chapter
The goal of describing languages systematically distinguishes the work in generative grammar, as opposed to the more anecdotal approach of traditional grammars. While it is impossible to give a precise definition of generative grammar, there are several tenets shared by the vast majority of generative grammarians. This chapter summarizes them. Earl...
Poster
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Most contemporary grammar theories are based on a sharp distinction between grammatical and ungrammatical sentences. In fact, almost all (94%) acceptability judgments published in Linguistic Inquiry 2001-2010 are either starred or unmarked, i.e. indicated as completely unacceptable or fully acceptable, even though 81% of the articles include interm...
Chapter
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The infinitival marker "to" is optional in many instances of the "do-be" construction, exemplified by sentences like "All I want to do is (to) go to work." However, it has not previously been investigated what factors govern speakers’ choices in "to" use and omission. Here, we analyze nearly 10,000 such examples from the Corpus of Contemporary Amer...
Chapter
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Article
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We explore the consequences of letting the incremental and integrative nature of language processing inform the design of competence grammar. What emerges is a view of grammar as a system of local monotonic constraints that provide a direct characterization of the signs (the form-meaning correspondences) of a given language. This "sign-based" conce...
Article
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Chapter
Introduction: Competence and PerformanceContemporary PsycholinguisticsConstraint-Based GrammarCBL Grammars and Sentence ProcessingA Minimalist AlternativeConclusions References
Conference Paper
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An exception to a non-categorical generalization consists of a lexical item that exhibits the gen- eral pattern at a rate radically different - either far higher or far lower - from the norm. Lexical differences in noun phrases containing non-subject relative clauses (NSRCs) correlate with large differences in the likelihood that the NSRC will begi...
Chapter
A number of different factors influence the ordering of constituents after the verb in English. These include the syntactic complexity of the phrases, the discourse status of the information expressed, how tightly the meaning of each constituent is connected to that of the verb, and idiosyncratic lexical biases. Perhaps surprisingly, English speake...
Article
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This paper examines a short-lived innovation, quotative all, in real and apparent time. We used a two-pronged method to trace the trajectory of all over the past two decades: (i) Quantitative analyses of the quotative system of young Californians from different decades; this reveals a startling crossover pattern: in 1990/1994, all predominates, but...
Poster
Full-text available
This study seeks to make contributions in both theoretical and methodological domains. With regard to models of linguistic cognition, evidence is offered that competence grammar includes not only probabilistic information, as suggested by prior work, but even rather fine-grained distributions. In the area of psycholinguistic experimental methods, e...
Chapter
IntroductionTenets of Generative GrammarCommon Formal ElementsSome Phenomena Studied by Generative GrammariansVarieties of Generative GrammarThe Future of Generative Grammar
Article
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abstract: this article presents,a synchronic,and,diachronic,investigation,of the lexeme,all in its intensifier and,quotative,functions. We delimit,the new,from,the old functions,of the lexeme,and present a variationist account,of all ’s external and internal constraints,in various,syntactic environments. our,analysis is based,on a variety of data s...
Article
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Generative grammarians have relied on introspective intuitions of well-formedness as their primary source of data. The overreliance on this one type of data and the unsystematic manner in which they are collected cast doubt on the empirical basis of a great deal of syntactic theorizing. These concerns are illustrated with examples and one more deta...
Article
Thesis--Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 194-199). Microfilm of typescript. [Cambridge, Mass.] : M.I.T. Libraries, 1972. 1 reel ; 35 mm.
Article
Three experiments investigated whether speakers use constituent ordering as a mechanism for avoiding ambiguities. In utterances like “Jane showed the letter to Mary to her mother,” alternate orders would avoid the temporary PP-attachment ambiguity (“Jane showed her mother the letter to Mary,” or “Jane showed to her mother the letter to Mary”). A pr...
Article
Full-text available
The placement of the particle before or after an object in the English verb-particle construction is influenced by a variety of factors. We argue that many of them can be subsumed under a single simple principle, motivated by considerations of processing efficiency: to the extent that the domains of syntactic and semantic dependencies can be minimi...
Article
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this paper is to argue, to the contrary, that the highly ambiguous character of natural languages is surprising, and that the very existence of ambiguity calls for an explanation. Section 1 clarifies what we mean by ambiguity, discussing the distinction between vagueness and ambiguity. We go on to identify several distinct types of ambiguity. Secti...
Article
This second edition of Syntactic Theory: A Formal Introduction expands and improves upon a truly unique introductory syntax textbook. Like the first edition, its focus is on the development of precisely formulated grammars whose empirical predictions can be directly tested. There is also considerable emphasis on the prediction and evaluation of gra...
Article
Full-text available
this paper I will suggest sone extensions of her proposals, and will explore some of their empirical consequences. Further, I will argue that her franleork nlakcs it possible to impose rather restrictive constraints ou grammatical theory. '[hus. I will argue that the grammatical realization problem and the problem of coustraining trausformatioual t...
Article
Full-text available
Variations in postverbal constituent ordering have been attributed to both grammatical complexity (heaviness) and discourse status (newness), although few studies compare the two factors explicitly. Through corpus analysis and experimentation, we demonstrate that both factors simultaneously and independently influence word order in two English cons...
Article
Full-text available
Variations in postverbal constituent ordering have been attributed to both grammatical complexity (heaviness) and discourse status (newness), although few studies compare the two factors explicitly. Through corpus analysis and experimentation, we demonstrate that both factors simultaneously and independently influence word order in two English cons...
Article
Speakers often repeat the first word of major constituents, as in, "I uh I wouldn't be surprised at that." Repeats like this divide into four stages: an initial commitment to the constituent (with "I"); the suspension of speech; a hiatus in speaking (filled with "uh"); and a restart of the constituent ("I wouldn't."). An analysis of all repeated ar...
Book
This second edition of "Syntactic Theory: A Formal Introduction" expands and improves upon a truly unique introductory syntax textbook. Like the first edition its focus is on the development of precisely formulated grammars whose empirical predictions can be directly tested. There is also considerable emphasis on the prediction and evaluation of gr...
Article
Full-text available
Explanations of the tendency to put long, complex constituents at the ends of sentences (end-weight) usually take the listener's perspective, claiming it facilitates parsing. I argue for a speaker-oriented explanation of end-weight, based on how it facilitates utterance planning. Parsing is facilitated when as much tree structure as possible can be...
Article
Full-text available
Long, complex phrases tend to come at the ends of clauses; this is called “endweight.” A variety of characterizations of weight have been proposed in the literature, but none has been sufficient to cover the full range of attested cases of end-weight. Corpus data on heavy NP shift, the dative alternation, and particle movement indicate that there a...
Article
Full-text available
Examples like ‘Can't nobody beat 'em.’ (‘Nobody can beat them.’) in African-American Vernacular English (aave) have the inverted form of questions but the falling intonation and sentence meaning of (emphatic) declaratives. Labov et al. (1968) concluded that this phenomenon of ‘negative inversion’ (ni) requires two overlapping but distinct syntactic...
Article
The construction as far as NP is a common topic restrictor in modern English, but its verbal coda (goes/is concerned) is often omitted. We examine potential constraints on this variation and find significant effects for syntactic, phonological, discourse mode, and social variables. The internal effects are also relevant to 'Heavy NP Shift' and othe...
Article
In the literature of generative grammar, idiomaticity has been widely identified with noncompositionality. Such a definition fails to recognize several important dimensions of idiomaticity, including, among others, conventionality and figuration. We propose to distinguish IDIOMATICALLY COMBINING EXPRESSIONS (e.g. take advantage, pull strings), whos...
Article
introduction to a few of the central issues and constructs of generative grammar / begin with a brief sketch of some results in formal language theory that have been of interest to people working on natural language / review some key ideas that played a role in the establishment and growth of generative grammar and follow with a survey of the situa...
Chapter
Generative grammarians have been studying anaphora1 for two decades, since the publication of Lees and Klima’s seminal paper, ‘Rules for English Pronominalization’. During this period, the generative literature on anaphora has grown to massive proportions. While many of the avenues explored in that literature have proved to be dead ends, and many i...
Article
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In this paper we have presented a detailed treatment of key problems in the syntax of coordination in English which goes well beyond previous treatments in the breadth of its coverage.The separation of immediate dominance rules from linear precedence rules had played an essential role in our analysis. It is this aspect of Generalized Phrase Structu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The lexicon now plays a central role in our implementation of a Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), given the massive relocation into the lexicon of linguistic information that was carried by the phrase structure rules in the old GPSG system. HPSG's grammar contains fewer than twenty (very general) rules; its predecessor required over 350...
Article
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This paper describes a natural language processing system implemented at Hewlett-Packard's Computer Research Center. The system's main components are: a Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar (GPSG); a top-down parser; a logic transducer that outputs a first-order logical representation; and a "disambiguator" that uses sortal information to convert "...
Article
Intuitively, it is clear why languages have anaphoric relations: anaphora reduces redundancy, thereby shortening (and hence simplifying) sentences. In order for this simplification to be possible, however, it is necessary that the speaker of a language be able to identify correctly the elements participating in an anaphoric relation and to determin...
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
The need to add constraints to the theory of transformational grammar has been one (perhaps the) central goal of research by generative grammarians over the last decade. A number of important proposals have resulted from this research, most notably those due to Bresnan (1976), Chomsky (1973), Culicover and Wexler (1977), Emonds (1976), and Ross (19...
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An abstract is not available.
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Article
Presents methodological approaches which can be used in studies to determine (a) the differences between human intelligence and other logically possible kinds of intellect (e.g., other biological species and existing computers), and (b) the comparisons which can be made among the mental systems that constitute the competencies underlying language,...
Article
Full-text available
Several syntactic rules in English are sensitive to the difference between pronouns and full NP's, and they sometimes must apply before anaphora relations can be determined. If anaphoric pronouns and their antecedents are derived from identical underlying forms (such as variables), then these rules cannot apply correctly, because they will be unabl...
Article
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Submitted to the Department of Linguistics. Copyright by the author. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Stanford University, 2006.

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