On the issue of syntactic primacy: Evidence from Frenchi

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This paper examines empirical evidence based on the distribution and coreference properties of a French pronoun, demonstrative ce, and it is argued that this evidence leads to two basic conclusions. First, interpretive constraints which use information from the computational system take precedence over those which do not. Second, the principles of economy which regulate grammatical operations in the computational component appear to extend beyond LF The first conclusion would seem to indicate that the idea that syntax is autonomous is on the right track. That is, at least in the case discussed, it would seem that the output of the computational system is not influenced by the cognitive systems which access its interface representations; in fact, quite the opposite. The second conclusion, on the other hand, would seem to argue for an integrated model of grammar in which each module, computational or representational, is subject to similar economy conditions and is therefore as much part of grammatical theory as the other 1. I gratefully acknowledge comments made on this paper by an anonymous Probus reviewer and by audiences at Penn State and at the University of Toronto. Special thanks to Margaret Kehoe, Lisa Reed, Eric Reuland, and Patricia Schneider-Zioga for discussion. Any errors are, naturally enough, my own.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-176
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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