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Efficiency and Complexity in Grammars$
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John A. Hawkins

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252695

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199252695.001.0001

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Symmetries, Asymmetric Dependencies, and Earliness Effects

Symmetries, Asymmetric Dependencies, and Earliness Effects

(p.223) 8 Symmetries, Asymmetric Dependencies, and Earliness Effects
Efficiency and Complexity in Grammars

John A. Hawkins (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter continues the discussion of Maximize On-line Processing (MaOP), focusing on the distinction between symmetry and asymmetry in cross-linguistic variation. Symmetry is observed when two categories A and B are found productively in A + B and B + A orders: both VO and OV are productive across languages, as are NRel and RelN. Asymmetry occurs when only A + B is attested or is significantly preferred, either in all languages or in a subset for which independent evidence suggests that symmetry could have occurred. Section 8.1 begins with a summary of some major symmetries and asymmetries. Section 8.2 examines asymmetric orders that appear to reflect asymmetries in the dependency relations between the categories in question. Section 8.3 considers symmetrical dependencies and orders. The central hypothesis for the distribution of symmetries and asymmetries is summarized in Sections 8.4. Section 8.5 tests some predictions deriving from this hypothesis for morphosyntactic asymmetries (principally verb agreement and case marking), and Section 8.6 discusses the processing approach presented in relation to Kayne’s (1994) antisymmetry theory.

Keywords:   symmetries, asymmetries, cross-linguistic variation, NRel, ReIN

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