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FeaturesPerspectives on a Key Notion in Linguistics$
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Anna Kibort and Greville G. Corbett

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577743

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577743.001.0001

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Inessential features and expressive power of descriptive metalanguages

Inessential features and expressive power of descriptive metalanguages

(p.272) 11 Inessential features and expressive power of descriptive metalanguages

Geoffrey K. Pullum

Hans‐Jörg Tiede

Oxford University Press

Linguists feel intuitively that genuine features, those reflecting properties of natural language, are distinguishable from spurious ones – mere tricks exploiting feature machinery. Unfortunately, no such distinction is formally capturable, because eliminability of syntactic features in descriptions of sets of trees correlates with expressive power of the theoretical metalanguage assumed.

Keywords:   logic, model theory, metalanguage, expressive power, eliminability, definability, modal operators, spurious features

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