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Cross-Linguistic Variation and Efficiency$
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John A. Hawkins

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664993

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664993.001.0001

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The typology of noun phrase structure

The typology of noun phrase structure

(p.116) 6 The typology of noun phrase structure
Cross-Linguistic Variation and Efficiency

John A. Hawkins

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines variation within the noun phrase from the perspective of efficiency. Two processing axioms are proposed. The Axiom of Constructability states that there will be at least one word of category C dominated by a phrasal node P that can construct P on every occasion of use. Hence, anything that is an NP must be recognizable and constructable. All the items that belong to an NP must be attachable to it, as defined by the Axiom of Attachability, and the amount of formal encoding is hypothesized to be in proportion to the difficulty of making the attachment, in accordance with Minimize Forms. Selected predictions following from these axioms and hypotheses are defined, tested, and found to be supported.

Keywords:   Axiom of Attachability, Axiom of Constructability, noun phrase structure

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