Foundations of theoretical linguistics: Language and the brain
In this course we will start developing a theory of linguistic knowledge, focusing on adequacy requirements: observational adequacy, interface adequacy, processing and acquisition adequacy.
The course begins with a short recap of the assumptions of theoretical linguistics, and a presentation of the adequacy requirements from linguistic theories.
In the first section of the course we will develop a theory of the computational system, and start building a syntax generating the Hebrew language. We will discuss phrase structure rules, thematic roles and the theta criterion, and transformations (topicalization).
In the second section of the course we will exemplify the interfaces of the computational system with different components of linguistic knowledge:
· The interface with the conceptual system – lexical operations
· The interface with the semantic system – aspect
· The interface with the systems of sound and inference from context – stress and focus
In the third section of the course we will present experimental evidence – cognitive and neuronal – for some of the theoretical generalizations discussed in the course. We will see, among others, evidence for the psychological reality of syntactic phrases, thematic properties and the theta criterion, transformations and traces.
Course requirements: weekly assignments, midterm and final exams