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A partir del número 73 te espera el infinito

Charles Yang de la Universidad de Pennsilvania ha descubierto que el punto de inflexión para pasar de un sistema de conteo basado en la memorización a otro basado en reglas se sitúa alrededor del número 73. El cálculo está basado en lo que Yang denomina el principio de Tolerancia:

La formulación de una regla R es computacionalmente más efectiva que la memorización de unidades si el número de excepciones no supera el número de palabras de la categoría N dividida por el logaritmo de N (N/lnN)

Source: Penn linguist determines tipping point for children learning to count | Penn Current


Gumiel-Molina, S., N. Moreno-Quibén and I. Pérez Jiménez: Comparison classes and the relative/absolute distinction: a degree-based compositional account of the ser/estar alternation in Spanish. Nat Lang Linguist Theory (2015) 33: 955. doi:10.1007/s11049-015-9284-x.

Keywords: Adjective, Comparison class, Copula, Degree, Estar, Gradability, Relative, Ser

The notion of comparison class has figured prominently in recent analyses of the gradability properties of adjectives. We assume that the comparison class is introduced by the degree morphology of the adjective and present a new proposal where comparison classes are crucial to explain the distribution of adjectives in Spanish copular sentences headed by the verbs ser ‘beSER’ and estar ‘beESTAR’. The copula estar ‘beestar’ appears whenever a gradable adjective merges with a within-individual comparison class, a modifier expressing a property of stages. The copular verb ser ‘beser’ appears when a gradable adjective merges with a between-individuals comparison class, a modifier expressing a property of individuals. The distinction between relative and absolute adjectives can be reduced to the semantic properties of the modifier expressing the comparison class that is merged in the functional structure of the adjective.

Comparison classes and the relative/absolute distinction: a degree-based compositional account of the ser/estar alternation in Spanish


Jason Stanley. Un digno sucesor para Noam Chomsky.

Source: How free market ideology perverts the vocabulary of democracy | Aeon Opinions


Vía el blog Faculty of Language un enlace a algunas conferencias recientes de N. Chomsky sobre minimalismo.


On the syntax of exceptions

Pérez-Jiménez I., and Moreno-Quibén, N. (2012). “On the syntax of exceptions. Evidence from Spanish”. Lingua 122: 6, pp. 582-607.

Keywords: Coordination, Free exceptive, Connected exceptive, Subordination, Ellipsis, Spanish

In this paper we offer a syntactic description of Spanish exceptive constructions headed by excepto, salvo or menos (‘except’). Framing our hypothesis in an adjunction analysis of coordination, we argue that these exceptive markers head a Boolean Phrase, like other coordinating conjunctions. Two types of exceptive phrases can be identified, depending on the level of the constituents conjoined. In connected exceptives two DPs are conjoined. In free exceptives two CPs are conjoined; the exceptive markers select for a full-fledged CP as complement, whose null head (C) triggers a process of ellipsis in which all the syntactic material inside TP is marked for PF-deletion, except the remnant constituent(s). Our proposal supports a structural approach to ellipsis whereby elliptical constituents are in fact fully fledged though non-pronounced syntactic structures. It also supports the hypothesis that the differences in the syntactic behaviour of coordinate sentences and subordinate adverbial clauses cannot be derived from their phrase structure geometry but are instead due to the properties of individual conjunctions.

On the syntax of exceptions


Notas biográficas de Noam Chomsky sobre su desarrollo docente

From “Work, Learning and Freedom”, Noam Chomsky interviewed by Michael Kasenbacher, New Left Project, December 24, 2012

Children for example are naturally curious — they want to know about everything, they want to explore everything but that generally gets knocked out of their heads. They’re put into disciplined structures, things are organised for them to act in certain ways so it tends to get beaten out of you. That’s why school’s boring. School can be exciting. It happens that I went to a Deweyite school[^1] until I was about 12. It was an exciting experience, you wanted to be there, you wanted to go. There was no ranking, there were no grades. Things were guided so it wasn’t just do anything you feel like. There was a structure but you were basically encouraged to pursue your own interests and concerns and to work together with others. I basically didn’t know I was a good student until I got to high school. I went to an academic high school in which everybody was ranked and you had to get to college so you had to pass tests. In elementary school I had actually skipped a year but nobody paid much attention to it. The only thing I saw was that I was the smallest kid in the class. But it wasn’t a big thing that anybody paid attention to. High school was totally different — you’ve gotta be first in the class, not second. And that’s a very destructive environment — it drives people into the situation where you really don’t know what you want to do. It happened to me in fact — in high school I kinda lost all interest. When I looked at the college catalogue it was really exciting — lots of courses, great things. But it turned out that the college was like an overgrown high school. After about a year I was going to just drop out and it was just by accident that I stayed in. I happened to meet up with a faculty member who suggested to me I start taking his graduate courses and then I started taking other graduate courses. But I have no professional training. That’s why I’m teaching at MIT — I don’t have the credentials to teach at an academic university.

[^1] “A Deweyite school” es una escuela basada en las ideas de John Dewey.


Asya Pereltsvaig reflexiona sobre el anticosmopolitismo en la enseñanza de las lenguas, una forma camuflada del imperialismo de siempre.

Is Learning a Foreign Language a Waste of Time? – Languages Of The World | Languages Of The World.

As I [Asya Pereltsvaig] have pointed out elsewhere, Google all too often fails to translate both words in context and grammatical concepts, such as gender. In fact, it fails most in piecing together the grammatical structure of a sentence, something than even a child can do for his of her native language. Though it offers translation in 65 languages (and is set to round the number to 100 before too long), for most language pairs Google Translate uses so‑called “intermediary languages”, usually English. Going beyond the most easily translatable forms of language into something as complex as poetry or humor, Google Translate performs even more poorly.


24th Colloquium on Generative Grammar

24th Colloquium on Generativa Grammar

CGG24 Announcement

El CSIC y la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid han organizado el 24 Coloquio de Gramática Generativa (CGG24), celebrado en el CCHS durante los días 28 al 30 de mayo de 2014.

¿Cuáles son las representaciones mentales que permiten explicar el funcionamiento del alemán, del inglés o del español caribeño? ¿Cómo explicar la expresión de la pluralidad en karitiana, una lengua amazónica que carece de artículos y de morfemas de número? ¿Es posible predecir el cambio sintáctico que experimentan las lenguas? ¿Por qué el español moderno está más cerca del inglés antiguo que del francés? Estas y otras cuestiones que se sitúan en la última frontera de la investigación lingüística se han discutido durante este coloquio al que han acudido científicos de todo el mundo especializados en sintaxis, semántica y fonología de las lenguas. Las conferencias plenarias corrieron a cargo de José Camacho (Rutgers U.), Heles Contreras (U. Washington), Jaume Mateu (UAB), Louise McNally (UPF), María Luisa Rivero (U. Ottawa), Karen Zagona (U, Washington) y María Luisa Zubizarreta (USC).

El primer CGG fue concebido por Violeta Demonte, actual directora del ILLA, y pronto se convirtió en uno de los congresos de lingüística más importantes de Europa. El coloquio de este año, el número 24, cierra el círculo con una edición especial dedicada a Violeta Demonte con motivo de su jubilación.

El viernes 30 de mayo se celebró en el marco del CGG24 una mesa redonda en la Residencia de Estudiantes concebido como un homenaje a la figura de Violeta Demonte en su doble vertiente de científica y gestora de política científica. Presidida por Soledad Varela y con la presencia de algunos de sus compañeros del ILLA-CSIC, la mesa contó con la participación de altos responsables de la política científica del estado español como Salvador Barberà, José María Brucart y Ana María Crespo; de académicos de la RAE como José Manuel Blecua, director de la RAE, y José Antonio Pascual; de amigos y antiguos alumnos como Inés Fernández-Ordóñez, Ángel Gabilondo, Juan Carlos Moreno-Cabrera y José Antonio Millán.

Más información sobre el CGG24:
CGG24 Conference Site
CGG24 en el CCHS


Chomsky sobre Skinner y el conductismo

La celebrada reseña de N. Chomsky del libro de B. F. Skinner Verbal Behavior puede encontrase aquí.

“Mi intención en esta reseña no es tanto criticar específicamente las especulaciones de Skinner sobre el lenguaje sino más bien criticar de manera más amplia la visión del conductismo (aunque preferíria calificarlo de “empirismo”) sobre los procesos cognitivos superiores […]”

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