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There are No Methods, Only Theories Tom Roeper (Umass) EMLAR Utrecht April 2014 1.

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Presentation on theme: "There are No Methods, Only Theories Tom Roeper (Umass) EMLAR Utrecht April 2014 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 There are No Methods, Only Theories Tom Roeper (Umass) EMLAR Utrecht April

2 I. Why Methods are Mini-theories 1. Linguistic method: a. seek coincidence of evidence b. Many languages and language families 2. Strong and Weak intuitions--often ?? or not 100% b. Supportive Acquisition and parsing evidence => totally different in origin from intuitions

3 Grammaticality judgements = acceptability, pragmatics, social factors (birth order), etc => fundamental uncertainty about role of Grammar a. Increasing weakness of intuitions as judgements are subtle or ??? Conclusions: a. all evidence in questionable, b. independent sources is strongest argument c. Seek Affirmation not Confirmation.

4 2. Psycholinguistics: Should be same Logic a. many methods imported from psychology designed for theories without deductive logic b. All psycholinguistic experiments begin with a strong source of independent evidence: intuitions behind linguistic theory c. if experiment provides some evidence, it is bolstered by the facts behind the theory. [Long history of belief that intuitions were "unreal" so only experiments can "confirm" theory.]

5 Conclusion: All evidence is ”indirect" All evidence is "relevant" Acquisition: a. naturalistic data, utterly uncontrolled, often most persuasive b. Anecdotal evidence leads to experiments, but is itself an independent source of evidence. ("Does everyone have thur hat")

6 3. Task demands, experimental context => Pragmatics, Question under Discussion, Information Structure => "Experimental" dimensions turn into theoretical questions 4. Take classic "common sense" methods: – a. should be exposed to scrutiny b. may not be "required" [e.g. field linguists using experimental methods]

7 5. Filler sentence Logic: Break response bias a. if they do or do not, one would want to know why. look at content of fillers are they enough. b. Parasitic Gaps (Clifton, Frazier, Roeper et al) => syntactic priming = important concept Imagine Filler a. what did Mary file __without reading__ Filler: What is Barack Obama's middle name? b. what can you carry__without dropping__ Not clear that the filler will block this response bias. Suppose you had two fillers---might change results => this becomes a linguistic researchable question with a representational basis

8 c. Long distance questions: 1. when did you say __the boy fell from the tree__ Filler: Do you like apple pie? Issue: Properties of Filler are possibly relevant: [+Q] feature in both. Conclusion: If Fillers have an impact, then we need a linguistic theory to account for their role. Larger Conclusion : Methods are not independent of domain of inquiry All methods are questionable Independence of evidence of primary importance

9 “Task” Demands and Partition effects Claim: Every scenario entails a partition of Individuals, events, pragmatic momentum => there are no “task” effects, but rather – pragmatic factors that may themselves Require acquisition => Partition changes interpretations Relevance theory, implicatures, set Semantics => incorporated into concepts of Experimental design 9

10 Maximality and Exhaustivity effects (Schluz (2013)Schulz and Roeper (2011) Heizman, Wexler, Stickney, Others) Scenario: [child picks up half the toys in a room] Did you pick up the toys? => “yes” “no you didn’t, half of them are on the floor” Possibility: children lack exhaustivity => But much richer context concept needed. 10

11 Articles in Context: 1. 5 boys playing basketball, 2 boys sleeping Are the boys playing basketball? “Not these two” 2. 5 boys playing basketball, 2 boys sleeping 6 girls playing soccer. Are the boys playing basketball => yes Only contrast is relevant to determination. 11

12 Inherent reflexives, Reflexives, Near-Reflexives Valentina Brunetto Inherent Reflexives: No partition John was cold, so Bill put a hat on__ => only Bill (anti-pragmatic) Claim: sich/zich work the same way Sich selbst or bi-morphemic reflexives – = Call for partition of context. (Pica and Snyder (2003) 12

13 Strongest Meaning Hypothesis (Winter) Reciprocals: – A. the papers are on top of each other. – “impossible” reading becomes possible » But only if strongest meaning unavailable. » Reflexives => also show partition effects A. the girls are kissing themselves => girls kiss their own hands. » Partition: two groups, boys and girls » “ the girls are supposed to kiss the boys, but » They are kissing themselves => each other reading 13

14 The pragmatic dimension of bimorphemic reflexives Hypothesis: bimorphemic reflexives always call for a partition (see Scha 1981; Schwarzschild 1991 for partitions in distributivity,Partee (2009)): Note crossover block: *Mary was kicked by herself – Part-whole relations: (4) The FBI i was investigated by itself j => Divide FBI = One part investigates the other – Mirrors: (5) John saw himself (reflection/part) – Statues, pictures and other physical reproductions: (6) John is painting himself (body/image) The broader referential capacity of complex reflexives comes from the open variable slot introduced by –self

15 Highlights Claim: bimorphemic reflexives are not pragmatically independent. They open a partition in the context. Our goal: to capture the impact of pragmatics in the interpretation of near-reflexivity and the constraints imposed by UG on different types of anaphors. Our study: near-reflexive interpretations are accessible to children from early age (4 y. o.), but blocked with inherent reflexive verbs.

16 Near-reflexivity Jackendoff’s (1992) statue rule: It is legitimate to identify a statue by using the name of the person that the statue portrays. (1) Patty Smith & Patty Smith (2) Patty Smith i is posing with herself j Puzzling for Standard Binding Theory: anaphor and antecedent do not pick the same index.

17 The conceptual representation of near-reflexivity Jackendoff (1992): the conceptual structure of x is [REPRESENTATION ([x])]. However, in syntax, people and their extensions are not differentiated (for Case, animacy and phi-features). (1) That over there is Ringo. He’s dressed in clothes that Ringo would never wear! Lidz (2001): the statue reading is linked to the referential properties of the anaphor (near-reflexive), i.e. is not syntactically determined. This is a problem for position- based theories of binding as well. (2) Ze zag zich in een griezelige hoek staan. she saw self in a creepy corner stand 'She saw herself (= reflection, *statue) standing in a creepy corner.' (3) Ze zag zichzelf in een griezelige hoek staan. she saw selfself in a creepy corner stand She saw herself (= reflection or statue) standing in a creepy corner.

18 Partitions Strict identity as the logically strongest meaning: (1) person statue Strict identity > Near-reflexivity (alternative: person ) If the true reflexive outcome is not an alternative, near-reflexivity is the strongest meaning (2) person statue1 (alternative: person statue2)  Strong (alternative: person statue2 & person )  Weak (3) person1 statue1 person1 statue1 person2 person2 statue2

19 Pragmatically independent anaphora The core case: reflexives as elements that nothing can change contextually. This is how the theory has traditionally treated bimorphemic ‘himself’. Complex reflexives allow an ambiguity that monomorphemic and null anaphors do not: – Simplex anaphors, monomorphemic (zich, sich, sig, ziji …) Ringo scheert zich. Ringo shaves self (real, *statue) – Null anaphors (pro of inherent reflexive verbs) Ringo shaved (real, *statue) – Reflexive clitics Ringo si è rasato (real, *statue)

20 The acquisition path Why look at the initial state of the grammar? Near-reflexivity has always been treated as a sophisticated semantic representation that adds to the bound variable meaning of the reflexive (e.g. Reuland and Winter 2013). Therefore, it should be acquired late. We propose that near-reflexivity is built into the –SELF complement of the pronominal and therefore is available from the outset. The task for the child is to map between possible meanings (strict identity, near- reflexivity), the internal morphology of anaphoric expressions (complex, simplex) and possible contexts. Constraint: for nonbimorphemic elements there are no partition effects. (1) Cinderella dressed up (2) Cinderella dressed herself up (3) Cinderella herself dressed up

21 The study 1. Does near-reflexivity appear early? Or is it a sophisticated pragmatic operation that comes to be mastered late? 2. If near-reflexivity for a partition in the context, what are the constraints imposed by UG on different anaphoric categories? 3. What are the set of possible partitions available to the child?

22 Conditions 2x2 design, factors: reflexive category (overt, null); pragmatics (real person and her statue; real person and two statues)

23 Condition A: Real vs. Statue Story: Ariel made a statue of herself. She was taking her to the show but she stumbled and fell into a puddle. So Ariel took a towel. What did she do with the towel?

24 Condition A: Real vs. Statue Story: Ariel made a statue of herself. She was taking her to the show but she stumbled and fell into a puddle. So Ariel took a towel. What did she do with the towel?

25 Condition A: Real vs. Statue Story: Ariel made a statue of herself. She was taking her to the show but she stumbled and fell into a puddle. So Ariel took a towel. What did she do with the towel?

26 Condition A: Real vs. Statue Story: Ariel made a statue of herself. She was taking her to the show but she stumbled and fell into a puddle. So Ariel took a towel. What did she do with the towel?

27 Condition A: Real vs. Statue Did Ariel dry herself off?  Did Ariel dry off?  How does the child map the form of the reflexive to the actual situation? Alternatives: {dry off (A, A)}, {dry off A, statue of A)} Prediction: strict identity > near-reflexivity

28 Conditions B and C: statue vs. statue Belle has made two statues: a statue of Cinderella and a statue of herself. Rapunzel arrives and asks Belle to turn around the statues so she can see. Bell tells Rapunzel she will show her one statue.

29 Conditions B and C: statue vs. statue Belle has made two statues: a statue of Cinderella and a statue of herself. Rapunzel arrives and asks Belle to turn around the statues so she can see. Bell tells Rapunzel she will show her one statue.

30 Conditions B and C: statue vs. statue B: Did Belle turn herself around?  C: Did Belle turn around?  Alternatives: {turn around (B, statue B)}; {turn around (B, statue C)} Outcome: near-reflexive Prediction: “herself” opens up a partition ; null anaphor resists the partition (anti-pragmatic).

31 Condition C vs. D: generic null objects? Snow White has made two statues: a statue of Cinderella and a statue of herself. They’re not ready yet to go to the show. But Snow White had only one dress, where did she put it?

32 Condition C vs. D: generic null objects? Did Snow White dress up?  Alternatives: {dress up (x, statue of x)}, {dress up (x, statue of y)} Control for generic ‘yes’ answers.

33 Condition E: adjunct reflexives Snow White still has to get ready. Cinderella gives her a dress but Snow White doesn’t know how to wear it. So Cinderella helps her put on the dress.

34 Condition E: adjunct reflexives Snow White still has to get ready. Cinderella gives her a dress but Snow White doesn’t know how to wear it. So Cinderella helps her put on the dress.

35 Condition E: adjunct reflexives Did Snow White herself dress up?  Alternatives: {dress up (SW, herself)}; {dress up (C, SW)}  but same outcome: dress up (SW) Other alternatives are possible: {dress up (SW)}; {dress up (C)}

36 Design Subjects: N=36 (5 y.o. group: N=18; 4 y.o. group: N=18) Two lists, counterbalanced. Verbs: dry off, bundle up, turn around, dress up, lay down, get out, brush off, sit down. 10 items per list 4 items per condition Asking “why” after each question is very revealing. Methodology: yes/no questions after stories.

37 Results: bimorphemic reflexives in real/statue vs. statue/statue scenarios Results: early emergence of near-reflexivity (50% yes responses in A and 41.6% in B). Strong interaction (.001) (two profiles: the “near-reflexive child” and the “strict” child)

38 Three main findings: Near-reflexivity appears early. The initial bias of the child is to project a broad notion of self into the bimorphemic himself. Null anaphors elicit anti-pragmatic inherent reflexive responses, evidence of a strong constraint in the mapping between morphological form and partitions. Developmental trend in the ability to compute the correct partitions in near-reflexive contexts and to interpret adjunct himself as contrastive.

39 Bimorphemic reflexives as partition triggers Data fit Pica & Snyder’s (1997) analysis of bimorphemic reflexives as pronominals that select a nominal complement (SELF) related but distinct from the individual denoted by the pronominal. Modular view of local anaphora (Pica (1984)): it involves a disjointness principle (Principle B, itself modular) + the lexical semantics of SELF (general, triggering a partition) and the cognitive architecture, which restricts the sets of possible partitions. (i) agent/patient (physical/body) (ii) knower/object of knowledge Adding the idea that part-whole relations and near- reflexivity are both encoded in the pragmatic variable slot opened by SELF, near-reflexivity doesn’t come as a surprise.

40 Claims Claim: bimorphemic reflexives are not pragmatically independent. They open a partition in the context. Our goal: to capture the impact of pragmatics in the interpretation of near-reflexivity and the constraints imposed by UG on different types of anaphors. Our study: near-reflexive interpretations are accessible to children from early age (4 y. o.), but blocked with inherent reflexive verbs.

41 Further questions: Scenario: Belle and Cinderella take their statues to contest. On the way : In mud: all four: [Belle cleans her statue] – 1) Did Belle clean herself off => NR yes – In mud: all four – Cinderella cleans real Cinderella, – then Belle cleans her status => – Discourse prominence in question: – 2) “After Cinderella cleaned herself, did Belle clean – Herself => “No” NR not possible because strict reading » Established by the first cleaning action, not by who » Who was dirty. » Conclusion: Partition, individuals, events, » Discourse prominence. – 41

42 Why does the child start with a broader Definition of Near-reflexivity? How can such a subtle phenomenon be Restricted with very little evidence? Part-whole Variation: a. “I am parked in lot 44” “are you open?” (store) 42

43 Part-whole relations: – Reflections in a mirror: look how I move – Not #“how my image moves” – Body reference: “he put himself through is pants” Reflexives => more and more abstract with experience Conclusion: External Cognitive-Interface achieves restriction. General Observation: Partition Experiment: a dozen hidden pilots were involved, befor we discovered that the core question was Partition, as much as Near-reflexivity. 43

44 Contrastive Anti-pragmatic Method Methods Jill deVilliers and I have developed: Questions after Stories [deVilliers and Roeper In McDaniel Methods book] Longer stories are self-re-enforcing: children hear 20 minute books Sequence: 1. Isolate ambiguity: long or short wh-movement 2. Create two stories one to highlight each one. 3. Make the stories intertwined 4. Provide a basic emotional momentum, or narrative point. 5. Ask a question which goes against the primary momentum – = (mildly) anti-pragmatic 44

45 John was driving along and his car broke down. John couldn’t see a telephone anywhere, but he needed to call a repairman to fix his car. A policewoman came along and asked what was the matter. The policewoman used the special phone in her car, and they called the repairman. Who did the policewoman help to call?

46 46 Fairly balanced scenario: both options sensible, “repairman” = natural goal responses divided responses

47 This boy went to the playground. He slipped on a skateboard and hurt his knee. He couldn’t walk home because it was so sore. There was a phone on the wall, so he called his mom and told her about slipping on the skateboard. She brought the car to pick him up. How did the boy say he hurt himself?

48 48 Manner of hurting more Pragmatically salient than phone On the wall.

49 Once there was a little sister who was always bugging her big brother. He said, “I’m going into the closet to read so you can’t see me!” The little sister was very sad. She went to her mom and said, “How can I see my brother? He’s hiding in the closet.” Her mom said, “Don’t worry, I’ll lift you up so you can peek in the keyhole, but don’t bug him!” Who did the little sister ask how to see?

50 50 Ask X How to see X How might block LD reading That is pragmatically favored—the point

51 These children were planning a surprise party for their favorite teacher. Everyone was going to bring some food for the party, but the boy didn’t know what to bring. He asked the woman at the grocery store, “What shall I bring my teacher?” The woman told him his teacher loved bologna, so that’s what the boy decided to bring her. Who did the boy ask what to bring?

52 52 Point of the story more about Teacher than butcher, but Grammar forces “butcher”

53 This mom didn’t know how to bake a cake. She saw a TV program about cooking, and she learned to make a lovely cake with pudding mix. How did the mom learn what to bake?

54 54 Primary point of story is how you bake Something, not how you learn about it, But what favors less-pragmatically salient reading

55 This little girl wanted to ride her horse, but she didn’t want to take him on the road. She called her dad on the phone and asked, “Where can I ride my horse safely?” Her dad said, “On the beach would be a good, safe place.” So here she is riding safely on the beach. How did the girl ask where to ride?

56 56 Point of the story is “safe riding” But where blocks long-distance Reading [on phone where to ride safely] So “on phone” is only option.

57 57 Methodological Conclusions: 1.Task effects are contain important pragmatic variable 2. Almost every experiment calls for some partitioning Partitions refer to individuals, events, discourse bias (story momentum) 3. Grammar can demand an answer that is anti-pragmatic. 4. When children give an anti-pragmatic answer it shows they control the grammar. a. it is related to the Truth-Value-Judgement taskt that seeks a "no" answer b. the story-approach allows a much wider and more creative approach to showing children demonstrating grammar. 5. Asking "why" after experiments reveals a great deal.

58 58 6. A great deal of intuitive pilot work is often necessary, and it is the real "method" of language acquisition work. 7. It can and should be fun for you and the child. It is important that experiments have a light touch--that stories are natural domains. 8. These experiments are between a talent and a skill. They improve a great deal with practice. Once a scenario is built, the others come more easily. 9. Doing experiments with other adults, with nursery school teachers, and older children is very valuable. 10. It is independent evidence from multiple sources which is most persuasive (anecdotes, naturalistic data, eye-tracking, story sources) and we should be encouraging as many new sorts as possible. Thank You!


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