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5. On the homogeneity of syntax: How similar do coordinates and subordinates look to the comprehension system?

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Abstract

Our goal here is to explore an unusual approach to the long-standing problem of coordination in natural language — the problem of accommodating subordinate and coordinate structures within a consistent and empirically sound syntax. In what follows we’ll offer a brief overview of the problem and identify a central assumption about the syntax of coordinates (the Homogeneity Thesis) that seems to be very widely shared by investigators working on coordination regardless of their theoretical orientation. We will then review some recent experimental results that seem to clash with certain implications of the Homogeneity Thesis. Though the evidence reviewed here is far from definitive, we argue that serious consideration of alternatives to the Homogeneity Thesis is in order.

References

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