Why are languages the way they are? In this dissertation, I take up this question with a focus on crosslinguistic constituent orderings. Specifically, borrowing insights from language processing and language evolution, I ask what abstract constraints as well as idiosyncratic biases govern language users’ choice among grammatical alternatives of the same syntactic constructions across genres and languages. Adopting a data-driven approach, I explore three directions in particular. First, from Chapter 3 to Chapter 6, taking advantage of large-scale multilingual corpora, I investigate and quantify the roles of numerous factors that are motivated by long-standing linguistic theories as well as previous empirical findings in word order preferences. I show that while the effect of individual factors depends on the ordering structures of different languages, generally the predictive power and direction of these constraints are more dependent on whether the orderings are in the preverbal or the postverbal domains. In addition, besides these abstract constraints that yield probabilistic typological tendencies, in Chapter 7 I ask why language users have idiosyncratic ordering preferences and how regularization of this idiosyncrasy arises diachronically, using Bayesian iterated learning models that simulate the process of language change. Lastly, I adopt the theoretical framework of dependency syntax to develop a dependency treebank for Hupa, an endangered Dene language of northwestern California, as a way to formalize and model the syntax of indigenous languages.
|Commitee:||Hawkins, John A., Morgan, Emily|
|School:||University of California, Davis|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Computational methods, Multilingual corpora, Syntactic typology|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be