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LING 240 Study Guide - Final Guide: Phrase Structure Rules, Nicaraguan Sign Language, Ray Jackendoff

Course Code
LING 240
Study Guide

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Ling 240 Spring 2020
Review for Final Exam
The emphasis of the final will be on Lectures 19-41 (Morphology Nicaraguan Sign
Language). This means it would be wise to review all material covered since the
Midterm. i.e. all readings, class lectures, prep. exercises, and homework. That said, the
final will be comprehensive in the following way:
A conceptual focus that relates current material with the central questions raised
throughout the semester:
What are the arguments for mental grammar?
What are the arguments for Universal Grammar (innate knowledge and constraints
specific to language)?
What is the interaction between UG and input such that a mental grammar results
when language is acquired naturally? What do cases of “acquisition in unusual
circumstances” (Jackendoff, Gleitman & Newport, home sign, Nicaraguan sign,
Genie, etc.) tell us about the usual properties of human language?
Jackendoff Ch. 6-10
LF 4, 5, 12.3-4
Crain & Nakayama (1987)
O’Grady Ch. 10
Curtis (1974)
Osborne (1999); Senghas & Coppola (2001)
Lexical categories and frames for determining category of N, V or Adj
Roots & affixes
Morphological rules
Components in a model of the grammar
Phrase structure trees; phrase structure rules
Constituency tests (substitution (proforms), movement (clefting), stand alone
Ambiguity (lexical & structural)
Recursion (What is it? How is it represented in the phrase structure rules? What
property of human language does it encode?)
Sub-categorization frames in the lexicon What are they? Why do we need them?
What are the frames for different verbs? How are required categories
represented in the tree?
Properties of language and what aspects of the syntax model account for them
Building a model of the grammar, making and testing predictions of the model; over-
generation, under-generation
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Ling 240 Spring 2020
Structure dependence (reference to constituents and a hierarchical structure)
What phenomena convince us that language is internally structured into
constituents? What processes refer to specific structures?
Grammatical roles (subject, direct object) and structural definitions
Transformations What are they? Why do we need them?
UG and cross-linguistic variation:
In what ways do languages differ from each other? ( kinds of parameters)
In what ways are they the same? (kinds of linguistic principles/universals, including
What are UG principles and what are UG parameters? What might be examples of each?
What are syntactic islands and what do they reveal about UG?
What does a child have to master to become a fluent speaker of a language? How
might UG facilitate the process?
Examples that show children are acquiring a grammar (developing rules) instead of
memorizing or imitating
Uniform stages of development for particular constructions (negatives, question
formation, irregular plurals, etc.) and what this uniformity suggests about UG
UG/Poverty of the Stimulus:
What is the Poverty of the Stimulus and what does this concept mean in the normal
case of acquisition?
What does the claim that “UG overcomes the poverty of the stimulus problem by
constraining the hypothesis space” mean?
What aspects of language can be learned without access to UG (late exposure)?
Critical Period/UG:
What is the Critical Period hypothesis?
How do the following situations support the concepts of a critical period for language,
the innateness of language, the Poverty of the Stimulus, and the content of UG?
o Home sign
o Late vs. early exposure to ASL
o Pidgin Creole
o LSN ISN (Nicaraguan sign language)
o Genie/Chelsea
What does general research (and acquisition research) about ASL have to contribute
to theoretical linguistic research?
What is the evidence that ASL (or any signed language) is a language that reflects
What are the parallels and differences (due to modality) between sign languages and
spoken language?
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