[Lingtyp] End of processing explanation as we know it?

Austin, Patrik M patrik.austin at helsinki.fi
Tue Dec 7 09:21:58 UTC 2021

My article A semantic and pragmatic explanation of harmony
formally rejects Hawkins's Early Immediate Constituents (EIC)/Performance Grammar Correspondence Hypothesis (PGCH) by replacing it with a simpler model making roughly the same predictions. "The orientation principle" suggests that connectives (adpositions and conjunctions) are directed towards the semantic head (most often the verb) of the phrase they belong to.
The motivation for the rejection comes from the brain science cited by Hawkins, namely Kluender & Kutas 1993 'Subjacency as a processing phenomenon', see
It was used as evidence for PGCH (Hawkins 2004), which is a non-semantic and non-pragmatic approach to syntactic universals. However, the cited research found "lexical-semantic processing effects" relating to the placement of conjunctions, and no support for the specific structures of Standard Theory (or other models of generative grammar).
This finding is related to Theoretical issues of WALS in chapters 94, 95, and 96.
Advocates of EIC/branching theory, I'll be expecting a good reply :)
Thanks, Patrik

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