Comparative economy conditions in natural language syntax
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The most conceptually drastic change in natural language syntactic theory in recent years is the introduction of economy conditions (ECs). Although there is not a unified formal notion of economy, the intuition is that natural languages are governed by a general “less is more” principle. Those who take this seriously, and regard it not just as principle guiding the researcher but as something to be implemented directly in grammars, are often led to comparative economy conditions (comparative ECs), which select from a set of structures the most economical among them according to some criterion. Such conditions are associated with the Minimalist Program (MP), but they are found also in Optimality Theory (OT) and Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG).1 The following is a sample of the prominent works mentioning ‘economy’.
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