Reply to the Commentary “Be Careful When Assuming the Obvious” by P.M. Alday

in Language Dynamics and Change
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Here we respond to some comments by Alday concerning headedness in linguistic theory and the validity of the assumptions of a mathematical model for word order. For brevity, we focus only on two assumptions: the unit of measurement of dependency length and the monotonicity of the cost of a dependency as a function of its length. We also revise the implicit psychological bias in Alday’s comments. Notwithstanding, Alday is indicating the path for linguistic research with his unusual concerns about parsimony from multiple dimensions.

Reply to the Commentary “Be Careful When Assuming the Obvious” by P.M. Alday

in Language Dynamics and Change

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Hurford (2012) proposes wisely that those constraints derive from general cognitive constraints such as dependency length minimization to favor parsimony.

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    Figure 1

    The syntactic dependency structure of three French sentences (the sentence in (c) is “ungrammatical”). Edge labels indicate the length of the dependency in letters. Numbers below the words indicate the position of the word in the sentence from left to right. A dot is used to indicate the central position of words with an even number of letters.

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