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Brian Murphy

Grammaticality Judgements as Linguistic Evidence

summer-school course delivered at ESSLLI, July 2009, Bordeaux

The current use of grammaticality judgements to evaluate the "goodness" of linguistic utterances is controversial (see e.g. Schutze; Wasow & Arnold). The more systematic approaches advocated by Bard and others remain a minority practise. Now, a new consensus is emerging (see e.g. Murphy; Featherston; Weskott & Fanselow), that i) theories of grammar may be investigated independently of models of acceptability judgements and ii) various judgement scales access a single cognitive competence. The course will begin with a quick review of theoretical views of grammaticality. The main part of the course will then introduce concrete methodological guidelines for gathering materials, composing instructions, presenting utterances, choosing among different judgement scales, and selecting appropriate statistical tests for analysis. Publicly available software will be introduced, with an emphasis on web-based testing. Acceptability judgements will be situated relative to other methodologies, including ERP analysis, timed reading and corpus analysis. The course will assume foundational knowledge of linguistics.

  • Introduction: Course Outline; Different Notions of Grammaticality; Current Conventional Practise in Linguistics [Slides]
  • Alternative Methodologies: Timing; Eye-Tracking; Neuroimaging; Usage and Frequency [Slides]
  • Measurement Scales: Conventional Binary/Three-way; Magnitude Estimation; Likert Scales; Empirical Comparisons of Scales [Slides]
  • Methodological Guidelines: Objectives of Experimentation; Participants; Instructions; Materials; Software; Statistics [Slides]
  • Theoretical Implications: Cognitive Models of Intuitions; What is the Internal Cognitive Scale; Compatability with Grammatical Frameworks [Slides]
  • References: Short list of Annotated Readings