News & Events
Topic: On PHON and SEM by Professor Ning Chunyan
Posted - 26/02/2003 : 16:33:41
Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Institute of Chinese Linguistics
Language Information Sciences Research Centre
Professor Ning Chunyan
On PHON and SEM
Time: 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Date: 3rd March 2003 (Monday)
Venue: B7603 (CTL Multi-purpose Room), City University of Hong Kong
The relation between syntax and semantics has always constituted a tension propelling the progress of formal linguistic theories. In GB, we have PF representation at the interface with the Sound System and LF representation at the interface with the Thought System. Likewise, in MP, we have PHON representation at the interface with the Sound System and SEM representation at the interface with the Thought System. Whatever differences there might be, PF and PHON are both representations realized in a temporally ordered linear sequence constituting of acoustic events. Thus, PF and PHON are language-specific. Since the representations at LF and SEM are derived from syntactic operations, the effort to gain universality at the interface with turns out to be in vain.
In this talk, I would like to argue that (1) neither LF representation nor SEM is universal; (2) there is no way to formally derive a universal representation level; (3) it is not necessary to derive a universal LF or SEM to maintain a UG system; (4) LF and SEM can be eliminated, as Chomsky (2002) mentioned in passing; (5) all we need is a global operation by which each and every ordered Merger is to be translated into a paired Merger.
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