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On Sat, Sep 24, 2011 at 7:42 PM, Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
[...]
> Suppose instead the model is more like a template with some number of
> slots that can be filled with the appropriate phrases:
>
> "the happy_____"  (the happy clown)
> "_____ went-to _____" (He went to the store.)
> "____ prefer _____ to _____" (I prefer tacos to burritos.)
> "____ give_____ to _____" (John gives the book to Mary.)
> "_____ is_____as____ as _____" (This book is nearly as old as that one.)
>
> Then we can dispense with the whole notion of prefix vs infix vs
> postfix and just deal with a catalog of templates.
>
> Parsing is then simply a matter of looking up in our mental data base
> a template that matches the sentence in question, and pattern matching
> is something at which the human brain has been shown to excel.

That would go a good way towards explaining why root-template
morphology works, and why sentences like "The horse jumped over the
fence fell." are intuitively ungrammatical despite being syntactically
well-formed.

-l.