May 12, 2004

High plains construction grammar

Marc Moffett at the University of Wyoming has just started a weblog entitled Close Range (philosophy@7200'), devoted to "philosophy, fletchings, and flies". His inaugural post yesterday afternoon was entitled Blogging, with altitude, and dealt with Laramie's historical and geographical suitability for philosophy, which seems to involve a metaphorical interpretation of altitude and an associative connection with outlaws and saloons.

Marc's second post, today at noon, advances a theory about Escher sentences, namely that David Beaver is headed in the right direction about what they mean, or at least, what they would mean if one thought they meant anything at all, which Marc believes they do; but that Geoff Pullum is wrong to claim that such sentences are semantically incoherent, because "our interpretive capacities take into account holistic informational characteristics of linguistic constructions and don't simply generate meanings by way of 'bottom up' recursion principles."

Being a mere phonetician, I have no dog in this fight, but I'm happy to see Marc joining the ranks of language-oriented weblogs. Welcome!

Posted by Mark Liberman at May 12, 2004 04:32 PM