CRISSP is happy to announce a CRISSP Lecture Series with Jon Sprouse (University of Connecticut) on March 16-18, 2015. The title of the Lecture Series is ‘A program for experimental syntax: data, theory, and biology’.
Over the past 15 years or so, the use of formal experimental methods has steadily gained popularity in theoretical linguistics. The question I’d like to address in this series is exacly how these methods can further the goals of syntactic theory. To that end, I will attempt to lay out a comprehensive research agenda that highlights the types of questions that I think formal methods are particularly well-suited to address. I will divide these questions into three types, roughly corresponding to each day of the lecture series: (i) questions about the data underlying syntactic theories (data), (ii) questions about the nature of syntactic theories (theory), and finally (iii) questions about the mentalistic consequences of syntactic theories (biology). For each topic, I will present a mix of old and new case studies, primarily based on acceptability judgment experiments, with at least one EEG experiment and one computational model thrown in for good measure. My hope is that these case studies will stimulate discussion about how we can push each of these research threads even further in the future.