The special seminar explores the relationship between what is commonly called “competence” and “performance” (or knowledge vs. behavior). We will investigate the relation between articulated theories of knowledge states (specifically, modern syntactic theories) and articulated theories of the principles governing the use of knowledge during real-time language processing (specifically, modern psycholinguistic theories of sentence processing). The course will address fundamental issues bridging Linguistics, Psychology and other Cognitive Sciences employing a mixture of (interactive) lectures and student-led discussion of the lectures as well as assigned readings.
There will also be an external speaker series associated with this course. The confirmed speakers include Noam Chomsky, James McGilvray, and Amy Weinberg.
The questions that we will explore include: What are the possible ways to characterize a knowledge state? For example, can we distinguish algorithmic from non-algorithmic characterizations of knowledge states? What implications for processing architecture would such a distinction have? How do we determine whether some empirical regularity should be explained by the grammar or by the processing theory? In general, how do empirical results in theoretical syntax and those in experimental psycholinguistics relate?
Course requirements: Active class participation and a final paper, ideally outlining a plan of research to further investigate an issue that arose in the course (for example, an experimental proposal or a theoretical revision.)