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      Datives, data and dialect syntax in American English

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          Abstract

          In this paper, we present a detailed case study of a number of dative constructions that vary across speakers of American English. We show how geographical maps of acceptability judgments can be used to shed light on the syntactic structures underlying those judgments. Those structures can then be used to refine our understanding of syntax more generally, in this case relating to the features of argument-introducing heads. We provide novel support for the low applicative analysis of the Personal Dative construction, on the grounds that this analysis falls in line with a general, somewhat surprising conclusion about Southern American English: that ApplP may occur not just as the complement of a verb, but also as the subject of a small clause or the complement of a preposition. We propose that this wider distribution follows from a featural difference between ApplP in Northern and Southern varieties: that low ApplP in Southern American English is not categorially distinct from ordinary DPs. We then show that even though Personal Datives have spread outside of the South, they have not taken this basic structure with them. Instead, Northern varieties adopting the Personal Dative have made a minimal modification to their existing Appl heads, to accommodate the Personal Dative without adopting the full range of dative constructions found in the South.

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          A validation of Amazon Mechanical Turk for the collection of acceptability judgments in linguistic theory

          Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (AMT) is a Web application that provides instant access to thousands of potential participants for survey-based psychology experiments, such as the acceptability judgment task used extensively in syntactic theory. Because AMT is a Web-based system, syntacticians may worry that the move out of the experimenter-controlled environment of the laboratory and onto the user-controlled environment of AMT could adversely affect the quality of the judgment data collected. This article reports a quantitative comparison of two identical acceptability judgment experiments, each with 176 participants (352 total): one conducted in the laboratory, and one conducted on AMT. Crucial indicators of data quality—such as participant rejection rates, statistical power, and the shape of the distributions of the judgments for each sentence type—are compared between the two samples. The results suggest that aside from slightly higher participant rejection rates, AMT data are almost indistinguishable from laboratory data.
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            Phrase structure and the lexicon

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              Cyclic Agree

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-1835
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-1835
                08 August 2018
                2018
                : 3
                : 1
                : 87
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Yale University, 370 Temple Street, New Haven, CT 06520, US
                Article
                10.5334/gjgl.527
                30f10a6d-07cd-4f78-96b7-b8a05fd5c575
                Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 18 September 2017
                : 30 March 2018
                Categories
                Research

                General linguistics,Linguistics & Semiotics
                Southern American English,datives,Extended Benefactives,microsyntactic variation,Southern Dative Presentatives,applicatives,Personal Datives,SE-reflexives

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