Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments


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Author Item Summary Meta data
I 72
Def Distribution/Linguistics/Lyons: each linguistic unit has a characteristic distribution, namely the set of contexts in which it can stand.
Distribution equivalent: two expressions can be in the same context. Correspondingly distribution-complementary or distribution-overlapping.
If two units are at least partially distribution equivalent, they cannot contrast with each other.
I 145
Distribution/Grammar/Lyons: We can take distribution as a starting point for a grammatical description: expressions have meaning when they are used in an appropriate context.
I 147
Distribution analysis/grammar/Lyons: a list would not be the most direct description of a text: in a sufficiently large language sample there will be a considerable overlap in the distribution of different words.
Distribution classes: Classes of words that can be used for each other in a sentence. Example "I drink beer": liquor, milk, water... and so forth
General/formal: e.g. we assume a material corpus of 17 "sentences": ab,ar,,pr,qab,dpb,aca,pca,pcp,qar,daca,dacp,dacqa,dacdp,acqp,acdp.
Letters: stand here for words.
I 148
Problem: we still have no distinction between "grammatically correct" and "meaningful" (useful).
In our example, a and p have certain contexts in common (namely -r,pc-, dac-), b and r (a-,qa) and d and q (dac-a,-aca, ac-p)
c: is unique in its distribution (a-a,p-c,p-p,qa-a,da-a,da-p), because no other word can be found in the same context as c.
X: we now merge a and p in the class CX and insert this class name everywhere where either a or p occur. Sentences that differ only in that o is where the other sentence has a are thus grouped into a class. ((s) "disjunctive"): Xb,Xr,(ar,pr), qXb,dXb,XcX, (aca, pca, pcp), qXr, qXcX,dXcX (daca,dacp), dXcqX,dXcdX,qXcdX,XcdX,XcqX,XcdX,XcdX.
Y: we set Y for b and r,
Z: for d and q.
Then we get
1. XY, (Xb,Xr)
2. ZXY (qXb, qXr, dXb)
3. XcX,
4. ZXcX (qXcX, dXcX)
5. ZXcZX (dXcqX, dXcdX, qXcdX)
6. XcZX (XcqX, XcdX).
N.B.: with this we can capture the 17 sentences of our corpus through six structural formulas. (c is a one-membered class). They specify which consequences of word classes are acceptable. The consequences are linear. (see below).
Grammatically correct: are sentences in our example, that result from these structure rules. This is only achieved by the fact that the sentences that occur are regarded as links in a superset of 48 sentences. (The number 48 is obtained by applying the syntagmatic length formulas (see I 82 above) to each of the six sentence types and adding the results).
I 149
Generative/generative grammar/Lyons: the "grammar" in our example is generative in that it assigns a certain structural description to each sentence that appears in the "sample", for example pr is a sentence with the structure XY, pcda is a sentence with the structure XcZY, etc.
Grammar/Lyons: as it is understood here, it is nothing else than the description of the sentences of a language as combinations of words and word groups due to their affiliation to distribution classes. It is a kind of "algebra" in which the variables are the word classes and the constants or the values assumed by the variables in certain sentences are the individual words.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

John Lyons
Semantics Cambridge, MA 1977

Lyons I
John Lyons
Introduction to Theoretical Lingustics, Cambridge/MA 1968
German Edition:
Einführung in die moderne Linguistik München 1995

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-01-26
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