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English certainly doesn't have nearly as much morpho-syntactic complexity (i.e. complicated verb paradigms, noun-adjective agreement, &c.), but that's largely because it has undergone extensive phonological weakening at the end of words--that is, the morphemes that did all the agreement stuff have been slowly disappearing over the last millenium or so due to regular sound change. English syntax still has some fairly difficult constructions. Consider Unbounded Dependency Constructions:

Who*1 does Kim*2 think the coworkers want management to replace her*2 with *1?

Kim*2 is the logical object of "replace" and Who*1 is the logical object of "with," but they are on completely opposite ends of the sentence. Moreover, the sentence can be extended in principle for as long as we want:

Who*1 does Kim*2 think Carol hopes Jim says... the coworkers want management to replace her*2 with *1?

The computational endeavor of detecting when an unbounded dependency construction is being used and of linking up the right fillers (Who*1 and Kim*2 here) with the right traces (her*2 and *1 here) is extremely non-trivial. Also, check out a grammar of the English Language in your spare time ;)

We don't have many conjugations &c., but we have weirdo word-order rules all over the place. Swiss German, Dutch, and Norwegian have even some weirder stuff going on.


In reply to Re^3: The Germanic language form by raptur
in thread The Germanic language form by Win

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