Three open questions in experimental syntax

Jon Sprouse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article presents a review of current research in experimental syntax, with a focus on three open questions and the (methodo)logical tools that have been developed to explore them. The three questions are: (1) Are the published data underlying syntactic theories valid?, (2) How can we determine the source of acceptability judgment differences?, and (3) What do gradient judgments tell us about the architecture of the grammar? The hope is that these three questions will illustrate the fundamental connection between experimental syntax and theoretical syntax, provide concrete demonstrations of the value of the tools of experimental syntax (e.g., random sampling, factorial logic, and gradient judgments), and point to new directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
JournalLinguistics Vanguard
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2015


  • Acceptability judgments
  • Experimental syntax
  • Gradient grammars
  • Island effects
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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