Towards Matrix Syntax


  • Roger Martin Yokohama National University
  • Román Orús Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Donostia International Physics Center / Ikerbasque Foundation for Science
  • Juan Uriagereka University of Maryland


Matrix syntax is a model of syntactic relations in language, which grew out of a desire to understand chains. The purpose of this paper is to explain its basic ideas to a linguistics audience, without entering into too many formal details (for which cf. Orús et al. 2017). The resulting mathematical structure resembles some aspects of quantum mechanics and is well-suited to describe linguistic chains. In particular, sentences are naturally modeled as vectors in a Hilbert space with a tensor product structure, built from 2x2 matrices belonging to some specific group. Curiously, the matrices the system employs are simple extensions of customary representations of the major parts of speech, as [±N, ±V] objects.


syntax, chains, minimalist program, Hilbert space, matrix


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